Confessions of an Elbaholic: If Your Friends Are Losers, Ditch ‘Em

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I have a serious problem. I keep gravitating towards films starring Idris Elba: indie, blockbuster, praiseworthy, flop, it doesn’t matter: I will watch them all! (I almost unwittingly made an Ash Ketchum reference and commented on how it’s not Poké balls I’m interested in, but never fear, I’ll keep it PG13.)

Houston, there are not enough hours in the week for my problem.

Also, spoilers ahead.

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This week’s culprit is The Losers. An aptly named film about a CIA team consisting of Roque (played by Idris Elba), and his four compatriots who, after a mission gone horribly wrong, are stranded in Bolivia without identities, and very few resources. Understandably Roque is frustrated. As a leader Clay (Jeffrey Dean Moran, or Javier Bardem, who knows) is not pulling his weight. While Roque simply wants to get back home, Clay is intent on fighting the evil mastermind who has landed them in this mess, and foiling said mastermind’s evil plans. I mean, his goals are just unrealistic. Sometimes a guy just doesn’t wanna save the world, y’know? Sometimes a guy just wants to get home and eat the junk food he’s used to.

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Fortunately for the men a resourceful and wily Aisha (Zoe Saldana) appears and it looks as if they might have an escape route. Though Roque does display some doubts, due to Clay being led astray by women in the past, he eventually agrees to along with the plan.

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His instincts turn out to be right, though, when Miss Resourceful’s plan falls through, and she doesn’t deliver what she promised. As you might expect, Roque blows his top, and really, I mean, can anyone blame the guy?

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So, then after everyone realizes they should’ve listened to Roque from the start they concoct a new plan. Under the wonderful leadership of Clay (who apparently is swayed more by his gonads than anything else) they continue to act on information Aisha gives them.

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I had the same expression, too

Anyway, Roque turns out to be right yet again in his doubts, because it’s revealed that Aisha has only been in on the whole thing as a way of getting revenge on Clay for killing her father; you know #justgirlythings.

At this point my eyes were rolling so hard in my head that it was starting to look like the 60s in there. These guys get hoodwinked twice by the same person. (Also, what’s up with that romance angle, anyway? Aisha is way too young for Clay. He should be her uncle or something.)

Why does no one listen to Roque?

Why does no one listen to Roque?

But it turns out Roque is smarter than the others because he secretly formed an agreement with Max AKA Evil Mastermind, so that this time his plans to return home wouldn’t be left in the useless, incompetent hands of Clay. I know, very cleverly done; I didn’t see it coming at all and had to admire his discretion.

So things start looking up for Roque, because it really feels like all he’s ever wanted is at his fingertips, and he can finally ditch his loser friends. But then in one of the worst and unexpected tragedies, Roque is suddenly wiped out in a fiery death. It’s sort of out of the blue.

Most Tragic Scene in the History of Cinema

Most Tragic Scene in the History of Cinema

After that, the movie really flags. It’s just about Roque’s loser friends completing the mission, defeating the bad guy, and going home to their families.

For the most part, it’s a pretty good film. Elba’s in about 80% of it, and while the other 20% just seems to have a gaping hole, you can pretty much replay the Elba bits in your head so it isn’t too unbearable.

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2 out of 5 stars.

Pro tip: could have had more Elba in it.

Honourable mention goes to Chris Evans singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the elevator.

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Fake Love Conquers All

I don’t know if anyone else has heard but Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have called it quits, and I for one am more disappointed about it than I would like to admit. I don’t usually follow the trajectory of relationships involving people that I don’t personally know (or are non-fictional), but for some inexplicable reason I’ve always had a soft spot for Ben and Jen. Bennifer. Jenjamin. Garfleck. I mean, the romance just writes itself. Or wrote.

So this comes as a bit of a nasty surprise, and I find my belief in couplehood bliss a little bit shaken. And where can one turn to for comfort in times of such amorous trouble? Fiction, of course.

Hence, as evidence of happy coupledom, I’ve compiled a list to set the most cynical heart aflutter.

*Sources are linked in the images.

1 Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth from Persuasion

Yes, they got off to a rocky start, but these two lovebirds pretty much sang the same besotted tune for the eight years they were apart from each other. I know Anne tried to put Wentworth out of her mind, and Wentworth was kind of a jerk at the start, sticking his flirting in her face, but the truth is, try as they might, they could not get over their love for each other. Constancy is an amazing thing for a cynical romantic living in the twenty-first century.

