I finally had the opportunity to watch The Wife, streaming on Starz. If you are an author and haven’t seen the movie, you may wish to check it out.
The movie is based on novel of the same name, and stars Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, and Christian Slater. Glenn Close plays the wife, Joan. Her husband, Joseph Castleman, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and they travel to Stockholm with their son for the award ceremony.
It’s a convoluted story, with flashbacks from the present to the past. Flashbacks include young Joan, who falls in love with her professor, Joseph. He teaches writing, but Joan is actually the talent between the two. Set in 1960, Joan is faced with the reality that most publishing houses are not interested in female authors. However, she is driven to write.
In a poignant conversation with an author at a reading, come these lines. They are spoken in a conversation between the young Joan Castleman and an author by the name of Elaine Mozell, who is disillusioned with the publishing house gatekeepers (those rascals are still around by the way).
“I love to write. It’s my life.” (Joan Castleman)
“Don’t do it.” (Elaine Mozell)
“A writer has to write.” (Joan Castleman)
“A writer has to be read, honey.” (Elaine Mozell)
After Joan marries Joseph, who attempts to write a book, she helps to rewrite his poorly devised first draft. As the genius between the two, and because he is a male, the book gets published and it a runaway best seller. As the years follow, Joan writes, while he keeps house and watches the kids. Now that they are in their twilight years with grown children and grandchildren, the Nobel Prize is now Joseph’s crowning achievement. No one is wise as to who really wields the pen in the background, except for another author who wants to write Castleman’s biography.
Joan, of course, is frustrated after years of living with a narcissist husband who takes all the credit for her hard work. He’s been unfaithful to his wife throughout the years — just one of those men who can’t control his urge to stray. But Joan, you see, has been the good wife, until finally the typewriter ribbon of life breaks and she’s had enough.
Glenn Close received multiple nominations and awards for her performance. I will say that I’ve not always been a fan of hers but she is outstanding in her performance. The movie is also fraught with dysfunctional family ties between father and son, which becomes part of the conflict but not the central story.
In any event, I write this review because I have to write, and I love to write. The problem is when you are an author, you really are driven to write. You attempt to stop. I know I do when sales on my books suck, and no one reads them. I mean what’s the point? A writer needs to be read. I tell myself the same story — don’t do it. Just give it up. Of course, I don’t heed that advice.
Interesting article. Netflix has picked up the first two seasons. Diana is working on another book. This article was published in Oprah Magazine on May 15. Follow link to read.
Gabaldon is currently working on the series’ ninth book titled Go Tell the Bees I’m Gone.
Thank God for Acorn TV for us across-the-pond fans. Line of Duty, the BBC hit and highest rated series in the UK, is now on Acorn TV. It started May 13th. Like a junkie on drugs, I watched five episodes straight in the row until I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Savored episode six with dinner the next day while eating my microwave TV turkey and gravy (what else). What a freaking season! This show is addicting.
Bent coppers – that’s what it’s about. You don’t know who to believe. Suspicion with a capital “S” pointing to Superintendent Ted Hastings. By the end of the episode, you’re raging on Twitter #lineofduty – Free Ted.
Here’s a good rundown from DigitalSpy about Season 5 and how it may be frustrating to some viewers. Naturally, the mystery remains. People you thought were the good guys are turning out to be the corrupt guys. Where is Season 6 going to take us?
Season 5 is interrogation overload, for sure (…let me turn your attention to page…), and by the end there still is corruption in the force. Of course, the writers and producers are going to make us wait again to find out what comes next. Buggers.
And one last thought, for a woman who can play parts such as docile Mrs. Darcy in Death Comes to Pemberley, Esther Summerson in Bleak House, or Bessy Higgins in North & South, Anna Maxwell Martin can really play a woman on a mission with a bitchy attitude that makes you squirm in your seat. Let’s face it, when you want to gag a character in a TV show, the actress is doing a great job of making you despise her. Well done Anna.
And last, but not least, there definately (pun here) should be multiple kudos flung at Adrian Dunbar. Well done, Superintendent. You had me shaking in the hot seat with you.
The White Queen, The White Princess have past, and now The Spanish Princess is the new Starz series based off of Philippa Gregory’s books. I enjoyed The White Queen more than The White Princess, but that doesn’t matter. The story has moved years ahead with Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth awaiting the arrival of the Spanish Princess to marry Arthur, the heir to the English throne. Betrothed as children, Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of the two Spanish monarchs is about to save England, bringing the power of Spain behind a weakened and bankrupt England.
The only difficult switch between these series is that the cast changes each time, and continuity of character is often lost. Three Margaret Beauforts have played the three series, all who have portrayed the parts much differently. However, based on the years that pass between each series, it’s probably understandable that the same actors cannot always be available to carry on the characters as they age in a story line.
In The White Princess, we watched young and uncertain Henry VII take the throne, surrounded by enemies and those would who take the title back from him. Now aging and still somewhat fraught with self-esteem issues and a controlling wife, he anxiously awaits the marriage of Catherine and Arthur to bring stability back to England.
We are introduced to a young Infanta (the daughter of a ruling monarch of Spain), who is headstrong and certain in her calling to become Queen of England. She’s obedient to her mother, assured, and not afraid to speak her mind. Her purpose in life is to rule England alongside her husband, however, shortly after they wed Arthur dies. Along the sidelines is a younger and more roguish Henry (he says, “please call me Harry”), who will soon take his place as Catherine’s husband instead.
