Sisters are doing it...
I'm not sure if everyone felt it, but for me there was a sense of celebration on our yard on Saturday evening. Obviously we were celebrating the final screening of an unusual season - one in which the singular pleasure of coming together to share the movie watching experience was challenged by this awful virus, but in our case, overcome. We thank all of you who made Saturday our biggest turnout of the summer.
In addition, we were celebrating Linda's efforts on behalf of I Support The Girls, and the tremendous and much appreciated support from myriad friends, in the giving of time, and labor, and on Saturday in the giving of donations of essential women's supplies. The huge pile of contributions received on Saturday, added to the huge number of Amazon packages she received was overwhelming, and Linda offers her heartfelt thanks to you all.
For all this, it was lucky that we had a movie which was worthy of the celebratory mood. Little Women was a feel-good movie for a time that needs something to feel good about. But this was not just a typical strumming of the heartstrings in pursuit of an emotional response. This is a very smart movie. I have said before how the creative use of a non-linear timeline had impressed me on first viewing, but I still had to check myself as the movie opened, and confusion sunk in. Had I, once again, allowed the DVD to start somewhere in the middle ? But at almost exactly the same point as my last viewing, everything clicked into place. From that point, the movie experience changed from the traditional story-telling to a sense of dipping into a family album and finding warmly remembered moments.
In interviews, Greta Gerwig has said that she felt sad that in the original storyline, as the girls grow into adults they go their separate ways, and never recapture the intense sisterhood they shared when younger. This reordering allows us to better understand how their adult lives reflect the way in which the sisters helped each other deal with their individual flaws (vanity, hot-headedness, materialism and timidity). This is particularly the case with Jo. Our friend and Film Club regular Jannean told me that when reading the book as a young girl, she simply could not understand why Jo would choose not to marry Laurie. But now in this timeline, Jo's character as a strong, independent, free-thinking women is laid out in advance of the proposal, and her decision makes perfect sense.
The screenplay also brings a sense of modernity to the role of women in society which may not have existed in the book. Whilst Alcott's four young women in the novel are well-drawn and by no means are any of them wallflowers, Gerwig shines a spotlight on archaic attitudes like marriage as an economic arrangement, women at the bargaining table, and even the role of the woman in a 19th century novel. It's clear that this was very much a labour of love for Gerwig, where every character is treated with both respect and affection, as is the story itself. When it was first published, Little Women was hugely popular, largely because of the realism of the characters lives, but also because it hinted at a non-traditional model for womanhood. Gerwig's treatment respects that approach and extends it by applying it to issues facing women today.
It was my favourite movie of Oscar season, and I enjoyed it even more on Saturday. What a lovely way to sign off for the summer.
FAFC presents LITTLE WOMEN - Sat 12 Sept
Buzz and Woody have overcome some formidable challenges in their time - Evil Sid, being lost, Al McWhiggin, Zurg, being abandoned (again), Lotso the Bear and an incinerator. But they could not compete with the rain storms that persisted throughout the day last Saturday, and with the end of our season approaching fast, Toy Story 4 has unfortunately hit the wayside.
Instead we look forward to Saturday, and the excellent Little Women. In the season preview I mentioned how I had somehow managed to previously avoid accumulating any knowledge of this classic piece of literature, neither on the written page or any TV or film adaptation. And despite my general coolness towards costume dramas, this did not stop me thoroughly enjoying this first time around.
One thing I knew I would enjoy was Saoirse Ronan, who I firmly expect to become a major star as her movie career progresses. Previous movies like Lady Bird and Brooklyn are among my personal favorites over the last few years. One thing I did not realise I would appreciate so much was the excellent screenplay by Greta Gerwig (who also directed) which includes an interesting but effective non-linear timeline. I think the Oscar snub for not winning Best Adapted Screenplay was bigger than not receiving any directing nomination (although the award actually went to Taika Waititi for JoJo Rabbit, so there is that...).
This last screening of the summer is also in aid of I Support the Girls . Many of you know (and have previously supported - thank you !) this charity for which Linda is the Affiliate Director for Central/South New Jersey, and she is in great need of additional supplies. We are asking you to bring, as a contribution for attending, new, unopened packs of pads, panty liners, tampons or new underwear. We are also accepting Amazon Gift Cards!!
So come and see out the summer with us on Saturday. Do a good deed. Keep on eye on the weather, as we are approaching mid-September, and don't forget to sign up.
Parents Guide on IMdB.
Parent Reviews on Commonsensemedia.org
Sign Up for the movie here.
Rain Stopped Play
Good afternoon. We've prevaricated long enough.....
Sorry folks but we are canceling tonight's movie. The back yard is sodden and squelchy underfoot. There is still a chance of rain mid way through our viewing time and we don't want to risk you (or the projector) getting soaked! We will work on a date to reschedule and let you all know asap.
FAFC presents - TOY STORY 4 - Sat 29 Aug
On Saturday we have our annual family movie night. Who could have known it would be in these circumstances, where we have to think hard about a yard full of kids running around, and how we handle the distribution of ice cream (yes, there will be ice cream). But here we are, ready to go, and with the cracking Toy Story 4 as our offering.
I think a lot of people thought that the fourth outing for Woody, Buzz and the gang might be one sequel too far. You expect to be emotionally manipulated when you sit down for a Pixar movie, and not only had the Toy Story franchise played on our heartstrings like a virtuoso through three episodes, they had also managed to tie up all the loose ends in a most satisfying if handkerchief sodden fashion. And yet…
Toy Story 4 delivers on the Pixar promise in spades, although some might feel that the tears in this ultimate denouement are closer to tears of grieving and loss, rather than sentimental joy. Nevertheless, all the familiar elements are there, and you will need to bring your OWN tissues, due to social distancing rules.
See you on Saturday !
Sign up for the movie here
I Believe in Yesterday - Mostly.
First things first. What actually happened to The Beatles ? I mean, in our recent offering ‘Yesterday’, we’re supposed to believe that some weird electrical glitch removed all traces of the Beatles from global memory banks - apart from one (or more ?) favored individuals. But then, John Lennon turns up. What happened to him ? Did he forsake music completely ? Did he try and make it, and then fail ? Most importantly, where was Paul ? And why did these adjustments to recorded history bother me so much more than the ending of ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ ?
In truth, Yesterday was actually a very simple ‘Boy Meets Girl’ story, which is not surprising given it comes from the pen of Richard Curtis (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Love Actually). You know, it’s one of those boy meets girl, boy and girl have immediate chemistry that means everyone in the known universe knows they will be together in the end, except of course they don’t see it till the very, very end. In fact, the biggest surprise in this movie might be that Hugh Grant doesn’t play the aspiring musician Jack Malik. (Then again, if you’ve seen ‘Music and Lyrics’ you’ll know why he was a non-starter for this role.)
Sarcasm aside, Yesterday is funny, warm, and very feel-good. It would be hard not to be with all those Beatles songs peppered around the soundtrack. And whilst I would never look to this kind of thing for the stand-out acting performances, I have to say that Himesh Patel was excellent in the lead role. Not only does he deliver just the right blend of cynicism and wry wittiness about his faltering career, but he is a brilliant performer, and - dare I say it - brought something new to some very familiar songs. His desperate, raucous rendition of ‘Help!’ on a hotel rooftop (see what they did there ?), just when things seemed blackest to him was memorable. I’d personally like to see more punked-up Beatles covers.
Pleasant enough, charmingly funny, great music delivered well - what’s to dislike ? Ed f***ing Sheeran perhaps ? Nah. Oh I believe in Yesterday.