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2 Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

The above two shouldn’t really come as a surprise. They are after all the quintessential couple. They probably epitomize coupledom in all its glory – two people who, though they initially grate on each other, mature by learning from one another, and admitting their flaws in the process. That’s the kind of character development that ensures a deep and abiding bond.

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3 Betty Suarez and Daniel Meade from Ugly Betty

Speaking of a deep and abiding bond. You can’t get more deep and abiding than these two. Betty and Daniel started off their relationship as boss and employee, which then blossomed – beautifully, heartbreakingly, and so wonderfully satisfyingly – into one of the best friendships I’ve seen portrayed on television. Friendship is so underrated, in itself, or as a prelude to romance. This show, however, showed how important and beautiful a friendship could be. Betty and Daniel learned from each other, and were better with one another, and seeing them together, even as friends is heart-warming. When the series ends, it’s on the cusp of something more, a tiny exhilarating hint that suggests a fulfilling future for the two, but even without the that you know the two are better for having one another in their lives.

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4 Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing

Ah yes, Beatrice and Benedick. These two captured my heart with their incessant squabbling and caustic sparring. Even when they were throwing vitriolic insults at each other their chemistry was undeniable, and I’m in quiet awe that a man who lived hundreds of years ago could have me agonising over the fact that this couple absolutely, indisputably, irreversibly had to be together. May you make many cynical babies together, Beatrice and Benedick.

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5 Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle

Can we all just take a moment to pay obeisance to Diana Wynne Jones, who told a story that was not a romance but made me pine anyway for the joining of Howl and Sophie with all the fire that would take to run a moving castle? I think we can.

Howl and Sophie are a bit like Benedick and Beatrice. Or rather, I should say Sophie is a bit like Beatrice, all spitting insults and sharp edges, while Howl sheepishly maneuvers himself around her, trying to avoid her rages, or simply igniting them further with his charming smiles, or his humouring, patronising attitudes. The charm and quiet power of this story, is that, just like Sophie, you don’t realize there is a romance unfurling until you’re in the thick of it. It’s beautifully done, more so because it’s not typical. Jones made me sigh about a couple that says nary a soppy word of romance to each other, and for that all I can say is: Kudos, Ms Jones, kudos.

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6 Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox from You’ve Got Mail

Ah, my obsession with You’ve Got Mail rears its head again. Seriously, people of the world, do yourself a favour and just watch this movie already. We can all thank me later.

But you guys! Kathleen and Joe bond over letters! Online letters (I think they’re called e-mails?), but still. And books! And all the weird, and quirky and ordinary things they see around each other. And they both own bookstores. Could there be a better love story? I think not!

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This film pays homage to the Lizzy/Darcy and Beatrice/Benedick type of relationship out there. You’re happy to cheer from the sidelines whenever these two share screen/page time together, be it for clashing or kissing.

There, I feel a lot better already. Now tell me, reader, which fictional couple makes you believe in true love?

Spicing Up French Cuisine

The Hundred Foot Journey is a feel-good movie. It has gratuitous shots of delicious food, gratuitous shots of the South of France, and gratuitous shots of beautiful people making Deep And Meaningful Connections.
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The beautiful Manish Dayal making a DAMC with the beautiful Charlotte Le Bon, x

(Maybe they aren’t so gratuitous after all?)

I know there are plenty of light-hearted, feel-goodTM, films out there involving food, music and the South of France, but surely one more couldn’t hurt right? Especially when the whole concept can be revitalized by adding a little spice into the mix? And by spice, I mean India. Just so we’re clear.

Sarcasm aside, it really is an entertaining movie, and I enjoyed the mix – Southern French and Indian (Mumbai style, to be specific) cooking mix very well together – visually, at least. I’m no culinary expert so I don’t know how the combinations might actually taste.

The movie centers around Hassan Kadam (though that might be hard to deduce from the movie poster) – a young man whose love of food, and deep, instinctive, and sensory cooking style was instilled in him by his mother (played by Bollywood darling, Juhi Chawla).

