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Entertainment

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entertainment & everyday life

To me, entertainment is music, film, theater, social media, literature, and many other things. It can often be seen as a frivolous way to spend our time, but it’s what inspires our creative souls. It’s important, and it can be meaningful.

entertainment as a creative source

It can be a creative source when look for inspiration in the music that we listen to, the films that we watch, and the works that we read. It’s a huge medium, because it is through others and their works in which we can increase our artistic inspiration. I am inspired everyday by the art that people create and share with me, because it’s a sign of encouragement for me to follow my creative curiosity as well.

Personally, literature functions as my primary source of entertainment. It allows me to travel to a different world and dimension through the eyes of others, encourages me to self-learn a particular subject that I’m curious about, and prompts me to question my own values through the themes that the book poses. The same can be applied to theater and films. Entertainment can be more than just entertainment if we allow it to be.

entertainment as a creative outlet

Just like different forms of entertainment are becoming increasingly accessible to us, so is our way to enter the entertainment industry. People seeking to promote themselves no longer need to be talented musicians, actors, singers or dancers. They can kick-start their career by self-promoting themselves through social media, YouTube, and their own blogs.

This is not to say that it’s easy to gain a successful platform online, but anyone can do it. I do it, even if no one reads my blog. But I will continue doing it because my blog is a place where I can creatively express myself. It’s a liberating way for me to find solace. Though some of these creative ‘outlets’ can be seen as more superficial, e.g. Instagram, Twitter, some YouTube ‘stars’ – the truth is, there’s no rule as to how we need to express ourselves creatively. There shouldn’t be.


I don’t see entertainment as something irrevocably separate from our reality. I see it as a way to inspire our everyday lives. What does entertainment mean to you?

-Michelle

 

The Godfather | Review

Book Info

  • Date: 1969
  • Author: Mario Puzo
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller, Historical Fiction, Drama, Classic
  • Rating: 5/5

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Film Info

  • Date: 1972
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Screenplay: Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Rating: 3.5/5

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The novel is the best crime book I’ve ever read. A combination of historical fiction, drama and thriller, I would consider this as a timeless classic. The level of character depth and wit is just top-notch. The film, however, ruined The Godfather for me. I didn’t expect the film to match the book in terms of intensity, but unfortunately, I did not even enjoy it. The film left out a lot of details and implications that I couldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t read the book.

Keep reading to see my full review and analysis!

Book Review

The novel is divided into 9 books (sections), each told from a perspective of a different character. It is through these perspectives that the reader can understand the history of the main characters, where they come from and why they do what they do. The story revolves around the Corleone Family, run by Don Vito Corleone (aka the Godfather) until his eventual downfall. This Family is one of the few organized Mafias in America – and one of the most powerful ones. The Mafias consider themselves a separate entity as equally, if not more, powerful as the government.

The plot picks up the Family when it’s in conflict, and we’re shown all the negotiations, bloodsheath, deaths, and more negotation, that goes on before everything can be settled once again. It all gets more complicated when important people conspire agains the Corleones and end up murdered, because then the desire for vengeance is real.

I went into this book with barely any knowledge of what a Mafia is, and some snippets of historical references – such as alluding to Al Capone – put this novel into perspective. This novel is set around the 1940’s and 1950’s, and though as a 21st century person I felt frustrated by the fact that communication between parties was so hard to arrange back then; but I was also surprised by how swiftly they organized their meetings and organizations nevertheless.

Corleone was one of the biggest Mafia men in the country with more political connections than Capone ever had.

The language really captivated me. Mario Puzo is an American author, but of Italian descent. I could see his Italian accent permeate through the paper, especially because the Corleone Family is Italian as well. (And this was just perfect for me, as I’m currently learning Italian myself as well) Though this particular use of language made the novel less linguistically flawless, it did help establish a suitable Italian-American ambient for this novel.

There are so many central themes in this book that entranced me. Weirdly, understanding how and why the Mafia Families exist enabled me to see the corruption of politics. These Families exist because they don’t believe in society, they don’t believe that they will get the lives they think they deserve. And so they take the matter into their own hands. I learned about the traditions and customs of the Mafias. Just like a government has its own set of laws and rules, so do the Mafias. These rules include not relying on the public legal system to solve your problems and the role of ‘friendship and loyalty’ (I put them in apostrophe because these connections are basically bound by chains of favors, not voluntary friendship).

