Posts tagged “Marriage

Breaking the Waves / God for a Day


Breaking the Waves  -  Front DVD Cover  -  UK ReleaseIn the early 1970s a naïve young girl, Bess (Emily Watson – 1996 Academy Award Nominee – Best Actress), living in a small community on the north-west coast of Scotland, falls in love with oil-rig worker and man-of-the-world Jan.  Despite local opposition they marry and live out a brief but intense love life.  Jan returns to the rig, whilst Bess counts the days to his homecoming sure that their love is made in heaven.  When an accident renders Jan paralysed he is worried that Bess will cut herself off from a normal life. Realising that he will be bedridden, he convinces her that she will aid his recovery by taking a lover and relating to him their sexual acts.  “Breaking the Waves” with its electronic seventies soundtrack (featuring Deep Purple, T-Rex and Elton John) is a truly astonishing film, adored by critics and audiences alike.

1996  –  Certificate: 18  –  Danish Film
Rating Details:  Language: occasional, strong.  Sex/Nudity: occasional, strong. Violence: once, moderate. Other: drama, religion, marriage.
8.5 out of 10

I had a good day today.  To start with I woke up bright and early and reasonably ‘with it’ from the get go.  Then I walked into work and did a load of stuff that needed me to actually give it some thought; (complicated grown-up things, you know what I mean).  Sometimes I go to work and I wonder whether I’ve tarnished my god-like status in any way, especially when I find myself cutting the stamps off envelopes to (ironically) give to charity, straightening the leaflets in their dispensers for the sake of it, or laminating things just because it’s fun to laminate.  (And yes, I really did do all these things today too.)  However, any doubts as to my usefulness were swept away by my fundraising prowess, as I got a letter telling me I’d manage to get a grant of £8,891 from the Big Lottery Fund.  Like a lion hunting prey to feed its hungry family, (or perhaps more appropriately a scruffy yappy dog with a bone it won’t give up), I didn’t allow myself to be put off by my two previous attempt to get money for the same project from the same funder.  This was third time lucky.  Like Captain Kirk, I don’t believe in the No Win Scenario; however I do believe in flogging a dead horse, however unvegan that might appear.  The people of Eastleigh, Hampshire, will soon be worshiping my very footsteps, as the money transports them to a whole new plain of existence, enabling them to finally escape the trauma of Chris Hume tying to get himself a presenter’s job on “Top Gear”.  I wonder where they’ll erect my statue?  In complete contrast, this film is crushingly depressing.

Over two and a half hours long, this is a drama about love, belief and God. “Dude, Where’s My Car?” it isn’t.  A nihilistic nightmare, it features the slow destruction of a young woman (who appears to have some sort of undisclosed mental illness), trapped between her love for her husband and her love for God.  Set in the Highlands of Scotland, one of the most beautiful places in the world, it manages though a combination of miserable weather, a washed-out, grainy picture and an overbearingly dismal atmosphere, to make it feel like the bleakest place on Earth; even the happier scenes feel like they’re caught in a membrane of gloom.  Emily Watson puts in a stunning performance as Bess.  It’s well worth watching the whole film for her performance alone, before you go off and slash your wrists. Talking of the ending, it’s somewhat bizarre.  A great film and essential viewing.

Set in the first half of the 70s, this film includes some curiously long chapter interludes that feature music from the period.  It tries hard to pick some good stuff out, but it can’t hide the fact that pop music at the time was pretty dire.  However, when inserted into this film, it really does help to set the scene and drag you down to its level.

Recommended for religious zealots, Scots, God, doctors, nurses and people who work on oil and gas rigs.

No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.

Top badass moment?  At Bess’s wedding reception, a somewhat drunk Terry (one of ‘the lads’) crushes an empty beer can.  Not to be outdone, her grandfather squeezes and breaks a glass in his hand, cutting himself.  Considering this is a deeply religious guy who appeared to live in the last century, not have a sense of humour and was lukewarm at best with respect to the wedding, this did seem rather bizarre thing to do.  Why?  I’ve no idea if it was a joke, a threat, or what?  However, confounding people’s expectations is badass.

Breaking the Waves at IMDB (7.8 / 10)

Breaking the Waves at Wikipedia

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Yentl: 3.5 Stars


Yentl  -  Front DVD CoverEach summer in the UK an ever-increasing number of music festivals seem to be organised.  Every year we hold Wimbledon on almost all open courts.  We insist on trying to have barbeques.  We invented a sport, cricket, which relies on almost totally dry conditions for it to take place.  And this year we have the Olympics too.  Why is anyone the least bit surprised that the weather is being especially wet at present?  (June was the wettest on record and half the country seems to be under threat of being flooded as I write this.)  We should be proud that the British weather has raised it game to give us the sort of summer that befits the Olympics.  Floods, lack of sunshine, torrential rain. I’m just worried that by the time the Olympics start, we’ll find that the weather has ‘gone too early’ (like a 1,500m runner starting his ‘run for home’ at the wrong time) and it might end up being a bit nicer next month.  I want all the millions of visitors that are coming to the UK to enjoy the full range of experiences our special weather can offer them.  We don’t need the drama of hurricanes, tornadoes or years of drought, our naturally understated thunderstorms, grey, drizzly weekends and ‘unseasonally cool for the time of year’ days is what they’re really coming for; I don’t want anyone to go home disappointed.  Yeh!  Yeh!  Jet Stream go!  You rule!  The idea that we might actually get what we technically refer to as ‘nice weather’ anytime soon, is frankly absurd; a little like this film really.

