I’ve been going back through some movies set in the early-to-mid-1900s, and noticed how women have really been trail blazing for their sisters since long before Germaine Greer popped her head onto the scene.
Here are five movies that leave me feeling empowered and make me proud to be a woman. These movies span the most formative 50 years of women’s liberation and all before we burned our bras and the word Feminist became a dirty word.
Fried Green Tomatoes – The earlier plot line is set in the 1920s. A mixture of self-discovery and storytelling, this one makes me bubble with pride. TO WANDA!!!
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
If you think you have nothing in common with your parents, think again. Set in the late 1930s, we follow the Ya-Ya’s on their journey into womanhood, while flipping into modern times and having a blast as relationships mend and grow. YA-YA!!!
A League of Their Own
While the men were fighting the war in the 1940s, women were called upon to keep up morale on home soil by creating a baseball league. Go PEACHES!!!
Mona Lisa Smile
The story of a teacher in the 1950s who changes her student’s lives by asking them to expect more from themselves than just being a housewife. Be yourselves.
The Help – This film is not only about women’s rights, but also shines a light on 1960s apartheid in living colour. This movie is fabulously entertaining and shows things from another point of view. (There’s a quote in here about poop…but you’ll have to watch the film or read the book to get it.)
If you know of any other good films that give you goosebumps, leave a comment below. I’m always on the search for the next brilliant feminist movie.
#5 Grab a little exercise – Personally, I find it really difficult to stay angry when I’m walking. Try bike riding (on a safe track if you’re really angry), running, walking, or even punching a punching bag if you have one.
#4 Gardening – Slow down and create something on a crummy day. It will be beautiful on a better day, get you back to nature, and give you something to look forward to. Try growing food-producing plants such as vegetables and herbs to be able to ‘eat your rage’ in a more literal sense.
#3 Talk to someone – If you don’t have a trusted adult, teacher, or school councillor, call Lifeline (13 11 14) or Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800) to vent and externalise the internal maelstrom of emotion. Someone may be able to help you find your way through the tangle.
#2 Wash away the bad day – Have a shower and visualise the horrible feelings going down the drain with the water. When you step out squeaky clean, you can picture the rest of the day to be the same.
#1 Have a good cry – Sometimes a crummy day just can’t be helped and you need to have a good cry about it.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
― L.M. Montgomery
Five ways to deal with your teen’s crummy days (for adults or friends)
#5 Listen actively to what is being said – Ask questions about the crummy day to let them know you’re up to speed with them.
#4 Leave them alone – Sometimes they’ll ask you to just leave them to calm down before anything can be resolved or talked about. This one always worries me personally, but as long as it isn’t a constant silence and they do eventually seek someone out to talk, it should be fine.
#3 Offer them help – You can offer help, but remember not to try and solve the issue for the person. Working through adversity builds character and fosters resilience. If it’s a matter of helping them study, or preparing for an exam, then sure: Saddle up for the race to the finish line!
#2 Show them you care about them – A thinking of you card, a hand written letter, or a small, thoughtful gift can lift someone’s spirits.
#1 Give them a hug – It’s free, it feels good, and most people I know (adults and teens alike) really need one after they’ve had a crummy day.
Book written by Jessica Shirvington Read by Rebecca Macauley
The copy of the audio book I received from Bolinda Audio to review has a cover reminiscent of the US hard cover. Purple background with a pretty girl facing away from us with black feathers and beautiful wings in a sort of smoky impression, foretelling that the story is about Angels. The design by Andrea C. Uva is effective and pleasing to the eye.
The impression I got from reading Embrace in paperback, was that the story wasn’t necessarily set in Australia, though with this unabridged, 9 hour 57 minute, narration by Rebecca Macauley, it is firmly set somewhere on Aussie soil. It seems right that Violet has an Aussie accent.
I find some female narrators struggle with projecting their male voice in a convincing way, and after a while of hearing Rebecca my mind wasn’t sending warnings about all the voices being a girl. That takes serious vocal skill.
Rebecca beautifully picks up on the tensions between characters and I caught myself gnashing my teeth constantly in the awkward scenes. She possesses the clout and the innocence needed to convincingly read this series.
