Hollywood, Why Don’t You Understand the Facts?

When it comes to making money, it sometimes feels as if Hollywood is completely ignores the facts. In terms of hard numbers and dollars and cents, reality is all around, but Hollywood doesn’t see it. Hollywood is like those climate change deniers: their minds are made up so don’t bore them with facts.

Ryan Gosling

Movies with hunky guys make money. Everyone loves a movie with a hunky guy. Hunky guys doing heroic things are inspiring. Hunky guys falling in love with beautiful women are what life should be about. Lots of hunky guys in big armor plated outfits going around fighting in wars are especially appealing. Right?

Actually, Hollywood, that’s not what I think.

There are 100 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. Those 100 million people control almost 70% of all disposable income in the U.S. That’s the crowd buying a third of all movie tickets.

Based on numbers alone, at least of a third of the movies released each year should be directed at people over 50.

Annette Benning

Women are 51% of the population of the U.S. Women are 52% of the movie going, ticket buying population. Women make or influence 85% of all buying decisions.

Based on numbers alone, at least half of the movies released each year should be directed at women.

Combine the over 50 part and the female part and it paints a very different picture than the norm of what we get out of Hollywood. Older women should be the the target audience for Hollywood.

Television is better, but not yet perfect.

Television more often shows us older men and women who are simply real people doing what real people do. They aren’t armor plated or leaping from tall buildings. They are living, learning, loving. And it’s not just characters over 50. They might even be over 70!

Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid

There’s money and ticket sales in even the tales of the over 70 crowd.

Hollywood should give a listen to the facts. Or, Hollywood could continue to be surprised every time a “women’s” movie outsells a big blockbuster. While they’re being surprised, we’ll all be watching something else – maybe a web series starring women over 50.

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Review: Now is Good

Now is Good one of those films in the genre young woman dying of cancer. If there isn’t a genre called that there should be because films about it are plentiful. Don’t let that put you off, however. This film is beautifully directed, well acted, and heartwarming in many ways.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Now is Good”

Review: Don Jon

Don Jon is an oddly sensitive film that ultimately has a good message. The message, however, is delivered in a complete man ‘splaining way. This makes it a man’s film much more than a woman’s film. We go through a lot with Jon, the don of sex, for him to learn something that women already know.

Spoilers ahead.

Working on the male ideal
Working on the male ideal

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Jon. He is super buff, a man’s man. He takes home a different girl every night after rating the women in the bars on a scale of 1–10 with his buddies. He always gets the girl with the highest score. After a quick bang with the girl-of-the-day, Jon sneaks off to watch pr0n. (Sorry for the misspelling. Trying to keep the icky people away.) Pr0n is perfect. Big tits, big asses, both in your face 100% of the time. Nothing like real sex.

This Jersey boy (the Jersey accents in the film are dead on) goes home to dinner with the folks once a week. His dad is played by Tony Danza who is simply fabulous in this part. Jon goes to mass on Sunday with the family and confesses each week to the number of times he had intercourse outside of marriage and the number of times he jerked off while watching videos.

A perfect 10
A perfect 10

One night in the bar, the boys spot Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). The ass, the boobs, the lips, the hair: she’s perfect. Jon has to have her.

Surprise, she’s not easy. He has to work for it. When he finally gets it, he’s sure he’s in love. He’s so sure he’s in love, he overlooks her little flaws – like she completely takes control of his life. Like she has sex just like everyone else he’s ever met and that great body of hers is never in his face the way it is in his fantasy world.

She makes him promise to stop watching the pr0n0. When he cannot, she dumps him.

Classmates
Classmates

Meanwhile Jon meets Esther (Julianne Moore) in night school. In a movie full of cardboard cutouts of characters, she is the most undeveloped of all. We know she bursts into tears at inappropriate times, smokes a lot of pot, and is willing to have sex with Jon. That’s it.

Later, when we get to the brief sensitive part of the story, we learn that Esther recently lost both her husband and her son. She is the woman who finally teaches Jon how to connect with a woman and actually make love as opposed to have sex.

