Film Reviews

Please review a film of your choice (from the list provided) in approximately 500 words on this page. Direct the review towards your classmates, and be careful to avoid excessive spoilers. Consider if the film corresponds with our course themes thus far and how successful it is as a British or Irish contribution to world cinema. Should your classmates see this film?

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. profferguson
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 13:46:42

    Here is a link to the late Roger Ebert’s review of “The Hours,” to give you a sense of what a professional film review looks like.
    http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/the-hours-2002
    “The Hours” was a film on your list that no one signed up for. I will also try to post a sample review from a student in Literary Cultures last semester.–MF

    Reply

  2. profferguson
    Oct 06, 2013 @ 13:58:54

    Here is a sample film review from last semester by a student. It’s a very good one, with the only thing missing being perhaps a solid link to course themes.

    Our Refusal: A Michael Collins Film Review
    I confess, when the introduction music started playing I thought to myself “What am I about to watch?” I bunkered down on my bed, refilled my coffee mug and prepared myself for the worst. I was beyond pleasantly surprised. Michael Collins is filled with suspense, intrigue, spies, war, and Irish accents. What more can a girl want? As far as I am concerned, there is nothing more left to desire. Michael Collins tells the biographical story of Ireland’s most important and controversial revolutionary leader. A Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Michael Collins was also the Director of Intelligence for the Irish Republic Army(IRA), and a member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
    The movie opens with the superior British forces defeating the Irish rebels during the Easter Week rebellion of 1916 but quickly segues to the heart of the movie, where Collins (played by Liam Neesen) develops radical guerilla tactics in the fight for Irish freedom. Through the use of spies, Collins gathers the information to organize assassinations of those Irish who work as informers for the British, and later members of British intelligence. Throughout the movie, Collins is troubled about the use of such violence, but knows that in the end it is the only way. Collins was right and the British called a truce. A very reluctant Collins is sent to London to negotiate the treaty, knowing full well that he will not be able to accomplish what the IRA wants of him. Returning with a less than perfect treaty, Michael Collins is labeled as a traitor and sellout. When Collin’s best friend and war time partner, Harry Boland (played by Aidan Quinn) discovers that his girlfriend, Kitty Kiernan,( played by Julia Roberts) has fallen in love with Collins, Boland deserts Collins and his mission. Now, seemingly alone, Collins is faced with a civil war and struggles against those who insist on an all or nothing Ireland. The end of the movie is really no surprise; Collins goes out in a blaze of glory.
    Besides the terrific plot, the movie’s cinematography had a gritty, real feel to it that did an excellent job mirroring the state of the IRA. As a viewer, I could easily see and feel the bloody desperation of the IRA. Also worth mentioning was the fantastic soundtrack, especially Sinead O’Conner’s rendition of “He Went to The Fair.” And while all of the actors and actresses were more than outstanding, Liam Neeson’s performance of Michael Collins is remarkable. Neeson does such a fantastic job portraying Michael Collins’ ability to muster the people that during his first speech, I could feel my heart beat faster and I had to remind myself that this is just a movie. My only complaint is that even though the love triangle between Kitty, Boland, and Collins added a little Hollywood flair, I did not think it a necessary addition. It did next to nothing for the plot and did not add anything to further the story.
    From the acting, to the soundtrack, to the cinematography, this proved to be a wonderful film. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes political suspense or biographical type films. Perhaps the most important fact about the movie is that even though I have very little knowledge of Ireland’s history, I was still able to thoroughly enjoy this movie, and empathize with the Irish people.

