Another three books checked off this month, with a fourth almost finished. The first was ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here‘ by Patrick Ness. I found it generally enjoyable and easy to read, polishing it off in two burst.I enjoyed the idea of being disaster adjacent, of kids just minding their own business while shit goes down around them. Following this, I finally got round to reading ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling‘ by Robert Galbraith. I grew up on Nancy Drew books and loved reading mysteries, and this book reminded me why. Thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters and I liked that the ending wasn’t really drawn out over multiple chapters. I also read ‘On the Jellicoe Road‘ by Melina Marchetta. I have a friend who always raves about it and I’d read two Marchetta books in high school, so I figured I’d give it a go. It completely destroyed me. I’m not even joking. There were tears. Very Australian, with moments that felt supernatural and genuinely made me uneasy, and just all-round heartbreaking. Finally, I’m almost finished with ‘Rewire: Change your brain‘ by Richard O’Connor which is fascinating from a psychological point of view, but not really that helpful in a general ‘give me some tips, I need to stop doing this shit’ sense.
I’ve really been enjoying the return of the Mack. I’m not apologising.
Got a lot done this month because my work wife and I were trying to see as many Oscar nominated flicks as we could before the awards.
Jackie: The film takes place immediately following JFK’s assassination and I found it pretty harrowing to see it from Jackie’s perspective. I cannot imagine being in that situation, or how I would act. It felt more realistic to me than a traditional biopic, more psychologically real. Much like the glamour of the Kennedys, the film could easily have fallen into the trap of superficiality, but it maintained a balance and dignity that never felt forced. Like most biopics, I had to resist the urge to google a thousand things while watching it but overall, I thought it was a good little film and Natalie Portman did a phenomenal job of not only capturing Jackie’s mannerisms and quirks, but also capturing a real sense of emotion. The outfits were also on point.
Lion: I know this is based on a real story but I had somehow completely missed the whole media coverage around this and had no idea how it was all going to turn out. Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel were both captivating as Saroo. Nicole Kidman also turned in a great performance. And Dev’s Australian accent was surprisingly good! Loved the use of food as a trigger for memory, very Proustian. It’s a very powerful story that really hits you in the feels.
Moonlight: Maybe it was just because I was tired but this didn’t do anything for me. I’ve read these amazing reviews for it since I saw it and I wish I could have had that experience but for me it felt like the film your friend makes for his final film project that you try to be supportive of but don’t really get. It’s too arty for me, is what I’m saying. I wanted it to be shorter, and quicker paced. I found the camera work jarring and annoying. I also found it really odd that the story starts with an adult basically just taking in a kid he finds loitering around to lunch – just doesn’t seem like a reasonable thing to do when you find a kid somewhere it shouldn’t be. But I completely appreciate what it was trying to do in telling a story about sexuality and masculinity, and I’m 100% for telling more stories about different communities and experiences.
Manchester By The Sea: I didn’t know what this was about when going to see it and if it had been described to me (man has to return to home town after his brother dies to take care of his nephew, also: traumatic past) I probably wouldn’t have gone to see it. But it is by far my favourite out of the four. Just a phenomenal piece of storytelling, perfectly paced and with genuinely funny moments despite quite a bleak outlook. And the main scene with Michelle Williams was devastating. A well-deserved Best Original Screenplay Oscar winner. I loved this so much.