Thanks to Esther’s wise teachings, Jon stops being an ass and becomes a nice guy. That’s the good message I mentioned. Getting Jon to that point is a very masculine undertaking. Not surprising since the film was written and directed by the star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and is about a hyper masculine guy.

If you want to take this trip from a male point of view, this film will rate very high with you. Within those parameters, it’s an excellent film.

A Comment from Twitter

When I tweeted a link to this article, I was reminded of something important about this film in a return tweet. I noticed while I was watching the film how Barbara with her romantic movies was just like Jon with his videos, but then I forgot to mention it in the review. Thanks to @damnthemusicman for reminding me of this important plot point.

All images © 2013 Relativity Media

Recap: Last Tango in Halifax, S2, E2

At the registry office, Celia (Anne Reid) sits in a very pretty suit clutching a bouquet as episode 2 of Last Tango in Halifax begins. We’re mere minutes from the end of episode 1 when Gillian ran out the farmhouse door after finding the card from the Registry Office.

A man in an apron sits beside Celia, asking how long it will take. Alan (Derek Jacobi) drags in a policeman. He lassoed them to be witnesses to the wedding, but has to promise them both a £20 note to get them to stay. Celia looks like she has many misgivings about these two being at her wedding instead of her family but Alan breezes along as if he doesn’t see it.

Gillian (Nicola Walker)  slams the Land Rover into a parking spot and runs into the Registry Office.

Gillian bursts into the wedding
Gillian bursts into the wedding

Gillian’s upset, angry, hurt, defensive. She berates everyone, angrily blaming her father’s behavior on Celia. She walks out, comes back to yell some more, and leaves again.

Celia says she’s a bit shaken. She wants to ring Caroline. Alan says they should ignore Gillian. Celia said getting married in secret was supposed to be a bit of fun. Alan insists they shouldn’t let it make any difference.

Gillian cries
Gillian undone

Gillian, outside in her car, is falling to pieces. Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) phones, but Gillian lets it go to voice mail. Instead, Gillian calls Robbie (Dean Andrews) and wants to meet him during his lunch time.

John calls Caroline
John calls Caroline

John (Tony Gardner), at Judith’s (Ronni Ancona), calls Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and says he wants to talk to her soon. Caroline tells him to come to her office at 1:30.

Robbie and Gillian meet in a pub. It’s so nice that she has someone to call now. I remember an earlier scene where Gillian really needed someone to talk with and there was no one there for her. Robbie is. Robbie tells Gillian he thinks she’s overreacting. He tells her she can’t be jealous. She responds, “I’m not jealous.” Then she goes on to make all sorts of jealous remarks about how posh Caroline is. She talks about how much she and Alan have been at odds the last two weeks. When Robbie asks what they’re at odds about, she won’t explain. Finally Robbie says, “Should we get married and not tell anyone?” This elicits a big smile from Gillian. The scene ends so we don’t know if it was a serious proposal or if Gillian gave a serious answer.

In Caroline’s office, John is telling Caroline that he wants everything to go back like it was. He’s disheveled and rumpled and looks pathetic.

I've moved on
I’ve moved on

Caroline considers his remarks with a serious expression, walks around her desk to sit beside him, and says, “I’ve moved on. You have to get used to that.”

“My publisher’s dropped me.” John says. She offers him tea in an act of kindness or perhaps pity.

When Gillian returns to the farm, Celia and Alan are waiting inside. Gillian says, “I may have overreacted.”

Alan says, “It were just meant to be a bit of fun, an adventure. Nobody was excluding anybody. Why would you think it was all about you?”

Gillian says she thought it was because of what he said to her when he learned she’d slept with John. Alan and Celia try to explain their behavior, but Gillian continues to fuss.

Accept what I've said
Accept what I’ve said

Alan stands up to go and tells Gillian, “I’ve said what I’ve said. It’s true. If you’re not prepared to accept it, there’s very little I can do.” It’s an unusually firm dismissal of Gillian’s feelings from Alan and not in keeping with his character up to this point, which makes me wonder what’s really going on. Gillian looks at Celia and says, “What have you done to him? He didn’t used to be like this!”

Alan says, “We’re married now. We expected our surprise to make everyone happy. Not this.” Gillian apologizes again for overreacting. When they drive off, Gillian mimes shooting herself in the head, and walks back to the house pulling her hair.

