Life-changing events, a movie about changing a life and a glimpse into the past are in my picks this month.
She said is the story of news reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor working for the New York Times who investigate allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Wenstein.
Twohey and Kantor uncovered a story that shattered years of secrecy around sexual assault in Hollywood and helped propel the #metoo movement. Starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kazan and Patricia Clarkson, Maria Shrader directs this film which although uncomfortable in part, tells an important story.
There are no gratuitous reenactments, it’s well-crafted enough that they are not required. It will have you cheering for investigative journalism, the bravery of the women who told the story and those whose story they told. The movie reflects the events themselves being slow to start but gathering momentum and worth sticking with.
Eventually, more than 80 women made allegations of rape or sexual assault and Weinstein is currently serving 23 years in prison with an additional sentence of 16 years from a California court to follow.
I watched She Said on Netflix.
I thought this was heading along the lines of some kind of “lose weight change your life makeover movie” but was pleased it revealed more depth. I was even more pleased to learn that it was based on a true story, as the “real Brittany” appeared running her New York marathon in the credits.
Unhappy with her weight, diet, and overall daily routines, Brittany (Jillian Bell) decides to motivate herself to take baby steps, with the eventual goal of running a marathon. With the addition of new friends and other positive influencers entering her life, this positive story is one worth watching. Although she isn’t always the most likable character, that’s really the point of the movie in the end.
The writing, screenplay and direction by Paul Downs Colaizzo are good with Jillian Bell delivering a solid performance as Brittany, a character whose insecurities have calcified to the point that she frequently confuses goodwill with pity.
Released in 2019 I watched Brittany Runs a Marathon on Netflix.
If you are a Philippa Gregory book fan you will enjoy these series on Stan. I didn’t study Modern History at school and every time I enter the Phillipa Gregory world of the Yorks, Lancasters and Tudors I wish I had.
The first series The White Queen covers the books The White Queen, The Red Queen and the Kingmakers Daughter was broadcast on BBC TV in August 2013, telling the story of Ann Neville, Elizabeth Woodville and Margaret Beaufort, their behind-the-scenes manipulations and quest for power set against the backdrop of the War of the Roses.
There are some historical inaccuracies, including whether a battle was filmed in a forest but actually took place in a field and one commentator wrote, “it was not serious enough for the scholars nor glitzy enough for the Game of Thrones set”. It covers the period from 1464 to 1485 in 10 episodes.
The second series The White Princess was produced without the involvement of BBC by Starz in 2016 and tells the story of Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII and mother of Henry VIII and is based on the 2013 novel of the same name covering the timeframe 1482- 1496. Jodie Comer plays a compelling Elizabeth in this 8-episode series.
The third series is The Spanish Princess focussed on Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII after her marriage to his older brother Arthur is annulled following his death. Longer than the others there are 16 episodes and the time frame is 1501 to 1525 based on Gregory’s books The Constant Princess and the King’s Curse.
A few times during my binge watch of 161 years of England’s rulers, strong women in their courts and their politics my mind wandered but despite the flaws, it was an enjoyable trip to the past and I may have learnt a thing or two.