    Reply

  3. chelseadermody
    Oct 08, 2013 @ 02:51:09

    REVIEW OF “AN EDUCATION”
    Wow. I really don’t even know where to start. This movie has left me completely befuddled. I guess I’ll take it from the beginning. Jenny Mellor, played by Carey Mulligan, is a sixteen-year old English girl. She is motivated and intelligent, but most of all she is determined to study at Oxford after graduation.
    It is made clear from the beginning that Jenny is very different from her peers. She is the only one to answer questions in class and she answers correctly every time. She’s beautiful in a very sophisticated and womanly way, but she is still very girlish. She doesn’t mettle in the same type of silly gossip that even her closest friends do. And when the other girls rush from the school doors at the sound of the bell, Jenny stays behind with her cello.
    As Jenny stands in the rain on the sidewalk outside of school, presumably waiting for her father to pick her up, we meet David Goldman, played by Peter Sarsgaard. David rolls up in his beautiful, polished car and offers to give the cello a lift because, as a music lover, he is concerned that it will be damaged by the weather. Jenny resists getting in the car for a bit and walks alongside David, and the cello, both of which are in the car, but eventually she hops in too. David and Jenny seem immediately interested in each other. Their short conversation seems to illustrate the commencement of a deep connection. It is important to note though, David is nearly twice Jenny’s age.
    I have to admit that although I was not bothered by the flirty and seemingly innocent interaction of these two characters, I was completely surprised at the reaction, or lack of reaction, to the age difference between David and Jenny as the story progressed.
    After David drops Jenny off at home, they begin running into each other more and more. David asks Jenny on a sort of date and Jenny appears swept off of her feet. She’s worried about what her parents may say to the offer, but David, who has an answer for everything, calms her fears, offers a solution, and tells her he will handle it. And he does, and even in this early scene when David meets Jenny’s parents and asks if he can take Jenny out, David exhibits his dishonesty.
    It is important to note that Jenny’s parents are not uninvolved in her life. They are everything but. Jenny’s father is incredibly strict and he pushes and pushes and pushes Jenny to study so that she can get into Oxford. He is incredibly hard on Jenny and we get the sense that no “boy” will be good enough for a girl like Jenny in his eyes. But somehow, David, who really isn’t a boy at all, but rather a man, seems to fit the mold.
    Jenny and David spend a lot of time together. David takes Jenny to see places she never dreamed of. And their relationship is no secret. All of the girls at school know, Jenny’s parents know, David’s friends know, and the teachers and administration at the school know as well. But the thing is, no one seems bothered by the age difference. This is where I was so surprised. In the United States society has such strict guidelines of what love should look like (I am in no way suggesting I agree with these “guidelines,” but I must acknowledge that they exist.) Homosexual couples, couples with age differences, biracial couples, etc. get looked at differently. But in England, the peculiarity of Jenny and David’s relationship is largely overlooked. The bigger concern seems to be that Jenny may give up her education for a relationship.
    I don’t want to spoil more than I already have, but there are a few things I want to point out about “An Education.” Besides the reaction to Jenny and David’s relationship, I noticed a few other cultural indicators. At one point there is a conversation between Jenny’s father and mother about going somewhere. Jenny’s father doesn’t want to go, Jenny’s mother does. Jenny’s father rudely responds to Jenny’s mother by asking her how she will get there and telling her she won’t drive. Jenny’s mother has no response. This was really interesting. The family has a car. But Jenny’s mother, as a woman, does not drive. I believe this same theme was present in one of the girl’s families in The Dancers Dancing. The father drove, but the mother could never even be imagined driving.
    There is also an interesting discussion between Jenny and the Headmaster of her school where the headmaster tells Jenny that all she can be is a public servant or a teacher because she is a woman. There are similar references to the aspirations of a woman by Orla in The Dancers Dancing.
    Last, but not least, Jenny’s father, the man who pushed Jenny harder than was healthy to get a good education so that she could make it to Oxford and make something of herself, ends up encouraging Jenny to throw it all away for a man in the end. Wow! What does that say about a woman’s aspirations?!
    Overall, this was a great film. It’s a beautiful story and although at times it made me mad, it gave great insight on the culture. The presence of gender issues were at the forefront of the movie. You all should see it!

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  4. kelseywhelan2013
    Oct 13, 2013 @ 18:37:55

    PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
    Jane Austen’s most beloved book Pride and Prejudice rendered a new interpretation directed by Joe Wright in the 2005 film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. Having never read the book, I could only allow myself to expect what I had heard from others. However, since I have enjoyed every role played by Keira Knightley that I have seen, I decided this was the choice for me. The film follows the lives of the Bennet’s, a family living in England with five daughters. As Mr. Bennet is aging, and his estate will go to Mr. Collins, a distant cousin, Mrs. Bennet has made a priority of encouraging her daughters to marry men that are of a suitable class so that they will live fortunate lives.

