Don’t new releases on airplane journeys make you feel like you’re getting something for free? I think so.
It was a while ago now, but on my last long-haul flights, I made the most of the in-flight entertainment, even though I’d promised myself I wouldn’t. It does help to pass a good 6-8 hours easily. Maybe I feel encouraged to write these, as I’m on the threshold of booking some more.
Woman in Gold (2015) Simon Curtis
A steeled Jewish refugee takes on the Austrian government to seek the return of Gustav Klimt’s painting, Woman in Gold, a portrait of her aunt. I noted the words, “Reservoirs of affection”. I was struck by the way all evidence of the ‘gifting’ of the painting was manufactured to cover up that it was stolen. In a way this made the people disappear, with the art. Do the good things of life fall into people’s laps? Or do they make them happen, “If the good things don’t come on their own I must make them, and that’s what I intend to do”.
Randol Schoenberg: It’s hard to believe Hitler once applied to be an art student here. Maria Altmann: I wish they’d have accepted him.
While we’re young (2015) Noah Baumbach
What a clever man Noah Baumbach is. Bookended by David Bowie’s, Golden Years, which subliminally beckons ‘angel’, this film is about a couple in the midst of an angsty ‘do we want children’ phase, premised on some dialogue from Ibsen’s play, The Master Builder.
What happens when someone is knocking on the door to our life, and we’re not letting them in alla the Wings song, Let ’em in? What does living without children mean? Where do the lines get drawn in with the advent of ‘reality’ everything. Noah weaves music, theatre, pop-culture and generation gaps together into a rich brocade.
Ben Stiller is not my favourite actor, but in this movie he’s great as the slightly washed-up film-maker, and although the story centres around two sets of couples, the female characters, Cornelia (Naomi Watts) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) seem to take a back-seat. The script made fun of the generation gap, containing some great one liners “he saw me on EBay”, “my dad like to say, the more, the more”, and “he’s not evil, he’s just young”.
“I tell you the younger generation will one day come and thunder at my door! They will break in upon me!” says the Master Builder. To which he receives the reply, “Then… open the door.”
Cinderella (2015) Kenneth Branagh
With a fairy-tale trip to Europe, why not watch Cinderella. Maybe it was just the state of mind I was in, but I saw more in this story than I had before, a child who loses from the result of a new blended family, only wishing to be truly seen, and ending up being ‘found’ by a handsome and wealthy prince. I suppose this is the continuing purpose of story, to reinforce some kind of fairy-tale ending.
But it felt different to that for me. It had some more depth, “I hope they treat you well – as well as they are able,” being an acknowledgement that some people just don’t have it in them to treat others well. “Don’t lose heart”, and “not look outside our borders – look within to find courage and kindness”. Aided by shape-shifting animals, Cinderella doesn’t lose heart and gains wisdom. To me it was saying the greatest risk any of us will ever take is to be seen as we truly are. Cinderella’s mother seemed to be on the money,
“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.”
Wonderful actors, Cate Blanchett, Derek Jacobi, Rob Brydon and Helena Bonham Carter.
2nd Best Marigold Hotel (2015) John Madden
I’m really far too young to be enjoying films about septuagenarians retiring to India, especially sequels, but maybe it is my enduring connection to the east established as a child. Or maybe it is just that the attitude of the characters Judi Dench and Maggie Smith play is so useful. Women of this age are over all the rubbish, comfortable in their own skin and are happy just telling it like it is. When does one really get comfortable with that? “I don’t do advice, I do opinions.”
Maybe it is also the wisdom contained in films like these, “You have no idea now what you will become, don’t try and control it. Let go. That’s when the fun starts. Because as I once heard someone say “There’s no present like the time”” and “Sometimes it seems to me that the difference between what we want and what we fear is the width of an eyelash.” and “Coincidence is just a word for when we cannot see the bigger picture.”
Add in Billy Nighy and Celia Imrie and really it is such a fun film, “That’s a great accent, are you from Australia?”
“There is no such thing as an ending, just a place where you leave the story.”