Raff (Josh Bolt) calls. He wants to bring Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) home for tea. Gillian says okay. “Your granddad’s got married.”

Two cars pull in to Caroline’s house. Caroline and Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) are in Caroline’s SUV, Kate (Nina Sosanya) drives up in a smaller, sportier car. Caroline gets out and greets Kate with, “Have a good day?” This must be their routine now that Kate’s moved in. Meanwhile, Lawrence continues to sit in the car and look daggers at Kate.

In the kitchen, Caroline tells everyone she thinks Celia and Alan got married. She says it’s just as well they did it on their own because she wouldn’t have had time to go. Kate says, “Yes, you would.” Caroline says, “Kate, I haven’t got time to get divorced, much less go to someone else’s wedding.”

You ARE going to find time
You ARE going to find time

Kate levels a stare at her, “You ARE going to find time to get divorced.” In return, Caroline gives Kate a beautiful, loving smile. We have to read a lot into that smile. We see Alan and Celia talking, laughing, holding hands, snuggling – we see Gillian and Robbie working together at the farm, talking, supporting each other – but we haven’t seen much interaction between Caroline and Kate. I think that one smile is pulling a heavy load.

Lawrence said he heard John was at school today looking hung over. Kate wants to know what they talked about. Caroline says she’ll tell her later.

Lawrence plants a seed
Lawrence plants a seed

Caroline leaves the room for a moment, and Lawrence says, “It’s not rocket science why they didn’t invite you.”

When Caroline comes back, Kate says, “You don’t they didn’t invite anyone to the wedding because of me.” Caroline says, “What makes you think that?”

Raff and Ellie are at the farm, having tea with Gillian and Robbie. Gillian curses Caroline, Celia and everything that has anything to do with Harrogate and her dad leaving the farm.

Mrs. Buttershaw
Mrs. Buttershaw

Celia and Alan arrive in Harrogate. They relax in the car a few minutes taking about being married, what they used to do with their time before they were together (they don’t remember). Alan whispers, “It’s our wedding night.”

Inside, Caroline pours champagne and offers congratulations. She tells them Kate has gone home to her own place for the night while they sort out a few things.

Congratulations
Congratulations

She said William has a job in town and Lawrence is upstairs sulking. He got in trouble for his remarks to Kate. Alan explains that it’s nonsense to think that their decision had anything to do with Kate.

Caroline tells them about John losing his publisher, which means he can’t afford to buy her out. She wants to buy John out. She says she’s getting the house evaluated, but she thinks it’s worth about £850,000. She asks her mother for £100,000. Plus, she plans to ask Kate to sell her house to contribute, too. Suddenly she realizes she’s talking to them about money on their wedding day and sends them off with the bottle of champagne.

Celia stays behind a moment. She tells Caroline that the hurried secret wedding was actually because of the consultant’s warning in the hospital that Alan probably wouldn’t survive another heart attack. Alan likes to pretend they just did it for a bit of fun, but that they really just wanted to get it done.

The continuity in this scene drove me crazy. The level of champagne in the glasses changed every time the camera angle changed.

Robbie and Gillian are washing dishes when Raff asks if Ellie can stay the night there. Gillian quickly says no. Raff says, “The thing is. She’s pregnant. It’s mine. She’s 8 months. Her parents chucked her out.”

Next morning, Gillian calls Alan and tells him Raff wants to leave school. When Alan wants to know why, she says, “There’s a girl involved. It’s a man thing.” Celia says she’ll drive Alan over to Halifax.

What a conversation!
What a conversation!

Caroline and Kate are deep in conversation as they walk to assembly. Caroline asked Kate to sell her house. Kate says it’s so early in their relationship. She’s concerned about how settled they are and Caroline says, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” The audience hasn’t seen the degree of depth developed between these two that would make us believe Caroline is ready to make that powerful a statement, but Kate is moved by it. They are in the hall behind a huge room full singing students. Kate grins, “I can’t kiss you here.” Caroline smiles, too, and says, “You really can’t.” They look as if they might, anyway.

No, you really can't.
No, you really can’t.

