So we all have them, some old some new, we all have those films that after you watch them this wave of emotion comes over you and your whole body is filled with what has colloquially been named ‘all the feels’. I love theatre, i love cinema and i love tv. I sometimes however find it hard to connect to what i see on screen. I feel because of my actor training and performing upbringing i find i place myself in either the actor or directors shoes and 99% of the time i can guess the ending before it has happened. That brings me onto these three films. I pretty much knew what to expect with the films below yet i couldn’t help but surrender to the emotional reactions they caused. That’s what i believe makes these films – special.
If you have seen this film I’m sure you are not surprised to see this on my list. Like any other woman, I am proud to say I am a feminist, and even knowing (because it’s right there in our history) what’s going to happen with this film, I think the acting, the cinematography and the angle they attacked this story created such an outstanding film from all perspectives.
Whilst I obviously enjoyed the performances of the extremely talented cast, it’s the raw elements of the film that got my emotions running wild. The simplicity of it being a film outlining our history, our struggle and our progression with getting women the right to vote paired with it’s truth outlining the extreme lengths that were taken just to have a voice as a woman that left me speechless. This film proved to me that there really is a difference between reading and watching something, for myself it was arguably much easier to feel connected to this film rather than the cold facts i read in a history class as a teenager. I say this as reading about the suffragettes when I was younger, I read it, I accepted it in our history and I was outraged about it, but I moved away from that. Is this selfish of me? No I’d say it’s not, as I have grown up I have become more of a woman and have learnt more about the world and obtained my own voice, I’m more aware an appreciate of the uphill battle women have progressively fought. When it came to the films climax scenes and more specifically the Derby, there was that striking, almost heart beat rhythm that scored under the race and as she held the flag up to the cameras, my whole body came over cold. I knew what was going to happen but something over took my emotions. I think it was a combination of fear, dread, sympathy, anger but most of all hurt. I couldn’t speak after the film ended. It was a film based on our history but i have never thought about my reality more. My friends and I sat around each other in silence for quite some time before we could even begin to talk about what we had just watched.
When I heard about spotlight I immediately wanted to see it, how is this going to be portrayed I wonder? The answer to that…perfectly. Again credit must immediately go to the wonderful team of actors who immerse themselves in their roles of reporters at The Boston Globe newspaper. The movie which is again based on true stories and actual facts, is one that will make you feel sadness in the pit of your stomach. How did the churches get away with this for so long? What I admired about this film was that it felt long, that’s right. This film felt like it went on for a lot longer than it did, because it had so much intricate detail in it. They left no corners unturned, every single piece of the story you could have wanted, every twist, every turn, every presumption and every question you asked yourself throughout the duration of this film was covered. All whilst maintaining this hope of how they would shut down this despicable cycle hidden amongst the churches. The film has segments where they talk to survivors of the abuse, personal experiences and stories are explored and some scenes are a little hard to watch. This is entirely because of the sensitivity of the topic they are covering. The core sadness of this film is rooted in the question of how much sooner could this have been recognised, acknowledged and stopped?. These three actions paired with the incredibly long list of places where epic counts of child molesting by the church has been accounted for makes one of the hardest to watch but most appreciated by myself films I have seen, period.
First let me set one thing straight, I’m not a crier. What I mean by that is until this film I have only ever cried at two maybe three other films; Titanic, Beaches and The Lost Valentine, however I have never cried at a film like I did with Still Alice. There is no one else who could have played this role, Julianne Moore exceeded all possible expectations I had set. She captured the essence, the stability, the strength, the weakness the highs and the lows of this woman’s life with ease. She built a woman, Alice, with such a charming nature that created one of the best character portrayals I’ve seen in a movie. Bold statement? Probably, but undeniably true. The story itself is heartbreakingly sad and without giving too much away the deterioration of Alice’s life with Alzheimer’s really does tug at the heart strings. Watching her slowly fade into someone she doesn’t even recognise, pulled emotions out of myself I didn’t even know I had. I sobbed. Really sobbed. I couldn’t form words, perhaps because there isn’t too much separating this film to personal issues but also because it’s just a situation I dread. I was moved by Julianne Moore’s performance so much I found myself asking, what if I was her? What would I do? I put myself into her fragile shoes and that’s when the weeping began. The cinematography of this film is fuelled by the delicate and fragile nature of Alice, the lonely mirror shots, the fading blurred memories, the stillness and the silence create atmosphere and depth of which i couldn’t begin to comprehend. I think what i really took away from this film was that we are all capable of being torn down, even those who appear to be the strongest of us all are able to succumb to greater weaknesses.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, i hope i didn’t give too many spoilers away. (Though most of you will already know what’s going to happen, because it’s right their in our history) These are just my opinions on the films and how they made me feel.
Let me know in the comments if you have seen these movies and what you thought about them.
Thanks for reading,