1983 – Certificate: PG – USA

This ‘historical’ drama would be so easy to ridicule and quite frankly it deserves to be.  For a start, it has a pretty ludicrous plot.  It conveniently ‘ignores’ loads of issues that would have made things a whole lot harder than they actually appear to be, (money anyone)?  It majors on continually reinforcing the notion that men and women have to stick to a strict code of social behaviours and expectations (that would give even a Thomas Hardy novel a run for its money); but then when they’re ignored it doesn’t seem to produce any consequences.  It has a 40-year-old woman trying to play the part of a young woman passing herself off as a teenage boy, (her ‘disguise’ is even less convincing than Batman’s), who frequently bursts into song; (yes, it’s a musical too).  After about 20 minutes I was ready to give up watching it.  I was asking myself, why on earth had I bought this film?  I don’t really like ‘period pieces’; (grown-up’s translation = historical dramas).  I don’t especially enjoy musicals either.  But then something really weird happened; it actually got, well, interesting.  As soon as it started up with the pseudo-cross-dressing-gay-lesbian stuff, things improved loads!  Well okay it’s a PG film, so don’t expect anything very explicit, but for a movie that’s basically ridiculous on nearly every level, it actually manages to feel quite realistic and touching.  It also builds a decent amount of tension around the idea that her true identify as a woman might be discovered at any moment; I was sitting there getting agitated thinking, when are one of these stupid people going to realise she’s actually a woman; it’s like so totally obvious)?  I have to say that Babs (that’s what Barbra Streisand’s fans seem to call her) does look rather fetching in it too.  So yes, in the end I did quite enjoy it and consequently have to now file it away under lock and key as a guilty pleasure.

Recommended for Avril Lavigne fans who want a new kind of idol.

No cats and no decapitations.

Top badass moment?  Barbra Streisand’s character Yentl/Anshel sticking it to ‘The Man’.  At a time and place when women weren’t allowed to go to school but basically had to just hang around at home making dinner and babies, Babs most defiantly gives the finger to all and sundry.  That’s badass!

Yentl at IMDB (6.2)


The Last of the Crazy People: 3.0 Stars


The Last of the Crazy People  -  Front DVD CoverI went to the dentist yesterday.  The good news was that I didn’t need any treatment.  The bad news was that I need to have a wisdom tooth removed.  Having spoken to three people about this since, all of whom it turned out have had more than one of these teeth removed, I now realise that having my head amputated would be somewhat less painful and traumatic.  When a dentist has a look and goes “oooooh”, then you know her next line isn’t going to be good news.  My dentist’s helpful suggestion was that I should see one of her colleagues, as he’s better at extractions; and stronger.  I wouldn’t mind, but it’s not hurting me or bothering me in the least.  Who named them wisdom teeth anyway?  They’re clearly very stupid teeth!  Probably my earliest childhood memory is of having a tooth taken out at the dentist, screaming my head off in pain and my mum coming in and giving the dentist a piece of her mind; I recall she had him pinned up against the wall, which was very out of character for her!  To say having the opportunity to revisit this experience now I’m a grown-up is not top of my plans this summer, would be an understatement of galactic proportions.  I’m seriously considering giving up food entirely and just living on tepid, filtered, distilled water.  I’m sure I can probably do it myself anyway, with a pair of pliers or something.  I’m struggling to identify what the connection might be between this film and my impending operation, but I felt I needed to share the latter.

2006  –  Certificate: 15  –  France
Rating Details:  Moderate Violence, Suicide Scene, Brief Nudity and Strong Language

The Last of the Crazy People is a French film, in French.  After quite a long run of other sorts of films, it was good to get back to one of my favourite sub-genera, the dysfunctional family.  In this case it lives on a farm in France, not that there’re actually any scenes of farming going on in it.  I’m not sure what to make of it really.  It’s very slow, it has no music in it whatsoever and there are quite long periods when not a lot seems to be happening.  The main character in it is a ten-year-old boy called Martin, who’s basically neglected and ignored by most of the other people in the film who are too busy with their own problems; most of what’s going on is seen from his prospective.  I feel watching it probably ought to have had more of an effect on me than it did, but somehow I didn’t really feel very sorry for any of the characters and the more shocking scenes felt a bit flat. (I probably watch too many Hollywood blockbusters with lots of noise and explosions in them to help me to understand what’s going on.)  The boy who plays the part of Martin, does manage to look suitably miserable for virtually the entire film and is really very convincing, which helps the quality of the movie greatly.  He also walks exactly like Bod.  (If you don’t know who Bod is I suggest you type “Bod” in to YouTube.)  A few years ago I went through a phase of trying to write film reviews on the Amazon web site, which included writing one about this movie.  I eventually realised that my irrelevant and childish ramblings didn’t fit well with the average, serious Amazon DVD buying person; my review for this one is presently being found “helpful” by 7 out of 14 people; or to put it another way, it’s being found unhelpful by 7 out of 14 people.

Recommended for pissed off ten-year-olds everywhere.  Not so good for people interested in studying modern developments in agricultural land management in France.

1 cat and no decapitations.  The cat, a big ginger and white one, had a speaking part and appeared in five scenes!  Sadly it’s last one involved it being run over and then put into a freezer.  It did look suspiciously like it had been drugged for this last one too, which didn’t impress me one bit.

Top badass moment? Any ten-year-old who singlehandedly takes on responsibility for sorting out his family’s problems, is badass personified.  So okay, his solution was a little unorthodox, but it probably worked.

The Last of the Crazy People on IMDB