And the Nominees Are 2016: Round 5

School and work both started up this week, so it wasn’t quite the movie marathon I had been doing so far, but I did see some great stuff this week. (Particularly Mustang, just in case you don’t have time to read this whole post I wanted to make sure you know that movie is amazing.)

Grace of Monaco

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Did Lifetime recently get bought out? How are they affording a movie with a cast this good? Not just Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly, but Tim Roth? Frank Langella? I know they didn’t finance it, but how could they afford it?

Anyway, the movie is pretty standard biopic fare, which means its excellent on the scale of Lifetime Movies, but not really anything to write home about. Kidman and Roth are capable and charming as the royal couple. The clothes are gorgeous, but the script is a mess. Love isn’t subjugation, Grace Kelly – debutante and Oscar winning actress – didn’t need a nobleman to teach her how to express emotion on her face.

In the end, my biggest takeaway was that monarchy is strange, and it’s hard to feel sorry for a Princess (especially one who chose it.)

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This. Movie. Is. Everything.

Sorry, that’s hyperbole, but this is a poetic little masterpiece about growing up a girl in a patriarchal world. The director, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, masterfully shows us the bond between the 5 sisters out the beginning of the movie, the intimacy and ease with each other and the world around them and then bit by bit strips that away (through the vehicle of the conservative asshole uncle – played by Ayberk Pekcan). So you see the various ways women and even young girls are constrained by the fear that they may be beings with agency. I almost wrote sexual beings, because everything here is filtered through a rigidly traditionalist view of sexuality, but that fear is rooted in the idea that if women can have desire then there is a part of them you can’t control. No matter how many (literal) bars you put on the windows. I wish I could be more articulate about this, I wish it were showing more place. It’s breathtaking and depressing and exhilarating all at once. More like this please.

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What Happened, Miss Simone? 

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So, I haven’t seen Amy yet, but this (like that is said to do) had me thinking a lot about how success and fame puts such burdens on people. And if there’s any propensity to instability then I think that pressure will push you over the edge. At least, that’s certainly what seems to have happened to Miss Simone, which is so sad because her talent was other wordly and the early performance footage included here that had me dancing around my kitchen.

And she had a grit and power that she used so well in her activism. So it was just heartbreaking to watch her unable to cope with her, long undiagnosed, mental illness (and abusive husband) and crumple a bit.
I’m rambling. The doc is really great, uses archival footage brilliantly and includes her daughter and friends to honor its subject without making a hagiography. Well worth a watch.

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