The Corleones, by making their way up in society because they know that the government is not fair, are actually representing the corruption in society themselves. They exploit their power and connections to get what they want. They disregard hard work, education and everything that an individual can do to get the best life possible, and replace that with negotiations, money and influence. It’s an exaggeration of how organizations run today in our society, really.

“Never get angry,” the Don had instructed. “Never make a threat. Reason with people.” The word “reason sounded so much better in Italian, ragione, to rejoin. The art of this was to ignore all insults, all threats; to turn the other cheek.

Oh, the characters. I could easily go into depth for each one, but I think it’ll be more efficient if I analyse them based on rank:

  • The Family men. This includes Don Vito Corleone and his sons, mainly. They run the Family business – that is, they run the oil business and make the schemes to get ‘unreasable’ people killed. Don Corleone is the most respected character in his circle, as he built up his empire on his own. Though none of his sons match Don Corleone’s strength and intelligence, Michael is the closest one to his father.
  • The loyal men. Like the name suggests, this includes those loyal to the Family – by ‘loyal’, it means that Don Corleone has helped them with a favor in the past, a favor that they must return. Don Corleone has a lot of loyal people surrounding him, as he believes in helping not only his family, but also his family’s friends and those who come to the Don for friendship.

Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.

  • The enemies. Those who have a certain amount of power, and/or those who are not willing to accept the Corleone’s negotiations. They usually end up dead, or mourning over the dead of a close one. There are a lot of them in this novel, and it will surprise you who they are in the end.

…a friend should always underestimate your virtues and an enemy overestimate your results.

There’s also the women of the novel. This includes all the wives and/or girlfriends of the main characters. In the novel, they are established as understanding, strong and supportive women with unconditional love towards their partners. They have no say in the family business whatsoever – it’s roughly 70 years ago, after all. This puts them in a tight situation, and those who choose to stay with their husbands, knowing the danger of their jobs, have to be incredibly emotionally strong. There are good husbands like Don Corleone, and cheating bastards like Sonny and Carlo (Connie’s [Don’s daughter] husband). Though the men have to deal with the ugly business and bloodshed, their primal savage sex instincts are still there. It was horrible reading and watching these parts.

I apologize if this book review was slightly confusing. There are so many things to talk about, and I tried to find the balance between revealing the important details, but not so much as to spoil them completely (if you haven’t read the book yet).


Film Review

The movie disappointed me. I believe it tried to replicate and respect the novel as much as possible, but it was merely impossible for it to captivate the multiple perspectives and give all characters the attention that they deserved.

(*Spoiler alert*) I was particularly disappointed by the ending, when Mike becomes the new Don Corleone. He became from a respectable Dartmouth man, to this stubbornly empowered man by the end. It doesn’t even end like the book, where there’s at least some sense of closure for the characters. Nope. Nothing. The tender love Mike had for Kay Adams in the book was nowhere to be seen in the film, which leads me to my next point:

The lack of female presence in the films. Oh, the women might as well not been present. It seemed like they tried to implement them at the beginning of the film, but then pushed aside their development as the film went on. They became solely concubines, wives and mothers – without any of the love that a man should give. Without the novel, I could not have understand what the women were thinking throughout the film.

Maybe it’s because I’m ignorant about the 20th century film industry, or maybe it’s because I watched the film after I had started reading the novel. Either way, I did not enjoy the film’s screenplay nor character development. By cutting out scenes from the book and making the film more obscure, I was not able to fully appreciate Mario Puzo’s art. I’ve always liked books more than the film adaptations, but this is one example where I find the contrast incredibly obvious.

Misty Prose

Wolf Children | Film Review

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Film Info

  • Title: Wolf Children (Japanese: Ōkami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki, “Wolf Children Ame and Yuki”) 2012
  • Genre: Animation, Science Fiction, Fantasy
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Screenplay: Mamoru Hosoda, Satoko Okudera
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

I saw the dubbed version of this film, and I loved it. I thought the (English version) narrators had a soothing and pleasant voice that matched each of the characters. Though the trailer made the film seem more childish than it is, my eyes actually watered several times during the film.