    When the wealthy Mr. Bingley arrives in town, accompanied by his sister and another wealthy man Mr. Darcy, Mrs. Bennet sees the opportunity in Mr. Bingley choosing one of her daughters as a partner. The eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, falls for Mr. Bingley and Elizabeth (Lizzie), the most cheeky and independent of the girls, finds a loathing for Mr. Darcy. As her hatred for him builds, Mr. Collins enters and wishes to find a mistress for the estate in Jane, but due to her love for Mr. Bingley, Mrs. Bennett eggs him onto Lizzie who is not interested in the least.

    As Lizzie and Mr. Darcy’s hatred for each other fabricates, their love for each other is also engaged. Mr. Darcy admits that he loves her but must also regard the inferiority of her rank by birth. The question of whether or not this love can be acted upon falls problematic because of their difference in class. Each needs to overcome their pride and the prejudices that accompany different classes in order for their relationship to flourish.

    Class is an overpowering issue in this film as Mrs. Bennet preoccupies herself with the need to marry her daughters off to a man of an upper class. She even lets Jane travel to his house by horse in the rain so that she will be forced to stay there. Another example, after Lizzie’s refusal to Mr. Collins, he chooses a mate in Lizzie’s friend Charlotte who states, “not all of us can afford to be romantic.” She wishes that Lizzie not judge her because she is simply trying to make a life for herself. Another instance is when the youngest daughter Lydia runs away. Her family is in distress when they learn of her absence, but when news comes that she has married Mr. Wickham, Mrs. Bennet is thrilled that her daughter has found such fortune.

    Lizzie’s independence and cheek relate to many characters we have read about in class. Foremost, I find many similarities between Lizzie and many of Angela Carter’s female heroines. They share the characteristics of being “just a woman in a man’s world” and how they seek to overcome this. In The Dancers Dancing class plays an important role as Orla’s mother controls Orla’s friendships by trying to rid her of Sandra and making good with Aisling.

    The condition of women in the film is much like many women we have read about in class. Also in The Dancers Dancing, and many other texts for that matter, women are limited due to their gender. The limitations of the female gender are also present in this film and Lizzie works to undo the constrictions of gender.

    I really enjoyed this movie and would encourage everyone to watch it. It applies immensely to the conventions that we have been studying in class and is a good watch, nonetheless. Its success cinematically is well known, but I would also say that it contributed successfully to British film as a whole.

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  5. fairlady0214
    Oct 17, 2013 @ 03:14:36

