First of all, let me just say this: I apologize for disappearing during the last week, but evidently the process of finalizing my fall schedule is proving more time-consuming than, eventually, doing that daily schedule will be. Not in terms of my courses; those are all set. But as to where I’m working, paying rent, and many other things? Well, we’re in for an adventurous few months. Join us! It will be SO FUN!
Right, so in the meantime I’ve been relaxing in part by working on Ye Olde Netflix Queue. Here are my thoughts on some of the more interesting, charming, entertaining, and worthwhile movies I’ve seen recently.
So, “The Duchess” is another period piece starring Kiera Knightley and Ralph Fiennes, basically demonstrating for us why passing the Married Woman’s Property Act in 1882 may well have been one of the single best pieces of legislation ever adopted in the UK (or its American counterpart, passed first in New York State in 1848.) I couldn’t help but watch through Professional Feminist eyes, as this really could play as its own little class: “Coverture 101”. Coverture: the doctrine wherein married women (or, feme covert) lost any and all legal rights to own property upon marrying. This meant you couldn’t take anything with you if you tried to divorce (money, a residence). There are all sorts of other nasty tidbits involving child custody and marital rape being perfectly legal, but really? Just watch this movie and raise a glass to 19th century feminists, hmm? I’ll admit: I was intrigued at the relationship between The Duchess and Lady Bess. Otherwise? Depressing. Very, very sad. Maybe that was just me.
Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette is a pretty, pretty film, and wants you to think so. It is similarly dark in terms of aristocrats/royals’ obsession with producing male heirs and the thus incredibly forced and proprietary notion of marital sex Back in the Day. Overall, considering the subject matter and somewhat loose adherence to historical fact, I was surprised to feel new found sympathy for Marie. Granted, this movie hits you on that front in the first ten minutes when they take away HER DOG as a part of the handoff to her fiance. Bonus: Marianne Faithfull and Rip Torn. Super Bonus: one of my all-time favorites, Judy Davis, shows up at court. Your IQ always goes up just watching her. Awesome.
Our Very Own is one of these Little Indies That Could featuring Allison Janney and a lovely, talented cast of teens presenting a coming-of-age tale set in 1978 small-town Tennessee. It is poignant, charming, and took an interesting turn in its portrayal of parental alcoholism by showing the emotional and financial effects of addiction. Keith Carradine’s character might be a stumbling drunk, but it is clear that he still loves his wife and son deeply; he doesn’t belligerently abuse them, but the slow descent into ever-more-humiliating circumstances is heartbreaking to watch. Everyone seems real, and sweet, and the pathos doesn’t hit you over the head all that much.
Parker Posey and Paul Rudd. Cleveland, Ohio. The OH in Ohio is a refreshingly different, charming indie whose premise–a successful businesswoman (Posey) hasn’t ever, it seems, had a real orgasm–goes in a predictable direction at first, until you realize that it is only a half-hour into the film and Posey’s transformation has barely begun. Neither has Rudd’s. Danny DeVito shows up as a goofy pool salesman, and Posey really goes for it in this performance. Funny, quirky, and not for the prudish or The Children–various vibrators could get credits for the screentime they log here.
With that, I’m off to more Labor Day weekend relaxation. (Read: homework and errands. Yay!)