The plot is a very simple one, but the touch of fantasy gives the film a dramatic twist. In a small town of, presumably, Japan, a young female narrator retells the story of her mother, Hana. As a young college student, Hana falls in love with a man who later reveals himself to be a wolf man. Their relationship develops, and during the course of the next 10+ years, we are flashed forward to when Hana gives birth to her two children, Yuki (“Snow”) and later Ame (“Rain”). Despite the changes that the family has to make to get around, e.g. giving birth at home instead of at the hospital to avoid her children been denoted as “wolf children”, and hence be subjected to further investigation that would prevent them having a normal lifestyle, Hana and the wolf man’s compassion enable them to make do with what they are most comfortable with.

However, when tragedy strikes this family and the wolf man suddenly dies, Hana has a hard time taking care of her wolf children. Between working, tending to their needs, and hiding them from the public eye, their lives in the city eventually leads Hana and her children to move to the countryside. There, the children are able to grow more comfortably and freely. It is here where we see Yuki and Ame’s personalities blossom as two opposing individuals. The identities they had as children evolve dramatically as they get older.

On the one hand, Yuki has always been the boisterous and energetic big sister. She’s dauntless and witty. When she starts attending school, however, she realizes that she does not fit in with the crowd. Her idiosyncratic tastes in comparison to the girls at her school leads her to believe that she should do more to fit in.

On the other hand, Ame grew up as the shy and clumsy one. He was by his mom’s side most of the times, and was fearful both as human and wolf. When it is time for him to attend school, like Yuki, he goes through a dramatic change. Unlike Yuki, however, the social pressure makes him recoil towards his wolf self, rather than blend in with the human crowd.

What I loved most about this film was definitely seeing the characters’ develop through the struggles of a clearly atypical lifestyle. Hana’s strength as a wife and mother is admirable, and her difficulties understanding and raising her wolf children never take away her cheerful and optimistic personality. As for the children, the people they grew up to be (as teenagers) was definitely different to what I had initially thought. I had believed that they would both embrace their wolf-human personality; however, it is clear by the end of the film that they cannot live as ‘both’, and both have chosen to embrace one identity over the other. The fact that they chose to left the other identity behind does not mean it stops being part of them, which makes their transition into teenage-hood even harder. Nonetheless, I believe the film showed beautifully how social pressures, parental guidance and external influences can create two people with completely opposed identities (Yuki and Ame), despite having the same upbringing.

On the surface, the film seems quite childish. But if you have watched, or choose to watch, the film, you’ll see that it definitely deals with issues that go beyond that of a simple film. Though there’s a conclusive and somewhat-happy ending, it’s clearly not the “happily ever after” of a children’s film. This film really resonated with other Studio Ghibli films that I have watched (despite it not being one), precisely because of the depth that it goes to portray the characters.

Recurring theme that you may have noticed from these anime films is identity and social isolation. All the characters struggle with their identity not necessarily because they are different from those surrounding them, but because they deal with bountiful amounts of inner conflicts that leads them to feel isolated from their surroundings. It’s definitely a theme that many individuals can relate to, and the fact that these films portray their complexity to its finest is just beautiful.

I hope this review encourages you to watch the film, as well as other anime films!

Misty Prose

The Cursed Child | Review

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, YA, Play

Rating: 2/5 stars


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TL;DR: The play felt like a badly written fanfiction of Harry Potter. If you ask me, it is not – and it will never be – a HP cannon. NEVER!

Note: Spoiler Alert.

Plot (Goodreads)

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Play Review

Before the book came out, all we could speculate about was the meaning of the book. I imagined that the play would specifically focus on one child in particular, as mentioned in the title. It would most likely be Albus, the boy that we saw worrying about being sorted into Slytherin at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It would probably have to do with some inevitable prophecy, as suggested. The word ‘cursed’ suggested to me something evil, sinister and uncontrollable.

But no, what we got was Albus and Scorpius stealing an illegal Time Turner (apparently right under the noses of the supposedly greatest magicians) and making rash decisions based on emotional impulses. Yes, the theme of the plot was sweet and aww-ish, the adults trying to understand their own children and vice versa, but god, it was so childish.