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 Following a tragedy that takes the life of his beloved mother, Hassan leaves India with the rest of his family, travelling to England, and ultimately France, where they attempt to make a new life for themselves. Under the bull-headed optimism of their father, they open up an Indian restaurant, opposite the village’s local reputed restaurant, giving both some healthy dose of competition.

Helen Mirren, the head chef, and their arch enemy, finds she has much to contend with, in the form of Hassan’s cooking.

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Hassan is one who utterly absorbs his surroundings and the ingredients he works with, fusing them to create the perfect harmony. There were so many metaphors in there for finding that perfect balance in life while encountering the new and the foreign – the most obvious one being the family’s Indian cultural background and new French surroundings. It’s a connection which Hassan is able to best navigate at first, using it to help him to see the world differently, imagine possibilities of which others can’t even conceive. 
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His life is one of creativity and his joy is in the process of the creating; and as with the journey that he makes from protégé to a reputed chef, the vitality and exuberance of his life lies in the journey of each day, the journey of each recipe that he meticulously works at.

The blending of cultures and his knowledge is not a destination but a process without end. Or, to put it in a cliché, the journey is the destination.

The movie has shades of magical realism. There were suggestions of the mother’s continued presence in the family through father’s remarks about what she wants and doesn’t for them – she is obviously present in Hassan’s cooking, but there are also magical overtones with his use of the “special” spices from India. They seemed to be special for reasons more than that of having belonged to his mother previously, though their “speicalness” is never really specified, other than being there to emphasize how “exotic” they are. Spices are great, but the only magical powers they possess is that of cranking up the flavor in a dish. And despite Hassan having a small trunk of several different spices, they managed to mention cardamom about fifty million times.

 
 Though it’s a frothy film it sits on strong acting – each cast member delivers their absolute best – it’s been awhile since I saw the film but the characters are still very present in my head.Despite expected incongruity, the dream-like, filtered Southern France, and the pulsing, almost tangible Indian music went very well together. Curse you, A.R.Rahman – I have you to thank for not being able to get this melody out of my head since I saw the film.

Fair warning, though: make sure you watch this film on a full stomach. Even without missing any meals mine was grumbling by the time the credits rolled around.

Tales to Leave You Livid


You know how it is – you make a post after a long silence vowing you’ll blog more frequently, but then it just so happens that the next post follows an even longer silence. It’s like those coffee meet up that people plan on when they run into each other after a very long period of time.“We should have coffee some time!”

“Yes, we totally should!”

*Both proceed to make no effort at all for yet another longer period of time.*

(Why is it always coffee, anyway?)

So, to artfully break this awkwardness, I decided to come up with a list. It’s a well-known fact that lists are very good for avoiding awkward situations.

It’s another well-known fact that there are so many stories out there that you’re bound to fall in love with a few of them. But there are a several more that are also very likely to incur your wrath, leave you snorting like a minotaur at the fact that you just wasted several very precious hours of your life invested in something that you did not know was going to turn into utter crap in your hands.

Here are a few that did:

Anastasia

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This is a gorgeously animated film set in pre-Soviet Russia – it is deeply atmospheric, with seamless dialogue, endearing characters, and music makes my heart twist. Plus, the story of Anastasia was touching to me, when I first watched it. Naturally, I set about looking further into the topic. Imagine my horror to find that reality was not quite so serendipitous as the movie made things seem. Anastasia was never reunited with her remaining family members, and it was confirmed that she was very definitely dead. I can longer watch that film with the same joyous abandon as I once did.

Little Women 

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Don’t get me wrong – I love this book. I grew up loving the March sisters, celebrating their joys, and grieving with them through the darker pages and, in fact, it is an overall wonderful book. But there is something that I will never be able to get over.

Amy burning Jo’s stories. She burned them. That is unforgivable. I was horrified just as much as Jo when I found out that she’d thrown them into the flames. What a wretch. My heart hardened, just as Jo’s did, and I’m not saying that Jo should have let Amy drown when the ice cracked, but my ten year-old self was sure that there was no need to talk to her after that. Yes, clearly I was a cruel child.

Jo may have forgiven you, Amy, but I never will. I never will.

A Beautiful Mind

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This is the film inspired by the true life story of genius mathematician John Nash. While he is able to navigate the intricate world of that subject, he also finds that his grip on reality is not what it was once was.