Caroline says things are just moving faster than expected because of her need to buy out John. Kate promises to get her house evaluated. Then she says, “I would have brought it up later, when things were more settled, but I want you to know I want to have a baby.” Caroline looks stunned, then laughs. Kate says, “I’m serious,” just as the singing ends and Caroline has to turn to walk down the aisle for assembly.

At the farm, Gillian tells Celia and Alan that Ellie is inside and pregnant. Gillian is taking her to the doctor in a few minutes. Raff is convinced it’s his.

I think it's contractions
I think it’s contractions

Inside, Ellie is having contractions. Guess the 8 months number was a little off. Alan, who needs zero excitement about now, says he’ll get her to hospital and Gillian should go get Raff.

Celia calls Caroline to tell her she’s delivering babies. The question is whether it’s really Raff’s. Celia tells Caroline not to worry about money. She asks if Caroline’s talked to Kate. Caroline says yes, but she hesitates to explain about Kate wanting a baby. It’s hard to tell just yet what difference, if any, that’s going to make.

I can't sell that house
I can’t sell that house

Celia says, why don’t you just sell the house? Caroline says, “I can’t sell that house.” She’s mentioned before how attached she is to that particular house. Will she let it ruin her relationships with everyone to keep it?

In Ellie’s hospital room, she’s clutching Alan’s arm during her contractions and talking about how she doesn’t want a baby. He tries to be reassuring. She tries to pretend she’s not even there. Raff arrives. The midwife says it will still be a few hours. Gillian wants to know if Ellie’s rung her mom and says she will if Ellie hasn’t.

Alan and Celia snack on junk food in the hall, talking about how Celia almost died giving birth to Caroline.

That was before the swinging 60s
That was before the swinging 60s

They discuss the fact that Raff and Ellie are the same age they were when they fell in love. Celia says, “We never would have carried on like that.” Alan says, “They do now. We were before the swinging 60s.” Alan says, “I’m very good with babies. I never thought I’d live to be a great granddad.” He says he’d have to help with money to keep Raff in school. Celia says, I can’t see Caroline short either over this house business.

Gillian reports that Ellie’s parents can’t be found.

Judith arrives home with a sack of rattling bottles. She immediately pours a drink in a dirty cup from beside her computer. John is there with black trash bags full of his belongings. He says he’s going to get a flat near the university. He tells her about his publisher. She says he was just lucky for a while and that he’s never dared to do anything properly dangerous. She tells him to piss off.

Caroline and Kate are walking beside a playing field outside the school. Lawrence and a friend watch from across the field. The friend says, “Do they snog (I think that’s the word he used). Lawrence says, “I don’t know.” He also says he might move in with his dad.

Kate is talking about a baby. She has a donor in mind. A guy she went to university with named Greg. She says he’s nice, clever, good, like Caroline – one of the grown ups. Kate says it would be so easy because they could just “do it.” Caroline says, does he want children. Kate says it’s more about whether Kate and Caroline want children.

I need to meet him
I need to meet him

Caroline, with very defensive body language, asks questions about Greg, his marriage and betrays that she might be a bit jealous. She says, “I need to meet him.” Kate says okay.

Caroline says, “Why didn’t you and Richard?” (Richard is Kate’s ex husband.) Kate answers, “We did. Four times. It never got beyond 12 weeks.” So much loss in Kate’s past – that tells us a lot more about her than we’ve known before. Caroline says, “Oh, God. I’m sorry.” Caroline tells her she’s not daft to want a baby. Kate says I wouldn’t do it on my own. We’d be talking sleepless nights and nappies. Caroline says, “I could do all that.”

Speaking of babies, Ellie’s pushing and Raff’s fainting and Alan’s coaching her along with the midwife (more excitement Alan doesn’t need). Ellie asks him to call her granddad. Guess who he is? Harry, Alan’s mate (Paul Copley).

John strides across the university campus with his black trash bags. He approaches his office as he calls Gillian. He says, “I know you’re seeing Robbie, but we know that’s just a disaster.”

“Really?” says Gillian.

“Really,” he says. “You also said you needed an investment in the farm. Caroline wants to buy my half of the house. It would be 400, 450 grand, cash.”