First of all, the characters. I did not like the grown-up Harry depicted in the books. It’s basically saying that after more than 2 decades, Harry still hasn’t learned from his past mistakes. Out of everyone, he should know how hard it is to be Albus, and the hardships of being a misunderstood child. But no, he basically acts like many parents: the decisive, stubborn ones that believe they know everything about their children. Of course, Harry’s mindset miraculously changes for the better at the end of the play, when he realizes that he has misunderstood his child all along *wow*.

As for the other characters, they haven’t changed that much either. The feud between the 3 protagonists and Draco is still there (seriously?) and the couples are still together. Though we do see Ron being more openly affectionate towards Hermione, and I loved seeing scenes showing the relationship and commitment between Harry and Ginny.

As for the children, most were basically non-existent, besides Albus and Scorpius. I have to mention here that their friendship reminds me incredibly of Simon and Baz, from Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On. Except that Albus and Scorpius only ever hugged each other, like, 3 times?

Secondly, the plot. It was so unoriginal. The most original thing in the play was probably the complex relationship between Harry and his son, but besides that, it’s not that fascinating. The play is built from plots from the past, specifically from HP and the Goblet of Fire and HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The play basically expands the dangers of using a Time Turner to return to the distant past. Additionally, it was notorious that JK Rowling did not have as much input in this play. I was used to the plot twists and big revelations in each of her 7 books, and that lacked here. It seemed that the predominant authors were trying to play-down the importance of the plot by sugarcoating it with “family issues”. Awesome.

Finally, the writing style. Ugh. Okay, so I’m probably biased as I’m not very fond of the British grammar/English/whatever. But I grew to tolerate JK Rowling’s, as everything else about her books compensated for it. But for this play, it just made everything worse. I felt that there was a lack of descriptions – in this case, they would be in the form of directions – which made the play sound flatter than it could have been. And not to mention that the English was just so childish. I mean, I get that the intended audience is probably for children, but I assumed that if the play was a canon from the last Harry Potter book, the tone would be a more serious one. But no, it had this primitive writing style that seemed like it was trying to make it all end like a fluffy fairy tale.


I think I forgot to mention that this was going to be a rant review, as you may have noticed if you actually read my whole review. I am totally not a fan of this play, and if you ask me about it a week later, I would deny its existence. I’m aware that my review is quite controversial to the majority of you… but this is really my opinion, and I can’t change that.

 

6 Seasons of Game of Thrones | Review

Title: Game of Thrones (2011 – present, TV series)

Creators: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss (based on George R. R. Martin’s novels)

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Action, Serial

Rating: 4 stars


Note: I wrote a review on Season 1 of GoT too. *SPOILER ALERT!*

Before I go into this review, I just want to say that I watched all 6 seasons from June to mid-July this year, so I didn’t really give myself time to digest every main story line after each season. I’ll just say that the human need to know who will die next is a very powerful force.

Overview of the 6 Seasons

For me, Season 5 was noticeable worse than all other seasons, and Season 6 was probably the best one so far. What I loved about the development of the series was the fact that we had to keep up with several story lines at once. But when they started killing off characters (and hence their story lines), Season 5 got really bad. However, I suppose Season 6 makes up for it, because the characters that do survive end up ‘finishing’ their deceased story lines. In other words, it was very satisfying to see how characters like Sansa and Arya finally realized who they were, and what they were meant to do.

Characters

I absolutely loved the development of the main characters throughout the series; in every season we got to see a different, or more developed, side of each character, directing their story line towards a different path than expected. Below are only some of my favorite characters, because there are too many to name them all!

