Author: Admin

English on my mother's side - Russian on my father's. I'm a lethal combination of drama and tragedy when I write.

Peterloo (Movie 2018)

2 Kernels

I have been anxiously waiting for this movie to stream on Amazon in the United States.  Since today is the anniversary of Peterloo (August 16, 1819), and my ancestors are from Manchester, I checked to see if it was finally available.  Alas, it is on Prime now to watch, but unfortunately, much of the movie is a massacre as well.

Because this is such a historical event, I had hoped to enjoy the film. My ancestors were poor, and parts of the movie broke my heart frankly. Though they lived in Manchester around 1850’s and onward, which is much later than this occurrence, it still tugged at my heartstrings because I knew they struggled in some of the poorest areas of the city.

The movie is long, but contains quite a few familiar faces of English male actors. Directed by Michael Leigh, it appears to have been praised in England (read here The Guardian’s Review), I personally found the film tedious and poorly acted in many scenes. If you love to listen to great orators of the English language, you may be enthralled by some of the speeches. Frankly, I was impressed by their ability to memorize and deliver such large portions of script.

The movie, 153 minutes long, is filled with talk, speeches, and not much else, until 60,000 to 80,000 people gather for a peaceful demonstration to hear pro-democracy rhetoric by radical orator Henry Hunt, who called for parliamentary reform and repeal of the corn laws. If you wish to read the historical account, good old Wikipedia has a page on the Peterloo Massacre.

The sad end is the last fifteen minutes of the movie watching the Calvary arriving to drive the crowd away. Of course, they drew their sabers and history records eighteen dead and 400-700 injured.  I would have thought that tidbit of information would scroll at the end of the film, but it did not. It ended with three journalists from London, Liverpool, and another paper (Leeds, I think), talking about writing a story about the Peterloo massacre. It was termed that because the aftermath looked like the battle of Waterloo, only it happened in St. Peter’s Field.

Sadly, I do think the movie could have been better and more engaging. Instead, it became a snooze fest for me, and I did fast forward through a good thirty minutes of it to get to the part where everyone assembles at St. Peter’s Field.

What we can take away from the story, though, is that this was a dark period of cruelty perpetrated against the poor who only wanted a better voice in the House of Commons.  Instead, they were silenced by the swords, and men, women, and children died all because they wanted more food on their tables and better lives.

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Source: The Current War, a Weinstein Company Casualty, Will See the Light of Day

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Source: Jane Austen’s Sanditon ‘sexed up’ in Andrew Davies adaptation

Ophelia (Movie 2019)

Ophelia4 Kernels

Let’s get something straight. Whenever somebody suggests that I watch a play by Shakespeare, I usually run the other way. Except for Romeo and Juliet, I’m pretty much Shakespearean ignorant. With a mere high school education and no college course to make me study literature, his famous works have not been on my top-ten to-do list.

Have I watched Hamlet before? I’ve tried. I’ve read the synopsis and snoozed through it, as well as started to watch it on television and snoozed through that or turned it off.  Now, take the same story, and have it told through the eyes of a woman, Ophelia, and you’ve got my attention.  As IMDb says, “It’s a re-imaging of Hamlet, told from Opehlia’s perspective.”  Apparently, it’s based on a novel by Lisa Klein.

The movie was directed by Claire McCarthy and stars Daisy Ridley (Ophelia), Naomi Watts (Gertrude), Clive Owen (Claudius), and George MacKay (Hamlet). It’s a well-done movie with beautiful cinematography, costumes, and acting.  You don’t need to worry about that old-English Shakespeare speech either, as the dialogue is understandable.

Since I’m not crazy about Shakespeare, I do appreciate those writers and directors who have the boldness to take old works and modernize them just enough for us who don’t have a master’s degree in literature to understand and appreciate the stories.  It helps us little folk without all those fancy degrees actually enjoy it on our level of understanding.

If you’re looking for a classic tragedy (and believe me the ending is tragic enough to illicit a tear), you might want to watch this fantastic movie.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Where can you watch it?  Check it out at Ophelia: Watch At Home.  I rented it off Amazon for $5.99.  Cheaper than a ticket at the theater and you make you own popcorn free.

Also, perhaps the picture below will jog your memory about her story.

ophelia

Artist – John Everett Millais “Ophelia”

 

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