    Wuthering Heights
    Andrea Arnold’s 2011 remake of Bronte’s classic, “Wuthering Heights” successfully captures the gloomy essence and bleak circumstances of the novel. Through resourceful innovation, the film element of cinematography is manipulated to narrate the depressing, insurmountable obstacles surrounding the love affair between Heathcliff and Catherine. Arnold achieves this transformation by paralleling the moor’s primary traits of cold, damp harshness to the relationships of all the characters. While this approach unquestionably succeeds in delivering a foreboding sense of a grim outcome, it also serves as a countermand in that it dismisses key details necessary to fully comprehend the underlying dynamics that propel “Wuthering Heights” from sappy love story to literary classic. Therefore, it fails to serve as a proper compliment to the novel. The reason it fails is that in order to recognize subtle hints proffered of gender, racism and class, one must have read the novel beforehand. This relegates the film to the classification of a mere spin-off.
    The complexities of gender could be overlooked by the average viewer whereas the astute reader will readily identify how women used marriage to improve their inferior status. This is only briefly expressed in a minor scene featuring an exchange between Catherine and a servant who questions Catherine’s motives in marrying the neighboring, wealthy Linton lad. Catherine confesses that while she has much affection for him, it is Heathcliff that she loves. However, that love must remain stagnate in that Heathcliff is not only impoverished, he is considered to be of an inferior race. Catherine feels to acquiesce to her love of Heathcliff would in fact “degrade her.”
    More importantly, the film adheres to the stereotypical example of women betrayed as victims. Bronte’s, Catherine uses the male perception of female weakness as a viable means to manipulate both Linton and Heathcliff to her desires. However, the film’s dismissal of essential details potentially deludes the audience into wrongfully perceiving Catherine as persecuted by her own feelings of love towards Heathcliff. This is illustrated best in the turbulent deathbed scene where Heathcliff comes to be by her side. Catherine leaves him with the haunting words, “you have killed me. You and Edgar broke my heart.” The scene leaves the audience subdued by sympathy for the dying Catherine, blind to the fact that she is in fact, a victim of her own making. Catherine, being a quintessential example of the gothic woman, is always longing to escape from her world through marriage or some other means. She tragically discovers that escape is seldom the answer and true happiness lies within the rejected confines from which she emerged, an ideal that this film completely ignored.
    Although the film is rather unsuccessful in delivering the accurate portrayals of characters in “Wuthering Heights,” Arnold is to be commended for the brilliant innovation in relation to the issue of racism with her unique approach to casting. Choosing to break from the bonds of traditional type-casting, Arnold selected actors, Solomon Glave and James Howson to fulfill the role of Heathcliff. This was anomalous in that these actors are of African descent allowing Arnold to include the racial tensions and prejudices prevalent during the 19th century. This is best exemplified through the characterization of Catherine’s brother, Hendley Earnshaw, who directs his jealousy and hatred of Heathcliff through derogatory slurs and physical abuse.
    The issue of classism is a dominant theme in the novel and Arnold improves moderately in revealing this particular theme by highlighting the marriages of Catherine, Hendley, and Isabella. Additionally, the disparity between Wuthering Heights and the Linton estate serves as an economic focal point as it sparks an ever dividing rift between Heathcliff and Catherine. The rift begins with Catherine’s sudden denunciation of Heathcliff’s unkempt, dirty appearance through his inclination to leave and return as a man of means in order to win back Catherine’s favor. Nonetheless, the inclusion of this contention is negated as Arnold opts to eliminate the narrator, Lockwood, from the movie. This character is multi-dimensional in that he not only serves as storyteller but provides a profound view on how detrimental one’s class association can be. Lockwood is representative of a higher class hailing from a more socially civilized section of England. As such, the reader is able to view the tension between the upper and lower classes. Lockwood struggles to grasp their unwillingness to conform to societies acceptable norms in terms of both community and domestic relations. He is often used to illustrate a strong contrast between the elite and working class which prevents each from understanding the other’s worldview. It is the absence of Lockwood that ultimately deflates the classic into a dreaded, monotonous love story.
    Conclusively, Arnold’s work is to be commended. The cinematography was wonderfully dreadful befitting of the tragedy and spoke volumes above the strained dialogue. Be that as it may, it is not sufficient to save this film’s criteria as a true depiction of the novel. Hence, it would be imprudent to recommend this film to viewers who have never experienced the uncanny horror first hand from the novel itself. After all, the magical imagery that comes alive between the pages of a literary classic loses it spell when brought to the big screen as the camera lacks the ability to, well let us just say, read between the lines.

    Two Stars.

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  6. caseyrmcg
    Oct 20, 2013 @ 20:49:18

    As the scene unveiled on my laptop screen with women in corsets and men smoking cigars, immediately I began to ask myself why I had chosen such a film that appeared to be not relatable to my life at all. However, as the movie progressed and concluded, I found that “An Ideal Husband” can be critiqued and enjoyed by modern film lovers seeking to find similarities between their own lives and what is projected on screen.

    “An Ideal Husband” (1999) is a beautiful rendition of Oscar Wilde’s play. Having never read or seen the play, I didn’t have previous expectations for the film. It focuses on two leading men, Sir Robert Chilton (Jeremy Northampton) and Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett), who are both well-known in London’s political sphere. Chiltern, a successful political figure in England’s House of Commons, enjoys a seemingly perfect life, especially with the aid of his lovely wife, Gertrude, and his eager-to-help sister, Mabel. Goring is not ambitious, but he is definitely funny and handsome throughout the film. (Seriously, he’s a hunk.)

    Conversations of conflict often arise at the various political parties in the movie. These social get-togethers for the elite provide a backdrop for most of the film’s action. Both Chiltern and Goring’s lives are completely disrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Chevely, an old acquaintance for the main characters. Mrs. Chevely uses the threat of blackmail to get what she wants, and it is Chiltern who stands to lose everything he has, including his wife. Ultimately, it is up to Gertrude and Goring to solve the conflict and prevent Chiltern’s fall. In doing so, Goring could potentially risk his chances with Mabel, with whom he has been courting and flirting. As the climax unveils, Chiltern (who is thought to be perfect) is shown to be flawed and risks damaging the welfare of the people to keep his life in tact while Goring (who is seen as unserious and uninspired) must step up to the plate to save his friend, even at risk to his own reputation.

