Category: 1900’s Era

An Inspector Calls (BBC 2015)

Inspector5 Kernels

Now streaming on Amazon is “An Inspector Calls,” which is probably the most profound and emotional story I’ve seen in my life.  Frankly, I never heard of it before.  Written by J. B. Priestley, it was apparently a play first performed in Moscow in 1945 and then in the UK in 1946 and has been on stage multiple times. I guess according to Wikipedia, it’s hailed as a classic. Apparently, it’s been in film and television also throughout the years.

The story is set in 1912 and revolves around a rich cotton mill owner Mr. Birling.  They are at home at dinner with his wife, son, daughter, and her fiance.  After dinner, a gentleman arrives at the door and introduces himself as Inspector Goole from the police.  He is led into the dining room where Mr. Birling and his son and Mr. Croft are talking, while the ladies are in the parlor.

It begins with him asking Mr. Birley if he recognizes a woman in a picture that he shows him, and he denies knowing her.  When pressured why the questions, he states that she has committed suicide and he’s investigating the circumstances that lead up to her death.  Naturally, Mr. Birley asks what does this have to do with us? Eventually, he confesses that she did work at his factory and the story begins.

Well, I cannot tell you the rest because it would ruin it for you.  I think I gasped a few times, got overly emotional, felt my own shame at the end, and sat there dumbfounded after the show ended.  So what’s it all about?  Here’s a short quote that might give you a hint:

We don’t live alone upon this earth. We are responsible for each other.  And if mankind will not learn that lesson then the time will come when he will be taught it in fire and blood and anguish.

You’ll discover, too, that Inspector Goole isn’t everything he appears to be.

I highly recommend it because he stabs the audience at the core. It’s also intertwined with the classes of society, how we deal with each other, and the outcome of our actions that can affect others.

It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime for free.

Sunset Song (Movie 2015)

sunset-song2 Kernels

Usually, I don’t write scathing reviews.  I’m pretty nice for the most part.  However, this movie really left me depressed and unsatisfied.  It is a dark story with no happy ending of rural life in Scotland pre-WWI.  It’s been highly rated by critics, including Roger Ebert’s Website, but since they don’t pay me the big bucks to write reviews, I’ll let my peanut-gallery two cents proceed with my ranting.

Apparently, this movie is an adaptation of a novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbons.  The story revolves around a daughter of a Scottish farmer.  Hailed as an “epic rights of passage” for a young farm girl, Chris Guthrie, it’s frankly a depressing journey, to say the least.  As a young girl with her older brother, they live in an abusive household with their father who is a tyrant and jerk.  He beats the elder son and has no mercy for constantly impregnating his wife. (Of course, I get it, no birth control back then.)

Her mother gives birth to twins, when she already has four children, and then becomes pregnant again.  After falling into depression, she poisons herself and the two babies.  Eventually, the son leaves home, and Chris is left to take care of the household putting her dreams of being a teacher aside.  When her father has a stroke, her life is further burdened with his care until he finally dies.

She inherits the family farm, meets a young man, gets married, has a baby, and he is called off to serve in the Great War.  The movie is a continual spiral downward regarding her life, husband, and eventual widowhood.

This story is not a rite of passage with anything uplifting whatsoever.  It’s a dark and depressing look into the life of one family that leaves very little at the end for its viewers.  Clearly, suffering is understandable in life.  Written into a story it should at least have some purpose for its characters that leave the audience in a decent mood.  However, this film has no redeeming purpose in the end.

Instead of floating my remote, it sank.

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