I will start this post with a couple of warnings:
1) This post contains a lot of spoilers
2) I will probably use plenty of dramatic descriptions and euphoric exclamations, because I tend to get overexcited when I’ve just seen a great, great film. So please forgive me my !!!s, OMGs and f***s.
3) This post will contain some rather obvious feminist remarks.
4) Since this post is primarily about film, the sushi-interval will seem a bit random, pointless and uncalled for. It is. But OMG it was just so f***ing delicious I simply had to share it with y’all !!!
Fairytales and Feminism
I went to see Maleficent a couple of days ago. Why? So nice of you to ask!
Well, first of all, I love Angelina Jolie.
Secondly, I love fairytales. I love everything about them. The magic. The splendid castles. The talking animals. The brainless knight-in-shining-armour. The very unrealistic love-at-first-sight bullshit.
I love it. No, I adore it.
So given my love for Angie and fairytales, it seems rather straightforward that I absolutely, freakishly loved this movie as well. Maleficent was amazing! Even with horns on her head Angelina is the most beautiful woman on the planet. Maleficent’s tender and vulnerable heart made me coo, her cold fury made my cheer and her spot-on remarks were often hilarious. Moreover, the special effects –the fairyland! The dragon! The stupid three fairies!(one of them was Harry Potter’s Professor Umbridge!)- it was everything I wanted and more.
[START FEMINIST RANT: skip this paragraph if you’re not in the mood]
However, the only problem I have with fairytales is that they are so f***ing sexist. Seriously. All Disney movies are. Watch them. You’ll agree with me. And yet – as a hardcore feminist- I still watch them. Over and over again. Because sexist bullshit aside, they are f***ing fantastic! So in order to soothe my feminist conscience, I always put my critical and realistic side on hold. It’s for the best. For both my feminist heart and Disney.
However, Maleficent does have some progressive twists on the original sexist story. [SPOILERALERT] Instead of a true love’s kiss between Aurora and the Prince (who –by the way- has an awfully buffoonish haircut), it a lovable kiss of Maleficent that wakes her up! Moreover, Maleficent is not just a flat, one-dimensional villain, but a flawed magical creature full of emotions.
But (and there is a big but) it still remains a fairytale. Apparently, women turn into evil, jealous bitches when they are abandoned by their lover. Apparently, a broken heart can only be healed with motherhood.
But the most traumatic scene by far was this one: Stefan hands Maleficent a drink. She sips, falls asleep and he F***ING CUTS OFF HER WINGS!!! When Maleficent wakes up and realizes her beautiful wings were stolen from her, she is inconsolable.
Just think about that scene for a moment, dear readers.
Yeah, that’s right! Stefan basically roofied her and violently took her “most precious possession” while she was unconscious.
All the more proof that Disney’s feminist barometer needs to be reset.
[END FEMINIST RANT: you can breathe easy now]
Having said that, Maleficent is still a wonderful movie. Entertainment, fairies, castles and plenty of close-ups of Angelina’s incredibly perfect teeth. What more could you possibly wish for?
Sucker for Sushi
Okay, so now on to some sushi. I’m always amazed how much flavour these tiny (or not so tiny) rolls can have and this plate of delight was just the flavour explosion I was looking for! I find it an immensely luxurious experience to dip a morsel in some soy sauce, add a touch of wasabi and then to swallow it up like a happy penguin. It’s a true OMG feeling. As in:
OMG, this is delicious.
OMG, too much wasabi.
OMG, my mouth is too small.
Anyway, you get my point. This plate was pure heaven and gave me the right amount of energy to prepare myself for the eye bawling that was yet to follow…
The Normal Heart: Sponsored by Kleenex
As some of you may know, last Sunday the HBO movie The Normal Heart was aired on television. It was something I had been looking forward to for quite some time, simply because the ensemble cast is a group of Hollywood’s crème de la crème. Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, Alfred Molina,… the list goes on and on! (Be still, my star-struck beating heart!)
So with moderately high expectations I poured myself a cup of coffee, sat down and took it all in…This movie surpassed all my expectations. Even though sitting still for 2 hours and 15 minutes is usually not my forte, I was simply too captivated to move. The Normal Heart is anything but carefree entertainment. Whereas with Maleficent I could just put my brain on hold, switch off all emotions and take it all in, I wish I could have had an off-button with this one. The Normal Heart is so raw with emotions, so gritty in its depiction of human suffering, so agonizingly beautiful, I often cried like a little baby. And then I laughed, got frustrated, angry, and then I cried some more. This is not a film for the faint hearted, but having said that, you simply have to see it, because it is pure gold!
The film is based on the 80s play The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer and tells the story about Ned Weeks, who does anything in his power to sound the alarm over the outbreak of so-called “gay cancer”. What follows is a depiction of the dawning horrors of AIDS, the unwillingness within government to do something about it and the almost desperate cry for more activism. It is also a love story and a story about friendship, death and homophobia. The film raises so many social, political and moral issues it is sometimes uncomfortable to watch. And yet, you keep watching, because this story is just too important not to be told.
[the following paragraph is filled with spoilers, so y’all be warned!]
With a star cast like this, it is hardly surprising that the acting is truly award-season material. Mark Ruffalo’s performance as Ned is spot on, for he manages to balance the anger, fear, love and militancy in a character overflowing with complex dilemmas and emotions.
Jim Parsons, to my surprise, was astonishing in his role as “Southern bitch” Tommy. Although it was difficult at first not to see him as Sheldon Cooper – I kept expecting him to shout Bazinga at some point or other- his nuanced depiction of Tommy as the vulnerable yet optimistic young man clearly demonstrated that Jim Parsons is more than just a TV nerd. In one scene, Parsons delivers a eulogy that could even make the most heartless person shiver. His heartbreaking “they just don’t like us” was dripping in so much bitterness and sadness, it almost felt as if I was one of the attendees in the church there with him. *takes a tissue*
The film is full of tissue moments like these. One sequence depicted how an AIDS victim, a couple of hours after he died, was ruthlessly SHOVED INTO A F***ING GARBAGE BAG and put into the hospital alley. *takes another tissue*
And then there was Matt Bomer’s performance. Before I saw this movie, I already was a huge Bomer-fan… Because he is drop dead, gorgeously hot. I never really thought about him as a marvelous actor, but more as an okay actor with a marvelous body. His good looks were simply too distracting for me to be able to pay much attention to his acting skills. BUT SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS, Matt Bomer’s performance as Felix is truly the role of his life. In the beginning it started of really familiar: Bomer in all his sexy naked glory. But then his character got AIDS and the physical transformation on screen is absolutely painful to watch. *takes another tissue* Not to mention that one scene in which Ned helps Felix shower. I thought I was going to choke in my Kleenex.
As you can see, the Normal Heart is not something you should watch when you’re already feeling a bit depressed. It is indeed a dense piece of raw emotions, furious arguments, violent accusations and much more. In the end your box of Kleenex will be empty and your heart will be full, but watching it is not a gentle suggestion, it’s a must!