    Unlike much of our class readings, this film’s main female character, Mrs. Chevely, holds power over other main characters for most of the film. Certain plot themes concerning Mrs. Chevely reminded me of the Countess in “The Lady of the House of Love” by Angela Carter in that for most of the movie, Mrs. Chevely posseses power over all other main characters, especially the males. Similarily, the Countess always possessed power over men who came into her home (until the soldier). In the end, however, both risk losing power because of their own weaknesses.

    There is a “room” theme in this film. The blackmail Mrs. Chevely seeks creates constraints and barriers on all other main characters. Issues of class can also be analyzed through Mrs. Chevely, who is criticized for her rise in socioeconomic class. Throughout, gender is constructed and stereotyped by women’s actions and words as Mrs. Chevely is portrayed as an evil bitch (so to speak) while Gertrude is classified as the “ideal.” Furthermore (and to attempt to not spoil anything more), Chiltern constantly battles masculine roles by trying to remain an ideal husband and maintain his political success/admiration.

    This film is a successful contribution to world cinema in that it analyzes the dichotomy between personal and public life, critiquing those who refuse to consider morals in public decisions, in a time period when industrial and economic power are in the forefront of British politics. “An Ideal Husband” is definitely a film worth viewing, even if you’re unfamiliar with the political dynamics of the era.

    Reply

    • caseyrmcg
      Oct 20, 2013 @ 20:53:53

      As the scene unveiled on my laptop screen with women in corsets and men smoking cigars, immediately I began to ask myself why I had chosen such a film that appeared to be not relatable to my life at all. However, as the movie progressed and concluded, I found that “An Ideal Husband” can be critiqued and enjoyed by modern film lovers seeking to find similarities between their own lives and what is projected on screen.

      “An Ideal Husband” (1999) is a beautiful rendition of Oscar Wilde’s play. Having never read or seen the play, I didn’t have previous expectations for the film. It focuses on two leading men, Sir Robert Chiltern (Jeremy Northampton) and Lord Arthur Goring (Rupert Everett), who are both well-known in London’s political sphere. Chiltern, a successful political figure in England’s House of Commons, enjoys a seemingly perfect life, especially with the aid of his lovely wife, Gertrude, and his eager-to-help sister, Mabel. Goring is not ambitious, but he is definitely funny and handsome throughout the film. (Seriously, he’s a hunk.)

      Conversations of conflict often arise at the various political parties in the movie. These social get-togethers for the elite provide a backdrop for most of the film’s action. Both Chiltern and Goring’s lives are completely disrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Chevely, an old acquaintance for the main characters. Mrs. Chevely uses the threat of blackmail to get what she wants, and it is Chiltern who stands to lose everything he has, including his wife. Ultimately, it is up to Gertrude and Goring to solve the conflict and prevent Chiltern’s fall. In doing so, Goring could potentially risk his chances with Mabel, with whom he has been courting and flirting. As the climax unveils, Chiltern (who is thought to be perfect) is shown to be flawed and risks damaging the welfare of the people to keep his life in tact while Goring (who is seen as unserious and uninspired) must step up to the plate to save his friend, even at risk to his own reputation.

      Unlike much of our class readings, this film’s main female character, Mrs. Chevely, holds power over other main characters for most of the film. Certain plot themes concerning Mrs. Chevely reminded me of the Countess in “The Lady of the House of Love” by Angela Carter in that for most of the movie, Mrs. Chevely posseses power over all other main characters, especially the males. Similarily, the Countess always possessed power over men who came into her home (until the soldier). In the end, however, both risk losing power because of their own weaknesses.

      There is a “room” theme in this film. The blackmail Mrs. Chevely seeks creates constraints and barriers on all other main characters. Issues of class can also be analyzed through Mrs. Chevely, who is criticized for her rise in socioeconomic class. Throughout, gender is constructed and stereotyped by women’s actions and words as Mrs. Chevely is portrayed as an evil bitch (so to speak) while Gertrude is classified as the “ideal.” Furthermore (and to attempt to not spoil anything more), Chiltern constantly battles masculine roles by trying to remain an ideal husband and maintain his political success/admiration.

      This film is a successful contribution to world cinema in that it analyzes the dichotomy between personal and public life, critiquing those who refuse to consider morals in public decisions, in a time period when industrial and economic power are in the forefront of British politics. “An Ideal Husband” is definitely a film worth viewing, even if you’re unfamiliar with the political dynamics of the era.