I think buying the movie tie-in cover for this book was perhaps a mistake, as I kept flipping back to the cover to reference the appearances of the characters. I’m now wondering if I found a blockage in my imagination because I had them ‘figured out’ already.
Basic storyline is the old … sixteen year old girl coming into her full powers and having to choose between good and evil. There are massive consequences for either choice and the man in her life is her reason for fighting on.
I loved the way a male and female character spent the majority of the book working towards a common goal without having loads of sex, and the tonsil hockey was kept to a minimum.
I found it intriguing the history of the town played as much a part of the story as the storyline itself, tipping a hat to those who do not know their past but are having to relive it. Nicely done by Garcia and Stohl.
Lena’s family are a kooky lot, and considering the ‘mortals’ are supposed to be the epitome of ‘normal’, they’re just as odd in their own ways.
Of all the characters, I think I like Link and Amma the best, mainly because of their loyalty and their drive to do whatever it takes to be there when Ethan and Lena need them the most.
We’ll see how much CGI is needed to create as much life to the film as was given to us in the book. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what Richard LaGravenese can do to up the ante, and make us believe.
Mass Market Paperback, 563 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published November 23rd 2009)
original title: Beautiful Creatures by K Garcia and M Stohl
ISBN 0316231657 (ISBN13: 9780316231657)
In the process of cutting down a 500 plus page book into a 2 hour film, director, Richard LaGravense had to do some serious reshuffling. This is a film BASED on the book, which effectively means the creative license is used liberally. Though I now understand why the cover of the book had me confused.
The casting was done well, and between the three leading adult roles, Jeremy Irons (Die Hard: With a Vegence) Viola Davis (The Help) and Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee) you’d be hard pressed to hear much history about the actors playing the teenagers.
LaGravense used the K.I.S.S. method and simplified both the character list and removed the unimportant plot points. He hits the most important bits, though they may not be in the same chronological order as the book.
The CGI is impressive and considering the Visual Effects department credits on the IMDB website (more than any other department in the whole production by far), you’d be a little perplexed if the effects were mediocre.
There were few weak points with the film. The one that bugged me the most was the contrasts in the dark scenes were so undefined. I watched the DVD in the darkest room in the house and had trouble making things out. The other was the southern accents. Now this may be a side effect of having a friend in the south who has taught me to pick the awful mimics, but whoa Mumma, I think they need to spend some time in the south. Yikes!
The wrap up…
I read the book first, and though the film and the book are of the same essence, they are far stronger as separate entities. The book was more detailed and the time restraints in the film perhaps weakened the emotional elements Stohl and Garcia were highlighting.
I enjoyed both though, and I’m heading off to watch the extras on the DVD.
“For Briar Rose, life is anything but a fairy tale. She’s stuck in a small town in deepest Georgia with parents who won’t let her out of their sight, a bunch of small-minded, gossiping neighbours and an evil ex who’s spreading nasty rumours about what she may or may not have done in the back of his car. She’s tired of it all, so when, on her sixteenth birthday, her parents tell her that she is cursed and will go to sleep for a hundred years when the clock strikes midnight, she’s actually kind of glad to leave it all behind. She says her goodbyes, lies down, and closes her eyes . . . And then she wakes up. Cold, alone and in the middle of the darkest, most twisted fairy tale she could ever have dreamed of. Now Briar must fight her way out of the story that has been created for her, but she can’t do it alone. She never believed in handsome princes, but now she’s met one her only chance is to put her life in his hands, or there will be no happy ever after and no waking up.”
This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is complete with evil mechanical creatures, the obligatory sleeping princess, and guys on horseback. However Briar is a Rose, not a shrinking violet. THANK GOODNESS!
I am finding that authors who allow their female lead characters to work with their male counterparts, rather than belittling them, seem more authentic, more relatable, and far stronger than their ball-busting sisters. Briar shares the glory with not only her best friend, Reena, but her three leading guys.
Some reviews compare this book to Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. To that I say, ‘Did we read the same books?’ There is re enactment in both books, and they’re set in the south. That’s about where the similarities end.
Dialogue is humorous, and the action is easy to picture. Romance is peppered throughout because it is a fairy tale after all. Pacing is steady and there is no sagging middle.
A sweet escape for the first few weeks of the new term. Check it out.