This book left me with mixed feelings; though I found it mostly enjoyable and touching there were two big things that didn’t sit well with me and somewhat soured the reading experience.
One is the blatantly misleading cover and title. I haven’t watched the 2013 film Philomena starring Judi Dench, but I’ve heard enough to expect, as the front cover puts it, “the poignant true story of a mother and the son she had to give away”, or as the back cover puts it, “the touching story of a mother’s fifty-year search for her son”. At first Sixsmith’s book seems to back it up, opening in the 1950s Ireland with the story of Philomena Lee, a young girl who gets pregnant out of wedlock and gets sent to a convent. After giving birth to a baby boy, she is forced to work at the Magdalene laundry to “pay for her sins”, and eventually give up her son for adoption, with no hope of ever contacting him again. A truly tragic story that makes your blood boil.
A lovely and sensitive Spanish film about an orphaned six-year-old girl who has to cope with her mother’s death and adjusting to a new life. Not counting visits to the Astor Theatre, I haven’t been to the cinema in (yikes) over four months, so this was a nice way to break the drought.
I’ve had something like a Danish withdrawal after binge-watching my way through three seasons of Borgen, the most excellent Danish political TV series. I got rather used to the sound of Danish vowels and occasional tak coming from my TV, so I watched this 2006 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
This psychological thriller left me with a question, can an average book be elevated by a brilliant, shocking last-minute twist that makes you look at the story and characters in a whole different light? Yes… to a degree.
The story centres on two sisters, Robin and Sarah, who despite being fraternal twins are pure chalk and cheese: Robin is wild, rebellious and outspoken, Sarah is a good girl, docile and eager to please. When a shy and sensitive boy called Callum Granger shows up at their school and becomes friends with the girls, none of them can predict the seismic shift that’s about to rock their families and leave Robin in the UK while Sarah moves to the States.
I have a long “movies I missed at the cinema” list and now this 2011 comedy starring Kristen Wiig is off it. I believe that watching a film by yourself at home, without the infectious communal atmosphere of a movie theatre, is a pretty good test of just how funny a movie is. I laughed out loud a good many times during Bridesmaids; bonus points for tickling my funny bone while I was feeling like a sleep-deprived zombie.
Definitely an odd one out for me, but it’s been ages since I’ve been to a big flashy show, and this concert was a fun night out and everything you’d want from an arena pop spectacular. Dancers, costume changes, flying props oh my!
A heart-warming and visually stunning documentary about a 13-year-old girl living with her nomadic family in Mongolia’s harsh Altai mountains, who becomes the first female eagle hunter to compete in the annual Golden Eagle Festival.