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Flash Movie Review: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

I AM NOT ADVOCATING TO THROW caution to the wind, but within reason to allow yourself to experience at least one indulgence. Since I was a little boy, I have loved and always wanted a particular European sports car. Now I know chances are I will never be able to afford to buy one, but I still dream about it. Maybe I can splurge at some point and rent it while on vacation. From time to time, an article of clothing or a small electronic device has caught my attention. If it grabs a strong hold on me, I will obsess over it to the point where I feel everything would work out in my life if I just had that item. There was a time, years ago, where I would act on these compulsions and immediately buy it on a charge card, whether I could afford it or not. Just having that thing brought me immense joy and it was something I did not expect anyone else to understand. For example, getting a sweater that I thought was so cool looking gave me such pleasure because, in my mind, I thought I would look great in it. Not having a substantial level of high esteem, this was my way to make myself feel better. I think that is one of the reasons it is hard for me to get rid of clothes; I do not want to throw away the magic that article of clothing provided me.      WITH MATURITY, I LEARNED TO CONTROL my habit for finding happiness in material things. Not that it was necessarily a negative thing, it needed to have a coating of reason with it. While I was still living at home, I decided I wanted to have a house I could call my own. One thing you can say about me is I have an incredibly strong sense of determination. If there is something I want, I will laser focus on it and do whatever I need to do to make it a reality. For several years, I took on extra hours, worked overtime and saved every penny I could so that I would be able to put a healthy down payment on whatever house I found. Sure, I did not accept every invite to go out to dinner or a show; but sometimes I would make alternate plans to meet for lunch or just to hang out which would cost less money. My plan worked and it was well worth doing because I was able to fulfill my dream of having my own home. This is one of the reasons why I feel indulging oneself within a reasonable limit can be a positive thing. There is a wonderful example of it you can see in this lovely comedic drama.      SEEING FOR THE FIRST TIME A Christian Dior dress was all cleaning woman Ada Harris, played by Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Another Year) needed to fall in love with it. She would find a way someday to own her very own haute couture Dior dress. With Isabelle Huppert (About Joan, Greta) as Claudine Colbert, Lambert Wilson (The Matrix franchise, Timeline) as Marquis de Chassagne, Alba Baptista (Patrick, Warrior Nun-TV) as Natasha and Lucas Bravo (Ticket to Paradise, Emily in Paris-TV) as Andre Fauvel; this movie was a treasure. Set in the city of London during the 1950s, Lesley was magnificent as Ada; she drove the story beyond the predictable. The pacing was perfect throughout every scene; I felt I was transported back in time. And the ultimate compliment belongs to the writers; their story brought me into a situation that I initially thought was impossible. Yet, with their words, I soon was rooting for everyone in the cast. If there were more films out of this caliber, I would indulge my love of movies by going to the theater more often.

3 ½ stars 

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Flash Movie Review: Ernest & Celestine

When I arrived at the city in the new state I was visiting, I drove my rental car to the eastern part of town. There spanning the length of a city block was a mural painted on a brick wall, depicting the struggles immigrants had who settled in the area. After spending some time examining the fine detailed work I noticed a community center across the street. I walked over to it to see if I could use their restroom before driving off to another part of town. Once inside I saw a tired looking woman sitting behind a long formica counter. Hearing my footsteps, the woman slowly raised her face up until her eyes made contact with mine. With a look of shock creeping on her face she asked me what I was doing there. I explained how I stopped to see the mural across the street. When I asked if I could use the restroom she muttered something in a low voice, then told me to use the private restroom behind her, not the one down the hallway. It seemed odd but I did as she told me. At the end of the day back at my hotel, I asked the front desk clerk if they had ever seen the mural across town. A stunned look came across her face as she asked if I had gone and seen it yet. When I said yes, she nearly hissed at me that I should have never gone, it was a bad area; no one in their right mind would be caught there. When I asked her how I would have known she told me it was easy, just look at what was walking around there. I was sensing she might be prejudiced so I decided to drop it and go to my room. I was reminded of this incident while watching this exquisite, Oscar nominated film. The message in this movie was told in such a delicate and lovely way; I was totally engrossed with the story. Raised to fear the other, rodents lived underground away from the bears who resided above. Rules were in place to keep each away from the other until young Celestine, voiced by newcomer Pauline Brunner, accidentally met street musician Ernest, voiced by Lambert Wilson (Of Gods and Men, Sahara). Their friendship would go against everything in place that kept the two groups apart. This Cannes Film Festival winning movie was enchanting with its uncluttered and simple artwork that magically told a beautiful story. I saw the original version of this dramatic comedy in French with English subtitles, though I found out later there was an English version. Without preaching or browbeating the audience, this film had a wonderful message that bears repeating.

 

3 1/2 stars

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