Gillian says, “You think you can just buy me?” He, of course, says no. He asks to see her on the weekend. She asks if they can have the conversation later.

It’s a girl. 6 pounds 3 ounces. Ellie’s mother (Susan Cookson) finally shows up and says this is the first she’s heard of Ellie’s pregnancy. Harry’s arrived. The adults take turns blaming each other as they argue in the hallway. Raff and Ellie are in her room.

It's a girl
It’s a girl

Alan holds the baby as Celia says, Well, we got married and we got a baby. They kiss as the camera closes in on the baby.

Watch This: Trailer for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them releases in September. The film stars James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain in a love story with a twist. It’s told from different perspectives in three versions. There is his perspective, her perspective and their perspective, to create three totally different films. The films are directed and written by Ned Benson. It’s Benson’s directorial debut. A bold move for a debut.

The trailer shows how the Them version works, with slightly different versions of each event mashed together. The versions for him and her will be released about 6 weeks after the Them version. The story is about the couple played by McAvoy and Chastain, who are married, but their relationship is strained by a recent tragedy.

The film also stars Bill Hader, Viola Davis, and William Hurt.

Watch This: Trailer for The Homesman

This is the International trailer for The Homesman, which will release in the U.S. in November. The film stars and is directed by Tommy Lee Jones. Others in the film are Hilary Swank, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter. The tale is about claim jumper and a pioneer woman, who team up to escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.

Meryl Streep is also in the cast. It looks like a small part based on the trailer, and the IMDB info for the film shows her name way down at the bottom of the cast list. The reason I’m making a big deal about it is that as far as I know this is the first film that Meryl Streep has appeared in with one of her children also in the cast. Grace Gummer is Meryl Streep’s daughter. (Another daughter, Mamie Gummer, is also an actress.)

Watch This: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

Here’s the first trailer released for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 which will be out in November.

The preview features President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and a very noticably missing Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), however, looks under President Snow’s control. Based on what we know about these characters, I’m guessing Peeta’s compliance is a sham.

The whole Hunger Games series is such a metaphor for our current political situation that it’s fascinating even though it’s somewhat predictable. Katniss is the perfect female leader and heroine.

If you didn’t watch the first Hunger Games film because you thought it was a young person’s film, I urge you to take another look.

Recap: Last Tango in Halifax, S2, E1

Season 2 of Last Tango in Halifax begins with Celia (Anne Reid) in a hospital corridor phoning Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) to tell her than Alan (Derek Jacobi) has come round and, “is feeling rather perky.”

Gillian at Alan's bedside
Gillian at Alan’s bedside

A very happy Gillian (Nicola Walker) and Raff (Josh Bolt) are at Alan’s bedside. Gillian mentions that she thinks she loves Celia, Raff chimes in, “So do I.” Alan tells Raff to keep his hands off – Celia is his. Alan’s smiling and joking. Perky, indeed.

Outside the hospital, Celia, Gillian and Raff make plans for Celia to stay in Halifax at the farm until Alan is released. Celia comments that she’ll get Caroline to bring her some things.

Thank you for making him so happy
Thank you for making him so happy

Gillian gives Celia a hug and says, “Thank you. Thank you for making him so happy. I think you brought him back. You mustn’t fall out with him again.”

Celia answers, “I am NEVER gonna fall out with him again. Ever. About anything!”

Robbie helps out on the farm
Robbie helps out on the farm

Robbie (Dean Andrews) has taken it upon himself to help work the farm. We see him repairing fences as Gillian and Celia drive up. When they are all in kitchen, Robbie serves tea. He says he’s made a lasagne.

On the phone, Celia and Caroline discuss Caroline’s trip to the farm. Celia tells her Gillian’s invited her to stay the night and Caroline says okay. When Caroline tells John (Tony Gardner) she’ll be staying in Halifax, he wants to come with her – we know he wants to see Gillian again, but she does not. She tells him to stay home with the boys.

It really is all about you.
It really is all about you.

John explains how he really needs to go apologize because if it hadn’t been for him, Alan wouldn’t have had the heart attack. Caroline says, “It really is all about you.” She says when she gets back they need to work out what’s what between them.

