11/04/2012

LOVE, SEX AND FAIRY-TALES

Mirror, Mirror
Hysteria
Can love, sex and fairy-tales be featured all together in one post? Yes, why not? If that's the movies I've watched at the cinema or on TV recently are about, it is just inevitable and obvious. Let's start with love in a contemporary fairy-tale (with sex but only hinted at ) I saw on ITV. Love Life is a modern-day fairy-tale broadcast few weeks ago. Why did I watch it? Do you recognize this young Brit bloke?

Rob James-Collier as Joe in Love Life
Not a clue? Maybe you remember him with slicked back hair, a bow tie and tails.

Rob as Thomas in Downtown Abbey
Thomas, the wicked first footman at Downton Abbey! What does he know about love? Very little indeed. And as Joe in Love Life, he does actually resist love and the idea of growing up or of taking responsibilities in a couple. But he will learn much about all that and about himself in this three part-series, which I liked very much.
Andrea Lowe is his girlfriend, Lucy. They are an average couple in love but Lucy's decision to come off the pill makes Joe wish to escape in search for adventures all over the world. When he comes back after twelve months, she is pregnant and her life has turned definitely into a mess:  her baby is going to be born soon without a father, her own father is addicted to betting and gambling and terribly indebted, she hasn't got a job, she's in love with Joe but hates him for being so selfish and childish.

Love Life - Lucy, Joe and little Arthur
Joe will be at her side in the great mess of her life, will take care of her and her child, will discover who the unknowing unaware father is, will be torn between his love for both Lucy and her child and his own fear to grow up. The story will turn even more complicated when the baby's father's wife (yes! he is married!) wants the baby for herself, makes up her mind and hires a lawyer ...

Curious  to see scheming Thomas as a sweet but bit shallow contemporary Peter Pan? I loved him. Especially when he decides to grow up.
(This series has ended but it is available on ITV player)

Hugh Dancy in  Hysteria 
Hysteria was on in Italian theatres for a few weeks in March. I was curious to see it,  more than for its piquant aspects, for its being set in Victorian London and its starring brilliant British actors: Hugh Dancy, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I was sure that being a British movie, Hysteria would be  humorous, light, elegant comedy and I didn't change  my mind after watching it. The romantic comedy based on the truth of how Mortimer Granville (Hugh Dancy) devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science was funny and never vulgar. 


Felicity Jones, Jonathan Pryce, Hugh Dancy
They use that breakthrough as background for a less specific story of women seizing their rightful place in society and for a bit of  romance. Victorian hypocritical conformism  and its model woman are embodied by Dr Dalrymple (Jonathan Pryce) and his younger daughter, Emily (Felicity Jones) , while his elder daughter Charlotte (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a rebellious suffragette, defies her father's wishes by continuing to run an East End settlement for the economically disadvantaged, even after he cuts off her funding. Dr Granville couldn't have got to his invention without the help of his rich and extravagant friend, Lord Edmund St John-Smythe (Rupert Everett), whose hobby is to make electrical tools.
I liked this movie but not as much as I thought I would. It was like watching a Feydeau's  farce (where you expect stereotyped characters, so no claim for that ) but without the same rhythm or  lively romps.

Last came the real fairy-tale, "Mirror Mirror", the classic story of Snow White and the seven dwarves turned into modern comedy. I'll be honest and tell you as soon as NOW that I didn't like it much (at all?) and I even found it a bit boring.
 I still remember how scared I was by the evil queen becoming  an ugly hag when I saw it first as a child in the Walt Disney cartoon version. I'm pretty sure Julia Roberts as the queen,  or as the old  ugly hag in the end, will not scare even the most easily-impressed child on Earth. This movie is more like a parody of the story than a modern re-telling.
Who will believe that an honest mirror would answer "Snow White is the most beautiful woman in the kingdom",  if they compare Lily Collins (Snow White) to Julia Roberts (the queen)? Who will fall in love with the cute prince (Armie Hammer) if he is always beaten by the seven (rather rebellious and aggressive) dwarves and left almost naked and hanging head down? If he is defeated while fighting by Snow White herself? If he must be kissed by her (and not viceversa) because a spell -a magic potion - makes him believe he is a puppy desirous to serve the queen? Can you believe me,  if I tell you I was so bored watching this movie that I hoped it finished soon?
My son commented my disappointment saying: "You wanted to see it and ... you are not a child any longer".  I don't think it is because I'm not a young girl any more (and haven't been for a long time now!)  Teenage sons can be unfair and unjust, can't they?  

7 comments:

Vava said...

Oh yes, they can be VERY unfair but ever so truthful ... I know, I have two teenage sons myself ;-) Thanks for the review, I was not sure about Histerya, now I think I'd like to see it. Silvana

Maria Grazia said...

Hi Vava!
You've got teenage sons? So you CAN truly understand me.
I hope you'll enjoy Hysteria. It's light and amusing.
Thanks for your visit :D

mommbsta said...

thank you Maria i did think that the puppy love thing was kinda... (well it's really a kid's movie then huh?)but i'll watch it for JR. can't miss the eyes and the pout on James Collier - such a different view of him on this character. teen sons...ah to be able to turn back the clock to when they were your everyday hip accesory.

Maria Grazia said...

@mommbsta
Yes, you are right, James Collier was totally different in this role. Worth seeing!
And to be able to turn back the clock would be wonderful, not only to enjoy the tenderness of motherhood :D
But we can learn to appreciate what we have and be happy all the same (when they stop teasing us!) We know how to take our little revenges on them, don't we ? ;-)
Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

Vava said...

I agree with you both. I'd love to have the possibility to re-live one day with my sons when they were little boys, about two or three years old .... and I wouldn't mind the feeling of being in my late twenties - early thirties again ;-)

Jenny Allworthy said...

Is this a support group for women with teen sons? If so, count me in!

Actually, my eldest just turned 20 and I believe that is the age when the brain fairy visits!

So glad to hear that you liked Hysteria. Sounds like a nice light evening. And seeing evil Thomas as a normal guy would be a treat.

Maybe someday we'll all have granddaughters to see girly films with!

Maria Grazia said...

@Jenny Allworthy
I didn't mean to start a club for nostalgic mothers of teenage (and even older) sons! Anyway, to share can help, it may come out as therapeutic. Granddaughters? Too soon to think about that and even in that case, one should be lucky. I've got teenage nieces and they are more like my sons than me!
Thanks Jenny!