Why You Need To See The New Mary Shelley Movie Now
As a writer and a teacher, the movie Mary Shelley caught my attention from the second I saw the trailer. I always love a good backstory to the great writers of history, especially when they are strong females. I also have always had a soft spot for the classic of Frankenstein and was intrigued to learn more about the woman who wrote the story.
The movie (2017) features Elle Fanning as Mary and also has an appearance by Game of Thrones Favorite, Maisie Williams. This PG-13 movie is two hours in length and has stellar acting as well as beautiful film techniques. It really humanized the woman behind the famous tale and showed the struggles she faced as a woman writing in her time period.
I loved seeing the story of young Mary and learning about what influenced her to become the writer she was. I was shocked by the scandal in her love life (she was in a very open relationship with Percy Shelley, who was married at the time she started an affair with him). I found the movie interesting, though, because it really showed how revolutionary Mary was and how empowering she was of herself. She ignored social conventions of the time, choosing to seek her own version of happiness. It's no surprise, thus, that her writing would be so revolutionary.
I did feel that the movie focused a lot more on her sexual relations that on her writing, which was a disappointment. I understand they wanted to expose this scandalous aspect of who she was, but I wanted to see more of her writing.
The story of how she came to write Frankenstein, however, didn't disappoint. I had known that many people of her time assumed she didn't write it and that her husband, the poet, did. I was content with the ending, however, and the fact that she found her own version of happiness.
Many writers who become famous endure a lot of struggle and pain to get to the point they are. Mary Shelley is no exception. It was inspiring as a writer to see her struggles and to realize that sometimes the pains in our lives help us become the writers we are meant to be. It was also inspiring to see a woman rise up and rise against social conventions of the time period. It was empowering as a woman to see her challenge the gender roles and conventions of the time period and really showed that there is no excuse for modern women to do the same when necessary. If Mary Shelley could rise up during her time period, so can we.
All in all, I give the movie a 4 out of 5 star rating. It was engaging, the acting was spot-on, and the storyline was interesting. I do wish there had been more focus on her career instead of on her sexuality, but all in all, it was an eye-opening look at the woman who created the famous tale.
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The Greatest Showman Underscores Dreams and Imagination
In a world drowning in depressing news and crushed dreams, I think we all need a little bit of The Greatest Showman.
Starring the amazing Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, this musical follows the story of Barnum’s rise from rags to riches. However, it offers so much more than a one-time hope for gaining wealth. At the end of it, it’s about family and priorities. It’s about love and what matters most.
Clearly, in recent months, there has been some backlash against the movie, claiming it fantasizes too much and makes Barnum into a hero. Admittedly, if you do some research on P.T. Barnum, he was more of a businessman than a family man and advocate. There are certainly some not-so-rosy moments in his past, which the move doesn’t address. You can find out more about what is real in the movie and what isn’t here.
However, if you are willing to understand the movie is based on P.T. Barnum and that it takes creative liberties, there is something inspiring to be found within the couple of hours of singing and dancing.
Let me say I’m not usually a musical kind of person. Sometimes I find it annoying when every characters breaks into song in every scene. I often find the music pretentiously cheesy and not quite something I’d want to pop into the stereo system in my car. The Greatest Showman is different. The music isn’t overdone--songs appear in the movie at exactly the right moment to be musical enough but not over the top. Furthermore, the music is amazing. I’ve been literally humming the songs all week long. The lyrics are beautiful and catchy. I actually bought the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman because movie or not, they’re songs I would listen to regardless.
The storyline itself is also inspiring. The rags to riches trope has been done before, but in this sense, the movie goes a step farther. What happens when you reach the riches from the rags? How does this impact your psyche, your relationships? Like the one song in the movie, “Never Enough,” how do you know when it’s time to sit back and enjoy what you’ve created? This is something Barnum struggles with in the movie, to his peril. It’s something I think so many of us struggle with in a world that values more, more, more. I loved that reminder.
Visually, the movie is stunning. Just stunning. The colors, the dancing, the choreography--it’s simply a pretty movie to watch. Every shot, every camera angle is masterfully done to make the most out of every single moment. There isn’t a single scene in the movie that is boring to look at, which I appreciated it. Thinking about the time that went into the behind-the scenes, which is recognized with an opening by the director and Jackman at the beginning, adds another layer to this movie masterpiece.
The acting was also a five out of five star job. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Zac Efron; the crush has been reignited. I loved his portrayal of his character, a wealthy man who gives it all up for Barnum’s crazy vision, only to find something even more important: love. The scene with the song “Rewrite the Stars” is by far the most poignant of the film, and a large part of this is because of Efron’s charm and charisma. Jackman also delivers a stellar performance, playing the sometimes selfish and always charming Barnum. His relationships with the other characters in the movie came through vividly. Even though he makes many mistakes in the movie, he has redeeming qualities that allow audiences to fall in love with the character.
There are certainly flaws in the fact this movie perhaps portrays Barnum as a hero when he did things that were not heroic or admirable in real life. However, at the end of the day, the musical wasn’t intended to be a day-by-day biographical account of the man. It was meant to take the culture of the time period and the origins of the circus and bring it to life. It was meant to inspire us to chase our dreams and to find happiness at all costs, no matter who we are.
Most of all, whether Barnum intended to or not, he reminds us all that everyone has a place on the stage and that we have the choice to make that stage for ourselves if the world won’t give it to us. He reminds us that no matter where you come from, you can find your place to shine. You can bring those wildest dreams to life.
So 100% true or not, I think this film underscores a human truth many of us have forgotten and need to hear again.
Have you seen The Greatest Showman? What did you think? Find out more information on their Facebook or go see it today.
Beauty and the Beast 2017 Review
As a child, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie. I loved Beauty's gorgeous, princess-like dresses. I loved the talking candlestick and Chip. I loved the magic of the "Be Our Guest" Scene. I loved the final scene, when a kiss turned the Beast into a Prince.
Perhaps Beauty and the Beast set me up to be both a hopeless romantic and a romance writer.
When I found out the movie was being redone as a live-action movie and Emma Watson would be playing Beauty, I squealed like the five-year-old I still act like. I've been counting down the days until release since I first saw the trailer. Quite simply, I was entranced before even entering the theater.
The movie did not disappoint. Emma Watson played her part beautifully. From her acting to her voice, she did Belle justice. The dresses were just as gorgeous as I could hope. Plus, she captured the defiant yet caring sides of Belle and really enhanced the role.
The Beast was more frightening in appearance than the one from my childhood, but it also worked well. The personalities of all of the other characters were maintained. I love that they came to life, although I do think Lumiere was cuter as a cartoon than in this movie.
My favorite scene was the "Be Our Guest" song, which literally gave me chills. It was my favorite as a child, so to see it in 3-D was magical. To think about what my five-year-old self would have thought of this scene literally coming to life is a beautiful thought. It was stunning and fun, just like I'd always imagined it to be.
The "Tale as Old as Time" scene was also breathtaking. The dance scene was gorgeous, and I couldn't take my eyes away.
My only complaint is I wish the movie could have been longer. I would have loved to see extra scenes between Beauty and the Beast to build their love story. However, this movie did a great job at sticking to the original while adding some extra information about both characters' backgrounds. I adored this movie and cannot wait to buy it. If you liked the original, you should definitely see this one.
5 out of 5 stars.
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