As Caroline leaves, John immediately texts Gillian. She responds with Don’t. Text. Me.

We'll do something tomorrow
We’ll do something tomorrow

Caroline calls Kate (Nina Sosanya)  as she’s driving to Halifax. She explains she won’t be able to see Kate that night but wants to see her the next night. Kate is still a little unsure of her ground with Caroline and every conversation they have is fraught with importance to her.

At the farm, Celia is taking part in Gillian’s family life, which includes Robbie and Gillian teasing Raff about a girl named Ellie. John can’t get Gillian to take his calls or texts, so he calls Celia’s phone and after a few moments of inquiry about Alan, asks to speak to Gillian. Gillian takes the phone because Celia hands it to her.

Gillian talks to John
Gillian talks to John

With Robbie, Raff and Celia listening to her end of the conversation, Gillian tries to tell John to get lost in words that don’t reveal to her listeners what she’s doing. He won’t take the hint. He tells her he thinks he’s a little bit in love with her. He wants to meet up. She says no. She says, “Did you get my text message?” Finally she has to hang up on him while pretending to give him a cherry goodbye.

He calls Judith.

Alan says he gets to come home on Monday. Gillian, Celia and Caroline are clustered around him. Gillian wants to know what the prognosis is and what the doctor told him he could do and could not do. Alan is evasive about it with Gillian. He suggests Gillian and Caroline go have a cuppa.

Let's do it
Let’s do it

Celia sits on the bed beside Alan and says, “Bugger everyone. Let’s get married immediately.” He wants to as well. And he wants to do it in secret without telling anyone. Celia isn’t sure about this idea and questions him gently, but definitely doesn’t fall out with him about it. She agrees to keep it a secret.  She wants to know what the doctor said. He will only answer, “I’m A-1.”

In the hospital cafeteria Caroline and Gillian talk. Gillian says she wonders if you can die of a broken heart. She thought that’s what made her father have a heart attack. Then Gillian asks about Kate.

I didn't want it to be like that, actually
I didn’t want it to be like that, actually

Caroline says she wishes everyone didn’t know about it, because she and Kate aren’t quite sure where they are themselves. Caroline wanted to get it all sorted through with Kate before it became public knowledge. Gillian says, “Yeah, the whole world is looking at you like they want you to make an announcement.”

Gillian says, “I want to tell you something.” She’s going to confess to the sex-with-John-mess. She bumbles and stumbles, doubles round and round, and explains badly.

I want to tell you something
I want to tell you something

Before Gillian can get it out, Caroline says, “You slept with John.” She expects Gillian to say, no that’s not it. Instead Gillian says, “I was pissed. It was my birthday. I felt sorry for him.”

“Oh, you really have slept with John? What was it like?”

“I don’t actually remember very much about it. Except that it happened. Are you hating me?”

Caroline says no. Gillian continues to apologize. Caroline is smiling. She says, “You can have him.” Gillian answers, “I don’t want him.” Caroline is actually laughing, trying to deal. Caroline realizes that was the night she was propping Judith up in casualty. She was in hospital with one of John’s women and he was off screwing another one. “Blimey,” she says, and finally looks serious. Gillian attempts a joke with a movie quote.

The 3 women pile in the Land Rover to head for the farm. When they enter, Caroline asks about Paul. Gillian says she finally got shut of him by sending him to his granny’s. Gillian goes off to make tea. Things are awkward between Gillian and Caroline now. Caroline says she thinks she’ll go back home. Celia asks Caroline if she’d mind if she and Alan came to live in her flat – it has no stairs. Caroline says it’s fine by her.

Celia walks Caroline out to her car. Caroline tells her about Gillian and John.

Gillian told me about John
Gillian told me about John

Caroline asks, “How do people do that? Why is everything so casual and meaningless?” She says she’s a bit shocked. She says, “Do you think before Judith, John was  . . . ” That’s really what’s on her mind – has this been a more frequent thing with John than she knows. Celia promises not to say anything to Gillian about knowing.

Next morning, Celia arrives at the hospital to bring Alan home. They are so happy to see each other, happy to be together.

