Friday, November 29, 2019

What I Read and Watched in November

We were crazy busy, but I found time for five films and five books. The movies were unusual.

1) First, was The Fencer (Amazon prime), a slow-moving, beautifully filmed movie about a young fencing instructor trying to build a life for himself in post-WWII Estonia. It was loosely based on a true story and won an Oscar for best foreign language film of 2016 (Finnish with subtitles).
2) Then we watched Harriet in the theater and loved it. I was glad to have been forewarned about the moments of intense violence and profanity. They did not predominate, but kept the movie grittier than my usual fare. The acting, singing (Negro spirituals) and filming were phenomenal. Surprisingly, Tubman's faith was shown in a realistic and respectful way.

I watched 3 Hallmark movies and I paid attention to the titles (for once!) because they were so unlike the typical Hallmark flicks.

3) I watched the cheesy, unrealistic Angel in the Family (2004) and was amazed that the family was dealing with REAL issues. And, unlike current Hallmark offerings, nobody was eye candy.
4) Then I watched The Christmas Card (2006), which was the movie that put Hallmark romances on the map. The acting was nothing to write home about, but I enjoyed the normality of the family's Christmas decorations. (The preponderance of lights, wreaths, and snow globes in the present productions borders on the ridiculous.) Who knew that Hallmark used to make movies about normal people?
5) I never meant to watch A Godwink Christmas: Meant for Love, but it came on after The Christmas Card and started playing before I got my hands on the remote. The whole idea of a "Godwink" nauseates me because it reduces God to a benevolent, jolly Father Christmas figure and ignores his majesty and authority. I'll get off my soap box long enough to say that this movie really surprised me because the protagonist didn't have a trivial problem like choosing between boyfriends or jobs. She had a serious illness and there were no easy, fluffy solutions. Based on a true story.

Finally, the books!

1) I detested Venetia by Georgette Heyer. I've enjoyed a few of her other books so you'll have to read my review at Goodreads to see why. Next was The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart, the best book on minimalism I've read to date. Sing a Song of Seasons was a lovely, humongous poetry book with a nature poem for every day of the year. We Refused to Die by Gene Jacobsen was a POW memoir about life in a WWII prison camp that was okay. Lastly, I read Joseph Crosby Lincoln's Cap'n Dan's Daughter, which was, also, just okay. (All links lead to my reviews.)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving week! Have you read or watched anything good lately?


1 comment:

Becky said...

I got Sing a Song of Seasons from the library after you highlighted it a few weeks ago. It is a gorgeous book with lovely poems. I had not heard of it before, so thanks for reviewing it! The Christmas Card is one of my favorite Hallmark Channel movies. The Fencer looks good. I'll have to try to get a copy.