      Reply

  7. Travis Monroe
    Oct 22, 2013 @ 05:48:31

    Mansfield Park was originally a novel written by Jane Austin between the years 1811-1813. The most recent film version of this story was released in 1999, directed by Patricia Rozema and produced by Sarah Curtis; this is the film that I watched. I must admit, Mansfield Park started out quite slow and dull. I was somewhat lost in what exactly was going on and was wondering how the story would take off from the beginning, where Fanny Price is sent away to her wealthy relatives at Mansfield Park to get an education and help take some burden off her mother. After some patience with the development of the story, I quickly began to get sucked into the plot. Mansfield Park exposes various aspects of life in the early 19th century in the eyes of a woman. The viewer of this film is guaranteed to experience the inevitable contemplation between love, class, and morality through the eyes of women in their search for a partner in life. In addition to these features, the movie portrays the struggle for feminine independence and leadership, and probes at the development and emergence of intellectual and learned women.
    Mansfield Park begins with a scene of despair in a somewhat wretched, but tight-knit household of the Price’s. At the age of ten, Fanny is sent away from their flat in the streets of Portsmouth, England to her mother’s wealthy siblings at Mansfield Park—a roughly ten hour carriage ride to Northampton, England. It is immediately clear to Fanny that she will be treated differently at her new home, and that she is not an equal to the others. However, Fanny has a secret weapon up her sleeve: her wit and intelligence. Fanny gets a proper education out of her relocation to Mansfield Park, and transforms into a crafty and sharp-witted young lady who learns how to use her words in speech and in writing as a helpful tool for her life. Fanny remains quite distant to her relatives at her new home—they always are looking down on her and never give her the respect she deserves. Edmund Bertram is the exception to this foolishness. He is the son of Sir Thomas and is Fanny’s cousin. When Fanny is adjusting to this radical change and harsh rejection at her new home, Edmund steps in and offers his friendship. This companionship endures for many years until Fanny is in her late teens. Edmond is prepared to marry Mary Crawford, sister of Henry Crawford, two somewhat rowdy visitors at Mansfield Park, and Henry becomes fixated on the idea of marring Fanny and her beauty that she has grown into. The real conflict and tension arise in the movie when Henry, despite Fanny’s wishes, asks Sir Thomas for permission to take Fanny’s hand in marriage—and he approves. This is where the film gets very intriguing. Fanny has to decide if she wants to marry for wealth, and escape her poverty-stricken past, or continue searching for love. She cannot trust Henry and from the beginning refuses to marry him. At one point, she almost convinces herself to marry him—that it is a necessity for her future, if she wants to be comfortable in life.
    I will not spell the rest out for you, but it is quite clear as to the difficult decisions that Fanny faces. She uses her practical intelligence to reject Sir Thomas in his request that she marry Henry—something that was unheard of at the time, and later faces the tough decision of whether wealth or true love is the correct motive when looking for a partner. Fanny has to go against the grain in her choices; she is repeatedly told that Henry is her ticket to “settling” down, and that he is a once in a lifetime opportunity to satisfaction for any woman in her situation. Fanny does not believe this is true, and decides that dishonest characteristics are not worth it. Fanny takes a real stand here and demonstrates great courage by standing up for herself and doing what she believed was right. This goes along with many concepts and ideas we have seen in this class. We have looked at numerous situations where penniless, single females are stuck in this same struggle. In Mansfield Park, we also see another fine example of a struggle for independent femininity. Fanny stands out by being more independent, which we see in other works we have read throughout the semester. I would strongly recommend this film to anyone in our class; I think it does a spectacular job of presenting women as individuals who are capable of being self-sufficient and free of a man, or society’s rules. Mansfield Park impressively shows the breakthrough of this individualism for women, and gives the viewer a great idea of the struggles that women faced in England’s past.