Atop a scenic rock
Atop a scenic rock

As soon as he’s released, they head for a scenic spot atop a rock which drops off before them for a fabulous view. All the outdoor shots of the countryside around Yorkshire are beautiful, but the camera loves this spot. We see the rock and the spectacular views from every angle as they talk. Alan says he wants to do everything now. He asks her if she’s ever fancied skiing. She says no and they laugh. They talk about their youth and things they did in that spot as teens. Celia says she and her mother scattered her father’s ashes from there. They talk about old friends who are no longer with them. Yet here they are, alive, together, and happy. He wants to pop over to the registry office. She asks again if they are serious about not telling anyone. He insists they are.

At the registry office, they make an appointment for the wedding to be tomorrow at 11 AM. They take the appointment time with them on a card.

Gillian greets them at the farm (she’s chopping wood with an ax, not a log splitter). She asks if they’ve set a date and they say no. They tell Gillian they want to live in Celia’s flat while Alan’s recovering.

Gillian isn't happy about Alan leaving
Gillian isn’t happy about Alan leaving

Gillian doesn’t take the news well. She wants Alan near her. Celia says her flat has no stairs and she can take care of him 24/7, unlike Gillian, who has to work. Gillian accepts the decision reluctantly. She wants to come with them to help get him set up the next day.

Celia and Alan go up to the bedroom, where they lay on the bed laughing and talking. They are so easy with each other, so happy together.

A Troubled Gillian
A troubled Gillian

Downstairs, Gillian listens to them laughing. She looks troubled and worried.

Next morning as they drive to Harrogate, Celia tells Alan about Gillian sleeping with John. It upsets him. He shakes his head in disgust.

Gillian is coming?
Gillian is coming?

Caroline enters the kitchen and tells John that Gillian is coming and Kate is there. He wants all the details about Gillian arriving. Instead, Caroline tells him Kate’s moving in.

John gets upset about Kate moving in. Caroline says, “After what happened here on Saturday night, you have no business talking about what other people are doing.” This angry conversation has something to do with Judith.

When Celia, Alan and Gillian arrive in Harrogate, Gillian sees Caroline’s gorgeous house and says, “You did all right for yourself here, Dad.” He responds by berating her about John. She tries to explain, but he’s not having it. He calls her a name, some British slang my American ears couldn’t make sense of. However, it isn’t the worst thing he could have called her, which is what Gillian expected.

In the kitchen, Kate says she’s put her bags in Caroline’s bedroom. “How permanent is this?” she asks. Caroline says they need to talk it through properly.

How permanant is this?
How permanent is this?

Caroline leans on the counter, gives Kate an affectionate smile, and says, “Is this what you want?”

“Do you need to ask?” Kate says.

In Celia’s little flat, Alan calls Gillian an “ongoing disappointment.” She tries again to defend herself and talks about how much she regrets what happened. Alan tells Celia, “She were pregnant when she were 15. She broke her mother’s heart.” Gillian is stung by this and by his disapproval.

In the middle of this tense moment, Caroline pops in. She invites them to dinner. She tells them Kate is there. She says she didn’t plan it exactly, and asks them to bear with her. She tells the story about Saturday night when she arrived back unexpectedly to find a drunk Judith (Ronni Ancona) falling down her stairs in a bathrobe, a drunken John dressed only in his underwear, and two upset boys witnessing the whole thing.

You're not supposed to be here
You’re not supposed to be here

Caroline tells them John said, “You have friends round, I have friends round.” She told John to have things cleaned up by the morning. He said, “Whatever,” as Judith threw up on the floor.

Caroline went to Kate’s with the boys. When she got back in the morning she asked John to move out. He refused. Caroline explains that she asked Kate to move in “in the hopes that at some point he will get the message.” Well, it seems Kate was wise to be a little concerned about her status in the household. Caroline’s motives don’t look entirely pure if this description to her mother is used to judge her commitment to Kate.

John lurks around like a schoolboy, asking questions about Gillian, trying to catch a glimpse of her.

Gillian wants out of there. Her father’s condemnation has her ready to run. John tries to chase her down, but Caroline beats him to her. Caroline wants Gillian to come inside. John peeks at them through the mail slot. He’s hilarious doing it, like something out of a Shakespeare comedy.

