Flash Movie Review: Flee
AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, I believe each of us has planned an escape. From something as small as an uncomfortable conversation to leaving one’s home. When I was sending applications out to colleges, I felt I was working on an escape out of the hard times I was experiencing in high school. I purposely chose schools out of state, to get as far away as I could and reinvent myself to no longer be the victim. It was a hard adjustment at first because it was the first time I was ever away from my home. What I learned in my new environment helped me immensely. The knowledge I gained helped when two of my friends wanted to leave their husbands. One friend who I will refer to as Carol, had been married for nearly 20 years and grew tired of the mental and physical abuse inflicted on her by her husband. His physical abuse was confined to pushing and squeezing, at least that is what she told me. I did wonder though when I would catch a glimpse of her arms and see a bruise or two. It came to a point where she needed to get away from him; I did my best to provide her with emotional and mental support through the process of leaving him. The difference in her once the divorce was final was amazing; she was filled with joy and happiness. MY FRIEND, LET ME CALL HER, Mary was married for years also. She had a low level of confidence in herself, so the relationship was one-sided in my opinion. She let her husband make all decisions and believed whatever he said was true. Through the years she started working on herself through therapy and personal growth avenues, to the point she started feeling confident. As you might imagine, it caused conflict between them because she was for the first time voicing her opinion and discovering not everything her husband said was right. It came to a point where she wound up staying with me until she could figure out her next steps. In this case, they both started couples therapy and are still married to this day in a healthier place. Of course, there are other reasons a person feels they must leave a situation. I met a man who left his family and home because the religion he was born into did not accept him. There is more to it, but I want to respect his privacy. The main character in this Oscar nominated, Sundance winning film had a good reason to find an escape; you might want to see it for yourself. WITH HIS COUNTRY BEING TORN APART, the family of Amin, voiced by newcomer Daniel Karimyar, had to find a way to get to a safe place. The effects of their plan would have a lasting effect. With Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal, Encounter) voicing the adult Amin, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (The Silencing, Game of Thrones-TV) voicing Rasmussen, newcomer Milad Eskandari voicing 8-year-old Saif and Belal Faiz (Rita-TV) voicing 13-year-old Saif; this animated dramatic documentary based on a true story was extraordinary. This was a new fresh way of telling a story via animation and live footage. The story was incredible and the way it was told fascinated me. Scenes of present times were separated by memories of the past; it really brought me into the story. When an animated film is nominated for an Oscar like this one, I assumed the animation would wow me. That was not my reaction at first because the animation was kept simple; however, its simplicity made the story more vivid for me. Also, I saw the English version of this film; in the original Danish, Dari, Russian and Swedish were spoken with English subtitles. With its other nomination for best international film, this picture is a strong contender in getting the Oscar award. This movie might just be one you do not want to escape you. This is not a film for children.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: The Man Who Sold His Skin
LOVE CAN MAKE A PERSON DO things they never thought of doing before. I know because not only have I seen it in action, I have been a participant. Back in my college days, I used public transportation to get to school, 1 bus and 2 trains to be exact. Taking it every day to and from school, I noticed most people stand in the same spot each time they are waiting for the train to pull up to the platform. With this knowledge in hand, I used to run through the station to get to my 2ndtrain; so I could get to the same train car where I knew a passenger was who I had been having a casual conversation with for a few weeks. I made it look like I just happened to enter the same train car, making sure to take a couple of deep breaths to slow my racing heart down before getting on to look for them. My intention was to ask them out for a drink at some point, depending on how things progressed. Some of you may think these antics, in the name of attraction/love, are a bit crazy; while others may think what I was doing was no big deal. I at least knew my actions, compared to some of the stuff I have seen people do, were more on the mild side. RECENTLY THE NEWS REPORTED ON A man who lost thousands of dollars (we are talking in the mid five figure range) to a woman he had never seen in person. This is an example of something way extreme for me. The man had met the woman online and the two struck up a “friendship” according to the man. They would exchange photos that depicted family members, home and town. As time went on the man was getting emotionally attached to this woman who had started to share stories of a more personal nature; things about her mother’s ailments, her