There is a beautiful scene in the film, when the doctor outlines to John and his wife the enormity of the situation, emphasizing that it will be an extremely difficult one for the family. When the wife and the doctor leave, Nash sits there believing that his wife has taken the man’s advise and left him. But a minute later she re-appears, vowing that they will endure this struggle together. Nash crumples in tears and grief, and my relief was as strong as his. It is the best scene in the film.

I later discovered that Nash and his wife actually did split during his illness – and they may, of course, have done it for entirely valid reasons, they may have both agreed that the separation would be the best way to heal – whatever it was, it is their business. It wasn’t the reality that I was angry with, so much as the fact that the deception of the film was there. That loyalty and constancy portrayed in the film was one of the most powerful things about it, and to discover that it’s a fabrication detracted from the whole experience.

Go Ask Alice

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No story made me see red like this one. This book claims to recount the true story of Alice (the editors claim all names have been changed for protection), a teenage girl from the eighties who suffers from the insecurities of studies and body image, and like any other teenage kid tries to do her best to get by. Alice, however, gets to experience the frightening world of drugs at one party, and from then on she’s totally and utterly hooked.
She yo-yos between fear of getting in too deep, and the blood-pumping desire to feel thrills like she never has before. It leaves her an utter mess, and she repeatedly finds herself homeless, with each escape stranding her in a worse situation than the previous one. I was tearing my hair out worrying for this kid – I kept reading through a headache because I wanted to find out what happened.

It was all for nothing, however, because guess what? It’s all a lie. It’s edited by Beatrice Sparks, a child psychologist, with questionable qualifications, who clearly felt that a cautionary tale of drug use was needed. I probably should have guessed from the rampant homophobia within the book, as well as the questionable teen voice. Apparently Beatrice Sparks has tried her hand at a few other teenage memoirs, all clearly designed to shock and horrify audiences. And I almost fell for this one. Shame on her. It drives me up the wall that this novel gets shelved in non-fiction. Though many can’t be blamed for it, as to all intents and purposes that’s what it looks like – the copyright page on my copy did not specify that this was a work of fiction, while other copies supposedly do.

This book left me gobsmacked. I was speechless that someone would try and push this out as a true account. Most likely though, I was probably stung that I’d fallen for it.

There you have it, dear readers. Now, tell me which stories stung you.

From Lizzie to Jane

    No doubt all the Austenites have been keeping up with The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and all the fun and awesomeness that came with that bit of creativity. It was a great new platform with which to tell a story that’s already been told a thousand times it seems. And when it ended I felt a bit like a an old soccer ball – a bit deflated, without purpose, and weirdly . . . abandoned. (Issues. I’ve got ’em.) 

   But! Fear no more! Purpose has re-entered my life once again. In the form of…. The Autobiography of Jane Eyre! 

Mr. Collins, he feels me. (Um…)

  Two videos have been released so far. This group is in no way related to the guys who were involved in the LBD, though it’s meant to be in the same universe and Jane talks about how Lizzie was her inspiration for starting a vlog. (Is it weird that a little thrill of delight shot through me while writing that?) 

  Only two episodes so far, but what they have is great and I’m already so excited. I was a little tentative about watching it, but I can see how the Jane of the novel has been translated well into the twenty-first century. What I especially loved about the LBD was the way they wrote in the most significant and recognisable lines from the novel, something which left me very excited and gleeful and fangirling over the writers. And it seems I can expect the same with Jane’s videos as well. 

  Not only that but the quiet, observant and expectant atmosphere of the beginning of the novel is captured very well in the first video. It’s a sort of trailer. I’m kind of in love, I think. It’s Jane. And she’s in our world! Even more real than she was in my imagination. Talking about the same books and hobbies as us. Here, watch and be excited:



I can’t wait for the rest. 

   Sincerely,
     Lady Disdain 

Wit (2001)

   It seems lately that I’m gravitating towards films that tend to leave me feeling like a bit of stray, limp pasta that never quite survives the draining and ends up on the edge of the sink hole. Not a very pretty picture, is it? But then, Wit isn’t a pretty film. It is gritty. And unashamed. And it throws light on all the ugliness that gets shoved under the rug. It will leave you squirming in discomfort, pity, heartbreak, and maybe a little guilt.