  • Tyrion: He’s by far the best character (and actor) so far. The only Lannister with brains also happens to be the only likable Lannister. His sarcasm, shrewdness, and even drunkenness all make him such a compelling character. The fact that he has received so many death wishes and gotten out of every single one of them until now, never fails to impress me. I feel that many of the things Tyrion has suffered through in his early life are not shown, which made it a bit hard to empathize with him. However, when we got to see his ‘tender’ side in his fleeting relationship with Shae and how he overcame the situation by focusing on Khaleesi the bigger picture, that was more than enough. Tyrion is really something. I hope he doesn’t die.
  • Khaleesi: Daenerys Targaryen, avaluable name with a list of titles, but I’ll just call her Khaleesi here. If anyone’s untouchable in this series, it has to be her. I particularly grew to like her when she faced the challenges of ruling in the last few seasons, because that forced her to understand the reality that her people faced. Anyway, she looks like a goddess, she acts like a queen, she bore dragons… I don’t even know what she is anymore.
  • Arya: I love how she, ever from an early age, knew where her position was. She knew from the start whose side she was on, and who the enemies were (unlike Sansa, who very well took her time). I feel like she has a lucky amulet everywhere she goes, because there is always someone there to ‘protect’ her – which leads me to believe that she is unlikely to die until she has fulfilled her death list (Cersei?). Favorite quote: “A girl has a name, and it’s Arya Stark of Winterfell”, as Jaqen smiles knowingly. Go Arya!
  • Jaime and Brienne: The only reason I started liking Jaime was because of Brienne. Their story line is/was amazing. Jaime showed that he was, in fact, an asshole mainly when around Cersei, and Brienne revealed her soft heart despite the appearance that she tries to put up with. As much as I want Tyrion to be the one that slays Cersei’s head, I really hope Jaime is, in fact, the “Valonqar” (little brother) that will end her life, according to Cersei’s prophecy.
  • Jon: They killed him once, so I guess it’s safe to say that he’s untouchable, at least for some time. To be honest, I wasn’t very into his story line for the first few seasons; I wasn’t really into the Night’s Watch. But as winter got closer, their importance also grew. And that’s when Jone shone with his bravery, despite all costs. And damn, he will be some major character in the following seasons, and I’m really curious as to what would happen when he finally meets with Khaleesi.
  • Margaery: *mourns silently* Up until she died, I was constantly wary of her attitude. She always seemed to know more than she should, and act in such a manipulative way that it was impossible not to assume that she was onto something. But the scene of her death revealed that she was simply a step ahead of everyone else in the game. She never let herself be the victim, and that, I admired in her. Poor Tommen. Cersei did not deserve the Iron Throne. At all.

All of these characters have each gone through their own sh*t… and yet they have only become a better version of themselves, if they were still alive after that. It’s inspiring and humbling to see how each of them continues the continuous challenges that they face down their path.

Highlights

  • “Hold the Door!”: This scene couldn’t have been any more perfect and meaningful. Hodor’s life purpose came down to that one moment to save Bran. And it also gives us a lot to speculate about Bran’s connection between the past and the present.

  • The Red Wedding: I did not see this coming, at all (I’m so naive). My OTP of the series dying within the span of a few seconds, and then Catelyn’s throat slain at the last second – I almost thought it was a joke. This was probably the most heartbreaking death scene (along with Hodor’s) in the whole series, because it wasn’t just these 3 characters dying, it was little Ned Stark too.
  • Battle of the Bastards: It was the most epic and beautiful battle ever. Enough said. It was a bit disappointing to see Rickon appear one last time for his death, though, considering that every other Stark had a major role in the series.
  • The Winds of Winter: All of Season 6’s finale was a highlight. It was the most satisfying and conclusive ending that I could have asked for, especially after the with Ramsay and Walder Frey’s deaths.

There are so many things to talk about Game of Thrones in all the 6 seasons, but these were just some of the characters and scenes that have stuck with me the most. Now, all there’s left to do is speculate about some theories (Gendry?) and hopefully read the books soon (I really want to read the books).

 

Try Living With Lucie | YouTuber Review

If you have ever wanted to try out or get started on a new habit, but are wary of the consequences, then Lucie Fink’s videos in Refinery29 might help you out. The channel isn’t incredibly popular on YouTube relative to other channels, though it’s starting to gain popularity. But, unlike most of the most-watched YouTube channels, ‘Try Living with Lucie’ is a combination of entertainment and education to help her audience.

What isTry Living with Lucie‘?