kids’ schooling, the difficulty she was having paying some of her bills ever since her husband had been killed. I am sure you can see where this is going; the man offered to loan her some money. She protested she could not accept his money, but the man was persistent. They finally agreed that it would be okay for him to send her a “little” money and to consider it an early birthday gift for herself. For the next few months, the woman would share a variety of hardships she was facing, including trying to save up money for an airline ticket to come visit him. By that point the man had handed over most of his savings; the airline ticket was the last thing he sent her money for because once she received it, she deleted her accounts and disappeared. Such a crazy and sad story; but I know this happens when love is in the equation. Simply look at what the man did for love in this Oscar nominated film. ESCAPING THE OPPRESSION OF HIS COUNTRY’S government, a Syrian refugee agrees to become an art piece so he can travel to Europe to be with the woman he loves. However, it was not as easy as that, he soon found out. With relative newcomer Yahya Mahayni as Sam Ali, newcomer Dea Liane as Abeer, Koen De Bouw (The Prime Minister, Professor T.-TV) as Jeffrey Godefroi, Monica Bellucci (The Matrix franchise, Malena) as Soraya Waldy and Darina Al Joundi (Sisters in Arms, The Tower) as Sam’s mother. This film festival winning drama presented an original, fascinating story line that I found refreshing. The acting was excellent as was the filming of this picture. I felt there were a variety of ways a person could interpret what the writers were intending, that I am not sure if I comprehended some of the ideas coming from different angles. Whether one perceives the story as a political, a marketing, a love or satirical one; I think there is something to gain by watching this thought-provoking film. There were several scenes where Arabic and French were spoken with English subtitles.
3 ½ stars
Flash Movie Review: Beautifully Broken
I DID NOT REALIZE I HAD been observing the interactions in the checkout line, between the shopper and checker. Some shoppers I could tell were regulars based on the conversations I was able to hear. I had been shopping at this particular grocery store for several years, though at different times throughout the week. However, over this time frame I formed impressions of each checker. Some were friendly, some were not, several were rigid with the store’s rules while others worked around the system, so the consumer would not get delayed. One thing I had noticed was the way the checkers’ mood would change when a shopper came through the line while talking on their mobile phone. Let me just say it appeared the checkers were not as helpful as they could be. I decided I would put a big smile on my face when it was my turn to pay for my groceries. It was interesting to see how the checker’s mood quickly changed when they saw me smiling at them. As weeks went by I noticed past inconveniences that annoyed me, such as their rewards program not working with my purchase or an error in pricing, were being handled by the checkers instead of them asking for a price check or an override. I found this quite interesting since in the past these checkers would have gotten help; but now, they were essentially taking my word on the prices and rewards. MAYBE WHAT I HAVE BEEN TALKING about is something you have always done, smiling and being friendly. For me, I used to be selective in who I would show kindness. What can I say? Based on my past experiences I grew up being distrustful of people; it certainly has taken me a long time to let my guard down. It is true what they say about kindness; it is easier to show it instead of anger. What amazes me about acts of kindness is how they can last a lifetime. Recently I attended a school reunion and a woman came up to me who I did not recognize. She knew me right away. During our conversation she thanked me for helping her in school. I did not know what she was talking about but luckily, she mentioned how in study hall I used to help her with her math studies and she was able to pass the class. We are talking years ago and yet, she is still carrying this memory around with her. I was so surprised to hear it. I guess one never knows how an act of kindness can have a profound effect on someone. This drama can show you several examples. IF WILLIAN MWIZERWA, PLAYED BY Benjamin A. Onyango (Tears of the Sun, God’s Not Dead), wanted to keep his family alive as civil war was breaking out in his country, he would need an act of kindness. There was not much opportunity for it with violence spreading rapidly. With Scott William Winters (Good Will Hunting, The People vs. Larry Flynt) as Randy Hartley, Emily Hahn (Camp Cool Kids) as Andrea Hartley, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas (The Song, Rose from the Dead) as Darla Hartley and Michael W. Smith (90 Minutes in Heaven, Saving Faith) as Pastor Henry; the script which was based on a true story, did not do the story justice in my opinion. The story is incredible; I was riveted to the movie screen in the beginning but the sappy musical score, the poor directing and acting, along with the preachiness bored me. Though, I did want to know the outcomes. Having some knowledge of the Rwandan Civil War, this picture could have been an emotional roller coaster ride. The kindest thing I can say about this film is William’s story would be better served in book form.
1 ¾ stars