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Posts Tagged ‘Meryl Streep’

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Year of release: 2018

Director: Ol Parker

Writers: Richard Curtis, Catherine Johnson, Ol Parker

Main cast: Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Cher, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Andy Garcia, Alexa Davies, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Christine Baranski, Hugh Skinner, Josh Dylan, Jeremy Irvine

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Genre: Comedy, musical

Highlights: Julie Walters steals the show, Colin Firth is getting more handsome by the day, the music

Lowlights: Fewer laughs, more poignancy, a lot of lesser well known Abba songs

Overall: An enjoyable sequel once you have got over the shock of the main character from the first film being dead (not a spoiler – this is revealed at the beginning)

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This film is based on the life of Karen Blixen (played here by Meryl Street), a Danish woman who, in the early 20th century, entered into a marriage of convenience and moved to Africa to run a coffee plantation with her husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer).  When he abandons her, she starts a romance with free-spirited game hunter Denys Finch-Hatton (Robert Redford).

I first saw this film at the cinema when I was a young teenager, and to be honest, I found it boring; most of the story lines went over my head.  Watching it again now as an adult however, I thought this film was rather beautiful, and very rewarding.  It is so much more than just a romance, although the romantic aspect is beautifully played out.  Without the help of her husband, Karen has to learn to survive on her own wits and intelligence, in a time when it was not easy to be a single woman.  She becomes independent and stronger than she probably ever could have imagined possible.  Redford – who looks as beautiful as ever! – is wonderful as Finch-Hatton (although his character was likely somewhat sanitised for cinema audiences), and the relationship between these two headstrong characters was very believable.

It is a long film – the best part of three hours, and in some parts very slow moving.  It is very much a character driven story, rather than a plot driven story, but it is well worth the investment.  Shot partly  on location in Kenya, the scenery is simply stunning, and made me want to visit the area.

When you have actors like Streep and Redford on board, you know that you are going to get good performances, and they don’t disappoint.  However, I did find Streep’s Danish accent somewhat irritating at first, but got used to it.

It took me a long time to come back to this film, but I am very glad that I did so, and would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes a moving, thought-provoking film.

Year of release: 1985

Director: Sydney Pollack

Producers: Kim Jorgensen, Sydney Pollack, Anna Cataldi, Judith Thurman, Terence Clegg

Writers: Karen Blixen (book ‘Out of Africa’ and other writings), Judith Thurman (book ‘Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Story Teller’), Errol Trzebinski (book ‘Silence Will Speak’), Kurt Luedtke

Main cast: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Michael Kitchen, Malick Bowens, Mike Bugara

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Anne Hathaway plays Andrea (‘Andy’) Sachs, a young woman who hopes to become a journalist and gets a job working at the globally successful Runway fashion magazine, as second assistant to Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep). Initially the other staff feel that she doesn’t fit in, because she does not believe that fashion is the be all and end all, and because she is a size 6 (equivalent to a UK size 10) which is considered fat – and she doesn’t even diet!!  Andy does find herself fitting in, after a little help from fashion designer on the magazine, Nigel, but she discovers that working for the famed and feared Miranda Priestley means that you are not allowed to have a personal life.  Andy is expected to be ready to bow to Miranda’s often totally unreasonable will at any time of day or night, and finds herself struggling to maintain her relationship and her friendships.  She also notes that Miranda herself sacrifices much in the way of family life for her job – and Andy will eventually have to choose what is most important to her…

I enjoyed this film – but not as much as I expected to.  Anne Hathaway was sweet and perfectly cast, and Meryl Streep was superb as the ruthless Miranda. Mention should also be made of Emily Blunt, who played first assistant to Miranda, and Stanley Tucci who played Nigel, a designer on the magazine.  Both of these actors were terrific in their roles.

Possibly the reason why the film underwhelmed me was also to do with the whole message it was making.  I found the obsession with the fashion industry which is depicted in this movie, to be very shallow – but that’s kind of the point! And I totally understand that in such circumstances as this film is set, Andy’s perfectly gorgeous and healthy size 6 frame would be scorned (and that people would be scandalised that she would dare to do something so shocking as EAT CARBS!!), but it was an attitude that I can’t relate to.

Andy is basically a decent person, but she realises that in the industry in which she is working, people will step all over each other to get what they want, and she herself behaves in ways which she is not proud of.

Now – I know this is what the film is basically trying to say…fashion is nice, but is it worth sacrificing your personal life for?  And is it ever worth treating your friends and family badly for?  But despite a great cast, this movie just didn’t really do it for me.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s not awful, it’s just not really all that great.

One final word – I was expecting this to be a very funny film…it isn’t.  Some of the things that happen are funny, but only because they are so superficial.  But overall it left me somewhat dissatisfied.

Year of release: 2006

Director: David Frankel

Writers: Lauren Weisberger (book), Aline Brosh McKenna

Main cast: Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci

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