It’s a series of videos, each of them featuring Lucie trying out “5 Days of… Something”. 5 days of meditation, journaling, adulting, being a vegan, etc. In each video, she 1) explains how she will tackle the task, 2) she gets other (professional) people to comment on the task, and 3) we learn from the mistakes and successes that Lucie makes.

All in all, Lucie usually takes on the challenge of something that many of us can relate to and do at some point in our lives, which makes the audience for her videos quite broad. Her videos are quite simple, but entertaining and, at times, educational, which make them very satisfying to watch.

How do Lucie’s videos help me?

I mainly watch her videos for entertainment, but also to relate to many of the challenges she undertakes. The thing I really enjoy about the way she organizes her videos is that it becomes very relatable to a general audience: she highlights all the struggles that she (and potentially many of us) has, and goes through a process to resolve the issue.

Lucie’s in her 20’s, and many of her videos are related to the ‘becoming an adult’ experience, such as ‘5 Days of Adulting’ – which I found very helpful to watch. It’s soothing to see how she talks about all the daily struggles that she encounters by being an adult, and it’s also helpful to see how the average life of a New Yorker is, at her age.

Additionally, Lucie also promotes ideas of self-improvement, such as 5 Days of… Minimalism, No Social Media, No Sugar, Saving Money, etc. You may find it practical and a bit too simple at times, but I find them just enough. It’s better than watching many of today’s YouTube’s videos that have no meaning in them whatsoever.


When it comes to YouTube, I try to watch educational videos, such as TED-Ed and The School of Life, but it’s easy to fall in the trap of videos that are solely for the purpose of entertainment. I feel that ‘Try Living With Lucie’ is a balance of both, which is why I wanted to promote her here 🙂

 

Review: Me Before You Film

Title: Me Before You (2016)

Director: Thea Sharrock (screenplay by Jojo Moyes)

Genres: Romance, Fiction, Disability, Drama, Contemporary

Rating: 3.5 stars


Note: I have already made 2 posts, one regarding the novel, and the other regarding euthanasia.

I had been wanting to watch the film ever since I read the book, and then saw the trailer. The scenes, music and scenery shown in the trailer resembled a lot of what I was expecting and looking forward to in the film, so I definitely had very high hopes for this film. When I saw the film, it was as lovely as I wanted it to be, but I was still disappointed on several aspect (bear in mind that I will be comparing the film to the novel):

Plot

In the novel, the story is quite lengthy, detail and complex (in terms of characters). Clearly, as someone who has read the book, I was disappointed at the lack of details that could have enriched the primordial intentions of the author. For instance, Louisa’s low-income background and struggle to financially sustain her family was completely sugar-coated. In the film, Louisa’s eccentric fashion style and lovely home do not suggest any struggles whatsoever, other than the references made by the characters every now and then.

This film had to be a shortened version of the book, due to time constraints, but I oftentimes ended up feeling as if the film were a ‘collection’ of scenes taken from the book, rather than a beautiful chronological sequence of events. Maybe if I hadn’t read the book before, I wouldn’t have been so critical about the film now.

Characters

loved that Emilia Clarke played Louisa. I love Emilia’s portrayal of Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, a character that is completely different to the one she takes on in Me Before You. Her bubbly and chatty personality was the light of the film, just like it was in the books.

However, I was disappointed by Sam Clafin’s portrayal of Will Traynor. I mean, I have never acted as a quadriplegic and I will never be qualified to act like one (or any other disability) unless I were one, but I guess this is one of the issues that will always remain controversial. I’m sure quadriplegics have as much to complain as pro-lifers have regarding euthanasia.

To be honest, after watching the film, I can now see why so many people rose in rage against the film. Unlike the book, the film does kind of romanticize Will’s decision to take his own life because he simply doesn’t want to take on the challenge and ‘shame’ of living as a quadriplegic. It is very much seen as a degrading way towards quadriplegics, and other disabilities. In the book, the tone was quite different. The controversy of Will’s decision was discussed more thoroughly and intensely, highlighting how the people that loved Will were completely against his decision to do so, until the day came.