Gillian wonders why Caroline told Celia about her and John. Caroline doesn’t offer a very good reason, but she sees that Gillian is upset about her father knowing. Gillian tells Caroline about having an abortion at 15 and that her father just told her it broke her mother’s heart.

As Gillian heads off in the car, John speeds out, runs down the driveway and hops in beside her. He tells her she can’t ignore him. She wants him to get out. He says, “We had sex.” She says, “Boy, am I paying for it now!”

They argue and try to explain themselves. He says his publisher’s dropped him. She reveals she’s worried about the farm and money issues. Wow, does anyone have pure motives around here? He wants to come over. She says, “I’m seeing Robbie.” I don’t know what this means to a Brit, but to an American “seeing someone” implies sex. This finally gets John out of her car.

the celia death stare
the Celia death stare

John goes inside and joins everyone at dinner. Things are incredibly awkward. Celia gives John a death stare.

Morning on the farm, Gillian gathers the sheep and loads them in a trailer. Parallel to this are school children filing into assembly. Gillian and Caroline are at work herding their charges, unaware of their parents’ plans. Later Gillian is cleaning and finds the card with the appointment for the wedding on it.

Gillian calls Caroline and tells her about the secret wedding. Gillian is really bothered by the idea of not being there for her dad’s wedding. Caroline says she can be there if Gillian can. They talk a bit more, and Caroline says maybe they wanted to avoid a fuss. Caroline’s not nearly as upset as Gillian.

Gillian hangs up on Caroline and runs out the door.

Watch This: Trailer for Cinemanovels

Cinemanovels is a Canadian film starring Lauren Lee Smith. Also in the film are Jennifer Beals, Ben Cotton, Kett Turton, and Katharine Isabelle.

The film was written and directed by Terry Miles, who also wrote and directed A Night for Dying Tigers and the short They Wore Pink, which you can watch here. Lauren Lee Smith worked on both these projects, so this is the 3rd time together for Miles and Smith. Jennifer Beals was in A Night for Dying Tigers. Beals and Smith also worked together in The L Word.

I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the film. A perk was getting the chance to actually watch the film. I hope you can find a way to see it as well.

This film belongs completely to Lauren Lee Smith as Grace. It’s the inner journey and inner work of a daughter coming to grips with her relationship with her dead father. After his death, she agrees to help with a memorial film retrospective of his life and work as a filmmaker.

There are people around Grace – husband, friends, the man who helps her edit and create the retrospective, her father’s former lover. Her interactions with these people help her process and understand what she’s learning about her father from looking at the films she avoided for most of her life.

It’s very much the style of Terry Miles to show, not tell. In this film, he shows you Grace doing things, thinking about things, reacting to what she learns, struggling with what she learns. There’s never any telling, explaining, or interpretation. Grace is living this chapter in her life in her own way and we see it unfold. We are left to decipher the reasons, the motivations, and the understanding of Grace in our own terms.

The film is slowly making its way into American Theaters. I’m hoping it will be released to streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix. Soon. You can preorder a copy of Cinemanovels right now on Amazon.

Some Terry Miles films are available for purchase at cinemanovel.com.

Indigo Tongues: Short Films Interview Women in Media

Indigo Tongues is a video interview series that showcases the voices of dynamic women from Africa and the diaspora. In the original releases, the films feature women in media. I hope you’ll take the time to watch all the films available so far in the series.

The films are produced by Iyàlódè Productions. It is a company that is committed to developing, promoting, exhibiting, producing and distributing films and art by and about minority and under-represented groups.

Nigerian American actress Adepero Oduye is one of the interviewees. She appeared in 12 Years a Slave, Steel Magnolias, Pariah and many other films.

This is her interview:

You can see all the interviews at Indigo Tongues. The other short films available at this time feature:

  • Leonie Forbes, described as Jamaica’s First Lady of Theater and Film
  • Filmmaker Mariette Monpierre, the first woman to shoot a feature length film on the island of Guadeloupe
  • Award winning Kenyan Filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu
  • Funmi Iyanda, Nigeria’s foremost TV Host