The historical timeline is not accurate. They depict Henry as the younger brother of Arthur much older. Historically, Arthur was fifteen and Henry ten at the time when Catherine arrived. She was sixteen. Charlotte Hope plays the young princess and fits the older stereotype, however, the actress’ accent makes it difficult to always catch watch she is saying.
Of course, this is an adaptation, if you will, of history itself. Slightly altered to make the story more interesting, rather than letting you wait all those years after Arthur’s death for Henry to become of age (seventeen) before he marries Catherine. In this story line, the sparks are already flying between the two, and as history records, supposedly, Catherine and Henry were happy for many years. Of course, the son he wanted never arrived and eventually his eyes wandered after twenty years of marriage to Anne Boleyn.
I thought it interesting in the second episode that they allude the marriage was consummated between Arthur and Catherine, when in fact she denies it after Arthur’s death. In a sense, they leave the audience hanging. For some reason, I thought they would stay true to her claims, but now it really opens up the question whether she did lie in order to marry Henry and save her marriage. We will never know. Somewhere I read that Arthur boasted after the wedding night that “last night I was in Spain,” which was quoted in episode two.
Die-hard historical lovers will bewail this series, and they have already done so. Complaints from the wrong ages to terrible accents have filled social media. Also, don’t get the fashion experts started, or you’ll be drawn into debates about the clothing and hairstyles. Nevertheless, I say, let Starz and Phillipa Gregory have their creative liberties to tweak history. The story is interesting, and frankly, I haven’t thought much about what Catherine went through to come from a foreign land and marry Arthur. It’s a good perspective on what she endured and the challenges she faced.
Women of this time period were pawns in the game of thrones being married and carted off to kingdoms to form alliances. They had no choice, but destinies to fulfill whether they liked them or not. I can watch this series with interest based on the fact it makes me think about her mark on history. For me, that’s good enough.
I had high hopes seeing this movie about the famous author but came away somewhat disappointed in the outcome. It has its good parts, drawn out boring parts, undeniable heartfelt parts, but also horrific parts. It focuses on the young life of Tolkien from boyhood to young adult, ending with the time he wrote Hobbit.
The movie, I think, makes the mistake of too many flashbacks from the present to past, leaving you dizzy in the changes. It begins with Tolkien in the trenches suffering from trench fever, desperately attempting to find a friend (one of the three he has a “fellowship” with from boyhood) serving during WWI. What he sees around him are the hallucinations of his mind, that often correspond to his future stories – fire breathing dragons, death riding a horse, spirits of black whirling over the dead carnage. The scenes from the trenches are horrific to say the least, with pools of blood and dead young men strewn across the battlefield. If the director wanted to make the point of the horrors of WWI, he did so to the point I moaned at many of the scenes.
After his mother’s untimely death, his priest arranges for him and his brother to be fostered by an elderly lady. He is sent to school but at first has trouble making friends. Eventually, he becomes part of a group of boys, who grow into manhood, that consist of three other creative minds – writer, artist, composer. They form a bonded fellowship, out to change the world. There are many scenes of his boyhood and young adult life to university with his friends.
The movie ends years after the war and the aftermath it had on the four men. Not all return home. Tolkien is married to his childhood sweetheart, now with children, and mulling over fantasy stories in his head, beginning to write his famous works.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the movie, although it was interesting to see the beginning life of a literary genius. Nicolas Hoult did a fine job portraying Tolkien (that’s pronounced Tol-keen) by the way. If you admire his books and stories, you’ll enjoy the movie nevertheless.
Acorn TV has added a new English detective series entitled Queens of Mystery. It’s a quirky series that takes a bit of getting used to, but if you’re into dead bodies and murder in small English towns this is right up your alley.
Like Midsomer Murders, the local population is dropping like flies. Only this time, it’s not the priest of Father Brown, the handsome vicar in Grantchester, or high-heeled Agatha Raisin solving the cases. Meet three-crime writing authors and their niece, a regular detective out to solve the crimes.
The first two episodes revolved around the murder of a crime writer, at a crime writer’s contest convention. The third and fourth episodes focus on the reunion of a band, and the murders of its members. I could swear this storyline happened to be one like it in the twenty seasons of Midsomer Murders, although a bit different to fit this new mystery.
The aunts, Beth, Cat, and Jane, are all crime solvers because they are all best-selling authors writing murder mysteries of their own. They seem to also be connected to these recent murders in one way or the other. They are great sleuths and cannot pass up the opportunity to investigate. Maltida Stone is the young detective assigned to her hometown of Wildemarsh, England (another fictitious location). The young Matilda has an unsolved mystery of her own regarding the identity of her father, which question continues to pop up in the series.
What makes this series different is that it’s narrated, which can be confusing at first. Juliet Stevenson, who narrates the tale while you are watching, adds little tidbits about the past or what the characters are really thinking during the moment. At times it can be entertaining, but at other moments, a bit distracting. However, it’s what makes the new series unique. You may remember Juliet playing the wife of Mr. Elton in the 1996 version of Emma.
So if you love people being stabbed, poisoned, strangled in an English setting, this series is for you. It’s a good filler while Midsomer Murders is filming their next season. The series introduction is quite unique, as well, and kudos to whoever thought that intro up.