Scenery & Props

The film was shot in the lovely town of Pembroke, Wales, which is an absolutely stunning and beautiful town – the kind that you would see in films. But then again, it seemed that everywhere the characters went to, the scenery was as high-maintenance as everywhere else. Louisa is from a lower-class (in comparison to Will), and though efforts were made to depict Louisa’s home and other places as such, it was all still too ‘perfect’. Louisa’s home was lovely, the cafe where she worked at felt warm and welcoming, her neighborhood was pristine, etc. While I was watching the film, however, I loved all this. I guess, subconsciously, I had imagined everything to be as perfect as the film showed. After all, it is kind of like a star-crossed love story.

Conclusion

The novel was lovely. The film highlighted these lovely parts, but it also made all the controversial topics more susceptible to the scrutiny of the public, unfortunately. Even though Moyes herself adapted the screenplay of the film, the tone and depth that readers could feel in the novel were lost 🙁

 

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Discuss: Me Before You Should Be Boycotted (?)

Today is finally the premiere of the long awaited ‘Me Before You’. But because of that, cinemas are only featuring it at one time, and sadly I won’t be able to watch it today *mini rant*.

Nevertheless, in this post I want to create a discussion about a main theme in the book and film: Euthanasia. News sites keep pouring with controversial articles about how the film (specifically) discriminates against disabled people and portray their lives in such way that their ‘only’ option is to kill themselves.

Personally, until I read these news articles, I hadn’t really thought about the implications of letting a quadriplegic individual choose euthanasia to end his life, because that is not how the book portrays Will Traynor.

On the side of the anti-euthanasia group, I feel that they are joining the uproar without even understanding the intentions behind the book and film. The book did not glorify euthanasia in any way. This was not a boy-meets-girl, fall in love, but boy still wants to kill himself, story. People who haven’t read the freaking book claim that they know the ‘basic plot’, without even opening a page of the book themselves. That’s what makes me so mad.

‘Me Before You’ (book) is a story about a man who is already depressed about his life when the novel starts. His financial success prior to his accident has made him depressed after he got into the accident and became a quadriplegic. But seeing how stubborn he was, hell – he would have done the same thing if he had gone into any other form of disability. Will’s mindset is very particular: either he serves for a purpose in life or he doesn’t. In the news, we often see about disabled people (either by birth or accident) breaking boundaries after going through a dark period. But in this case, Will never really finds that purpose. He does fall in love with Louisa and becomes a more warm-hearted person, but he knows that love is not a purpose in life. And I kind of liked that part of the story line, because it shows that romantic love is not the solution to everything if the individual doesn’t first love himself.

The thing is, Will decided to end his life in his case. This does not mean that every quadriplegic will want to kill himself because they were born as such, or had an accident that left them disabled. The book never implies that, and if I’m correct, neither does the film. After all, Moyes herself wrote the screenplay of the film.

Going back to the whole ‘Me Before You should be boycotted because it encourages euthanasia’ debate, I highly believe that this is so hypocritical of the public to fervently make such claim. There are countless of books dealing with mental health, disabilities and suicide (or all three) and not all of them have the happily ever after that we are all so used to seeing. And yet, when one of these books happen to be adapted, the public is outraged without even having read the book. Moyes in no way promotes suicide, and it never glorifies euthanasia in the book. Every character in the book was against Will’s decision to go forth with his decision (you would know that if you read the book).

Additionally, I am currently reading ‘After You’, the sequel. Louisa’s life is pretty lousy at the moment, to be honest – relative to her life in the first book. If you read this book, you would see that Will’s death did not make anyone’s life easier or better in any way. If Louisa and the others’ lives become better, it’s because of the strong will that resides in them, because they were able to pull through such torment. Not because of Will.


What is your take on this controversial debate? Please share your views in the comments below!

 

Review: Game of Thrones (Season 1)

Title: Game of Thrones (2011 – present, TV series)

Creator: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss (based on George R. R. Martin’s novels)

Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Action, Serial

Rating: 4 stars


5 years after it started, I have finally decided to jump on the bandwagon. I have never been particularly interested in fantasy historical fiction (in both books and films) primarily because I often found their plots too complex for my taste.

But it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of this show, fall in love with the characters, and become attached to good-hearted characters, who we know may or may not have their heads slain off at the end.

