Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Full disclosure: Meryl Streep is only in one scene
Hey baby, it's cold outside, so you might as well go to the movies. Here are a couple of good ones you should try to catch up with before they're gone!

Women who defied social convention to join the "suffrage" movement, campaigning for women's right to vote, risked family rupture, public ridicule, and physical violence. 

Known by the vaguely demeaning name, "suffragette" (based on the Biblical sense of the word "suffer," as in "to allow"), these women on the front lines of the struggle for equality considered themselves warriors, especially as their protests became more disruptive, and the reaction of the authorities more brutal.

Their story is told in Sarah Gavron's illuminating drama, Suffragette a fictional story woven skillfully into the fabric of real-life history about the radicalization of a working-class Edwardian woman into the cause of voting equality. Carey Mulligan plays a marginalized laundress recruited into the movement by Helena Bonham Carter's crusading pharmacist.

Rallied to ever more defiant public acts, the women are routinely beaten with billy clubs, arrested, and brutally force-fed in prison when they try to publicize their cause with hunger strikes. But as police methods become more draconian, the press becomes more and more sympathetic to the women and their goals.
Uppity women campaign for voting rights
The film is very clear about personalizing what these women are fighting for. In their daily lives, they get paid less than men (sound familiar?), and have virtually no legal rights over their own bodies, their property, or their children.

Gavron and scriptwriter Abi Morgan want us to understand how courageously these women fought for something so easy to take for granted now—the chance to have even a tiny political stake in their own destinies. (Read more)

Boy meets Mac: Fassbender as Steve Jobs
Leave it to scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin to come up with a punchy, comprehensible way to distill the complex story of the visionary who invented Apple computers into a feature film. In Steve Jobs, Sorkin's sharp, literate script, and the propulsive energy with which director Danny Boyle tells the tale makes for a hugely entertaining biographical drama.

They choose to focus on three crucial moments when Jobs’ career, celebrity and personal life intersect, literally, on the public stage: at the press launch for the Macintosh in 1984, the press launch of the ill-fated NeXT Cube in 1988, and the press launch for the first iMac in 1998—which was destined to revolutionize home computing forever.

Factor in three Oscar-bait performances—Michael Fassbender, mercurial, infuriating, and fascinating in the title role, Kate Winslet (left, with Fassbender), as Jobs' no-nonsense gal Friday, Joanna Hoffman, and Seth Rogen as stoically truth-telling Steve Wozniak—and the result is just about irresistible. (Read more)

Don't believe those naysayers calling this film a disappointing failure. It's a great movie, full of fast, funny dialogue, and emotional complexity. Don't be the last kid on your block to see it!

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