Wit stars the splendid Emma Thompson as Vivian Bearing, a university lecturer who becomes diagnosed with terminal cancer. Following that, the film simply documents her reactions, her revelations, and her reassessment of herself and her past.

   “It appears to be a matter, as the saying goes, of life and death. I know all about life and death. I am, after all, a professor of 17th century poetry, specializing in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne.”

The film jumps back and forth, between the past and the present; between the younger, more vulnerable Vivian who clings to words as a means of protection and understanding the world without interacting with it, and the older Professor Bearing who either whips out words like weapons, intending to vanquish with a single, sharp blow or draws dry circles of wit around unsuspecting victims.

Despite the fact that this film deals with such a sombre subject as cancer, it doesn’t hold back on the humour. Or maybe humor’s the best (only?) way to treat such subjects as these. I guess many people wouldn’t be interested in watching an hour and a half of  footage of a prickly lecturer feeling sorry for herself if she wasn’t also laughing at herself while she’s at it. While Professor Bearing doesn’t necessarily laugh at herself she is continually finding humor at the situation she’s in. And then she’ll look directly at you with that look of complete deadpan disdain. Emma Watson is pitch perfect in delivering the wit and humor.

“I have been asked ‘How are you feeling today?’ while I was throwing up into a plastic washbasin. I have been asked as I was emerging from a four hour operation with a tube in every orifice, ‘How are you feeling today?’. I’m waiting for the moment when someone asks me this question and I am dead. I’m a little sorry I’ll miss that.” 

   But soon Vivian comes to realize that wit is not enough. She starts to yearn for warmth and friendship. For the human contact that she has spurned for so many years. As someone who is undertaking a new cancer treatment she is nothing but a means of achieving results for the doctors. And it’s a little heartbreaking to see her struggle inside the shell that she’s created for herself.

   Ultimately though, the film becomes a study in looking beyond the screens we all prop up around ourselves. In finding the humanity that exists not only in others, but in ourselves.

I shall leave you with my favorite lines from the film, which are uttered by Vivian’s own lecturer, played by Eileen Atkins, and which seem to lay out the purpose of the whole film. They will punch you in the gut with how profound they are.

“The sonnet beings with a valiant struggle with death calling on all the forces of intellect and drama to vanquish the enemy. It is ultimately about the seemingly insuperable barriers separating life, death and eternal life. 

   In the edition you chose, this profoundly simple meaning is sacrificed to hysterical punctuation. And Death, Capital D, shall be no more, semi-colon. Death, Capital D comma, thou shalt die, exclamation mark!  If you go in for this sort of thing I suggest you take up Shakespeare. 

Gardner’s edition of the Holy Sonnets returns to the Westmoreland manuscript of 1610, not for sentimental reasons I assure you, but because Helen Gardner is a scholar. 


It reads, ‘And death shall be no more, comma, death, thou shalt die.’ Nothing but a breath, a comma separates life from life everlasting. 


Very simple, really. With the original punctuation restored Death is no longer something to act out on a stage with exclamation marks. It is a comma. A pause. 


In this way, the uncompromising way one learns something from the poem, wouldn’t you say? Life, death, soul, God, past present. Not insuperable barriers. Not semi-colons. Just a comma.”



   Sincerely,
Lady Disdain

 

Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

   
   It’s always said that the best stories are the ones that make you reassess your perceptions of life, coax you to look at things with a slightly different lens. Stuart Shorter’s story definitely falls into that category. 

   I’ll be honest. It was Benedict Cumberbatch’s role in this film that made me seek it out. I’ve already got several things queued up after stalking his IMDB profile, something which every grade one fan does. I was definitely expecting to be entertained. But I wasn’t expecting to be blown away. I wasn’t expecting to have my feet swept out from under me, to be short of breath, and have sobs tearing out of me to my own surprise. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

   Stuart: A Life Backwards tells the story of Alexander Masters, a writer who decides to document the life of his new friend, Stuart Shorter. In his spare time, Alexander does some extra work helping the homeless, and it’s through this work that he comes to meet Stuart.

   Stuart isn’t exactly homeless – it turns out that he does have a small flat, and even a car (although he doesn’t have a license). It’s just that he can’t rely on a steady income, because he’s unable to hold a job, because he’s so maladjusted to society. And he’s so maladjusted to society, because society messed him up in the first place. 