Commentary

I feel that one of the things that has acted as the ‘hook’ throughout this series (at least in Season 1), is the uncertainty as to who are the main characters. Surely, I can point out that Daenerys (or Khaleesi) and members of the Stark family (Catelyn, Bran, Arya, Robb, etc.) are the heroes of the series, while the Lannisters and their minions are the villains. But, just when things were getting convoluted, we have Drogo and… Ned Stark killed. I wouldn’t say I’m surprised to see them both have their eventful deaths, and my initial reaction was, obviously, “what the heck?!”

But every time a character dies, another character(s) grows stronger. Khaleesi is my favorite heroine so far in the series (how can she not be?), and she’s the one character whose growth in confidence has been the most noticeable. From being her brother’s slave, to being married off to the leader of the Dothraki tribe whom she has not previously been acquainted with, to being the most courageous female leader by the end of Season 1.

As for the Stark family, clearly Ned’s death has sparked a closer connection among them, and though this is a weakness for the family now that they’re more desperate to get Sansa and Arya back, they also have their own bargain to trade for (Jaime).

I love the fact that the reason behind all these schemes, wars, killings, whatnot, are rooted to such stupid reasons, e.g. Jaime pushing Bran from the tower to avoid him spreading the news of his incestuous relationship with Cersei, and hence the bastard children. That one thing spread faster than a virus to all the consequent events that followed. It can be for the most emotionally-driven and dramatic reasons, but it’s such a direct reflection of how we often act today.

Note: I’m aware that I’m oblivious to probably MOST things that have happened since Season 1, but I have not seen nor read anything related to Game of Thrones beyond Season 1, and don’t plan to until I’m nearly caught up with all the seasons.

Conclusion

I’m already on Season 2. I don’t think I will stop watching it soon, because I won’t be ‘settled’ with the series until I’m satisfied with it, and I think it’s pretty clear that the show is not going to let me be anywhere near ‘satisfied’ with this show until the producers themselves end the game.

By the way, is it me, or does Joffrey Baratheon resemble Draco Malfoy like, a lot? They both act like maniacal despots (oh wait, Joffrey is actually a despot now), yet they have nothing better to threaten people with other than their father or “mother”.

 

5 Most Anticipated Upcoming Films 2016

There are a number of films that have already been released that have already hit the box office, such as “Deadpool” (which I just saw), most of which I have yet to see.

But that doesn’t stop me from getting excited about the films that really, truly want to see this year. Below I have compiled a list of 5 films that are in my list of most anticipated films for this year, which are mainly in the genres of drama, adventure, action, and – occasionally – fantasy.

 

1. Me Before You

Release date: June 3

This is the film that I want to see this year. After reading the book and watching the trailer, I believe that this will be one of the few films that will actually meet the expectations of the novel.

If you’re a female – you probably get me. If you’re not – you probably think this will be another sappy chick flick. It probably will be.

 

 

2. Finding Dory

Release date: June 17

If you grew up watching “Finding Nemo”, there is no way you can not be anticipating this film. Unlike other animated films *ahem* “Monsters Inc” *ahem*, Disney is (thank god) fulfilling the wish of every inner child that still exists in us, and releasing the sequel to the first film.

 

 

 

3. Suicide Squad

Release date: August 5

A combination of action, adventure, fantasy and comedy. Seems like the most popular combination for hero films nowadays. But in this one… it is the super villains who become the super heroes. It goes off the hero’s journey pattern, which is why I’m incredibly curious as to how this film will turn out.

Also, the cast seems killer, and that’s pretty much enough to get me to watch the movie.

 

4. Now You See Me 2

Release date: June 10

It’s a great mystery and thriller film about the power of magic – that is, as long as you don’t over-analyse it. Many criticisms talked about the lack of character development, which is so subjective and hard to pull off with a theme like this one.

I’m eager to see this sequel, particularly about the addition in the cast, I’m also dubious as to how it will pull it off.

 

5. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

Release date: November 18

I’m not exactly a fan of fantasy (in both films and books), but this is an exception. I started and finished the Harry Potter series this year, and anything that is related to the series and and/or J.K. Rowling is a must read/see for me.

 

 


What 2016 films are you most excited about and/or have yet to watch?

 

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