Recommendations

Six things I loved in June

July 18, 2016

I Smile Back

There aren’t enough stories about addiction that have unhappy endings. There aren’t enough stories about women who leave their families, just walk out the door, and have that maybe be the better thing. There aren’t enough stories that dare to ask that question.

Sarah Silverman gives a flawlessly vulnerable performance as a wife and mother trapped in a life she doesn’t want, pressing the ‘self destruct’ button, messing up, trying to do her best, trying to find her way out. Her behaviour is cyclical and sometimes self-defeating but always understandable. This film has stuck with me.

Venus and Serena 

There isn’t a sports star on the planet to rival the Williams sister. This is a fascinating portrayal of what that kind of dominance takes and what it costs. Also – great theme song.

Everything is copy

Like every other woman writer under the age of 30, Nora Ephron’s work resonated with me. This documentary, made by her son Jacob, examines her life and questions her central tenet: that everything is copy. Turns out the reality is much more complicated than that. Essential viewing for writers.

Rage

Another favourite thing in June? Rage, specifically women’s rage. At what we’re boxed into, at what we’re asked to do/be/have, at what we demand of each other. Where is our rage and how can we get it out?

Rest

Rage, must be accompanied by rest. I am not someone who rests easily, though I have had to learn/am trying to learn. David Whyte’s thoughts have been helpful:

“Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is not stasis but the essence of giving and receiving. Rest is an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually, but also physiologically and physically. To rest is to become present in a different way than through action, and especially to give up on the will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we put it right; to rest is to fall back, literally or figuratively from outer targets, not even to a sense of inner accomplishment or an imagined state of attained stillness, but to a different kind of meeting place, a living, breathing state of natural exchange”

The Catch

Shonda Rhimes is a master. Her latest show is a playful, sexy game of cat and mouse in which a private investigator (strong alpha female) is conned by her handsome, too-good-to-be-true fiance. It stays true to that classic TV law: if you see the bride in the dress before the wedding, the wedding ain’t gonna happen. It’s typical Shondaland storytelling by numbers: zippy dialogue, a newb who needs to learn how things work, a twist in act one, absurd plot swerves, love triangles, flashbacks.  Each show has a distinctive visual style. The Catch is all split screens, flashbacks, shutter effects and a pop-tastic soundtrack (and sultry jazz for the eh, sultry bits). It has the texture of hip hop and coolness, of flashy wealth and double crossed lovers. Seeing this scaffolding doesn’t make the show any less enjoyable. It’s glossy, escapist romantic melodrama and I ate it up with a spoon.

P.S. You can find lots more recommendations over here.

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