   I’ll be even more honest. Stuart’s story is sad, okay? You might have already deduced that from my earlier slip about sobbing my guts out. But it just is so bloody sad. My insides are still crying for him and I saw the film two days ago. My mind is still in the story which probably tells you how good a story it was. Or maybe it just tells you how obsessed I am.


   But never fear. Well,  fear a little

   You don’t have to fear a lot, though, because there are some great moments in this film. The brightest part of this story is the friendship between Alexander and Stuart. They are an unlikely pair. Despite the fact that Alexander’s helping out at the shelter, and obviously has an interest in helping the homeless, he seems almost flippant in his role. At the start of the film, anyway.The friendship starts off cautiously, and then it careens into overdrive when Stuart (almost) barges into Alexander’s flat; following that the two are pretty much thrown together as they work on a campaign to save Alexander’s two bosses as well as the book that Alexander has decided to write about Stuart. 

 Stuart: Do it backwards. Like a murder mystery. Like a bestseller. You know, like what Tom Clancy writes. How did I get to be like this? What murdered the little boy I was?

    The film has a sort of rough, unpolished look to it, a look which, to be honest, I didn’t immediately take to. I actually felt it was a bit of a failing when I first saw it, but as the film progressed it grew on me. And now looking back, it actually seems very suitable. Its simplicity brings a depth of reality to the story, which is quite apt as the film is based on a true story. The realness emphasizes how much closer such stories are, how present the darker stories are, hiding behind other shinier lives.

   It captures the roughness and rawness of life, as well as the mundane and the wonderful. The best parts were Alexander and Stuart simply being friends and laughing together. It made me so happy to see their relationship grow into this easy and comfortable connection, especially when that friendship was contrasted with the far darker aspects of Stuart’s life.


Alexander: You’ll be okay? Call me if you need any help. 2am, 4am. Anytime.  

   And there are definitely a lot of dark moments. Dark things happening to Stuart, dark things happening around Stuart, dark things happening because of Stuart. There is just so much dark in his life, but thankfully the dark is dispersed with some moments of light as well. After watching the film in its entirety I was actually surprised that Stuart wasn’t worse off than he actually was. In fact, by the end I had come to the conclusion that Stuart was actually pretty well adjusted considering all the horrible, awful things he had had to endure.  

 Alexander: If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

Stuart: Well, how much is one thing? It’s easy to blame, isn’t it? Muscular dystrophy . . . Gavvy. Honestly, it’d be easier to change me.

Alexander: One thing only.

Stuart: The day I discovered violence. 

The day that I found violence, I felt fifty times more strong. . . After you’ve been bullied, and pushed about, and called ‘spastic’, you learn . . . that violence, and fear of violence and madness, it scares people. I used to deliberately get myself enraged. And after six months, I found I couldn’t stop. 

Stuart: You know what, Alexander? Sometimes . . . I think I’m the child of the devil. I let the devil in. Now I can’t get him out. I tried . . . burnin’ ‘im out, and cuttin’ ‘im out. He just say, ‘no, no’. Why should he? He don’t want to be homeless.  

   Those lines. They hook me. And I don’t mean ‘hook me’ as in grab by attention immediately and completely. I mean, they’re painful, as if metal hooks are sinking into my insides. I’m not sure if those lines were written specifically for the film or if Stuart himself actually said that. Turns out that the local library does have Alexander Masters’ book so I plan on reading it and finding out for myself.


   This film just keeps weighing on my mind, forcing me to think about how I may have judged too quickly and harshly, making me question my own level of ignorance and capability for compassion, as well as marvel at the immense strength of Stuart Shorter. 

   I can’t wait to read that book. 

   Sincerely,
     Lady Disdain 

Edit: I just noticed that I made a hideous mistake: I did not mention Tom Hardy’s acting at all, which considering the effect this film has had on me could either be an indication of my colossal idiocy or excuse me from such harsh judgment. 

How, you ask? Well, because Hardy’s acting totally immersed me in the film. At no point did I think, “Oh, Bane’s doing a pretty good job of playing a homeless man plagued by real-life nightmares.” All I saw was Stuart – his life, his struggles, and his emotions. I was lost in Stuart’s world for the entirety of the film. And I think that speaks volumes for Hardy’s acting, more than any of my attempts at commentary could.