    Reply

  8. ainsleymoreman
    Oct 23, 2013 @ 07:35:07

    The Importance of Being Earnest is romantic comedy based on Oscar Wilde’s play. It has a very impressive cast that stars Reese Witherspoon, Collin Firth, and Rupert Everett. Despite having an impressive cast, I feel like the film did not meet my expectations.
    The movie starts with Algy Moncrieff, played by Everett, being chased through a back ally. The scene then changes to Jack Worthing, played by Firth, leaving the country side and claiming he has business to attend to because of his wicked brother Ernest’s troubles.
    Upon arrival in the city Firth, who was previously referred to as Jack, is now being called Ernest by his friend, Algy. You learn that Ernest (Firth) claims to be in love with Algy’s cousin, Gwendolyn. However, the relationship is not supported by Gwendolyn’s mom, Lady Bracknell, who objects to Firth because of his lower class standing and because he is not certain about what class his parents, who he never met, were from. Lady Bracknell believes that Ernest was “bred in a handbag,” and encourages him to figure out who his parents are.
    The movie the returns to the country and remains there for the remainder of the film. Ernest (Firth) returns to his home in the countryside, where he is once again referred to as Jack, and announces that his brother, Ernest, has passed away. Jack does not manage to finish the tale of what happened to his deceased brother before Algy, shows up claiming to be Ernest, in hopes of meeting and eventually proposing to Jack’s ward, Cecily, who is played by Witherspoon. Cecily, is the inheritor of her grandfather’s, the man who adopted Jack, great fortune. She seems to be a sophisticated, classy, young lady who enjoys writing in her diary and her school lessons.
    The film is confusing, yet at the same time entertaining. There is confusion as to who Ernest actually is and deception that goes along with this. The focus of the film is on the relationships between Jack and Algy, Algy and Cecily, and Jack and Gwendolyn, but other than that, it was difficult to see what the film was about.
    The men in this play almost seem to get away with their deception to Gwendolyn and Cecily, who both at one point claim to be in love with the men, largely because their name is Ernest. When the two women finally meet each other, they get along for a very short time until they believe they are both engaged to Ernest. It is at this point that they find out the truth about the two men and their names. Naturally, they are upset at finding that the men they are engaged to have lied about their names, and become best friends in this betrayal and are seen together in multiple scenes reading the other’s diary.
    The ending of the film throws in many surprises. The truth about the characters’ identities and relationship with other characters comes out. You finally get to know Jack’s background thanks to Lady Bracknell’s outburst toward Prism, who is Cecily’s teacher.
    Lady Bracknell finally ends up being satisfied with Jack’s class towards the end of the film. This obsession with social and economic class is something that we have seen throughout the semester in class. There is such an emphasis on class in this film that it is serious enough to forbid or allow marriages. The two main female characters in this film also both enjoy writing, although it is not the most common activity for a woman of the time.
    Although the film was humorous at times, it is probably not something that I would recommend or view again. Throughout times, I was confused with where the movie was heading in the end and the overall purpose of many of the ideas presented. The actors and actresses executed their roles very well, but I feel like the overall storyline was not one that is the most successful, and overall confusing.

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  9. aarongoode
    Oct 23, 2013 @ 20:42:32

    Once I found the correct Possession (there’s another that involved tentacles and Sam Neill- which was fine, but not what I was looking for), I was pleased to see that Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart were the leads. I’d only seen them in Iron Man and The Dark Knight, so I was interested to see them in roles not secondary to a superhero. I wasn’t disappointed.

    The film focuses on two literary historians, the British Maude Bailey, and the American Roland Mitchell. Bailey has dedicated her life to studying the life and works of the poet Christabelle LaMotte, a distant ancestor of hers. Mitchell is researching a lead he has found concerning the private life of a poet from the same period, Randolph Ash. Over the course of the film, the two uncover letters revealing that the two poets were actually having a clandestine affair. So, of course, Bailey and Mitchell fall in love, and the film ends with them happily in a relationship with all of the valuable letters in the right hands.

    While this film showcased some fine acting on the parts of Paltrow and Eckhart, it also made generous use of all those romance tropes you would expect to see. Bailey and Mitchell are initially hostile, growing closer as the film progresses. There’s the crucial scene where they have come close to admitting it to themselves, then fight and separate. But they get back together in a high drama, cathartic moment, then work together to save the letters and wind up happily in a relationship. I would say the worst thing about this movie was how predictable it was.

    That aside, I thought it was interesting how the two romances, past and present, mirror each other in their progression; which only makes sense as Bailey and Mitchell’s relationship escalates as they uncover evidence of Ash and LaMotte’s relationship escalating. I think this was the most clever part of the film. My lasting impression was largely positive. I would watch it again, but mostly to see how exactly the mirrored romances were pulled off.

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