This week my friend Jen and I went to see The King’s Speech at the Tara Theater.  If you haven’t seen it yet, by all means go! This is a movie about persistence, perseverance and courage. With a good dose of humor thrown in.

Tom Hooper directed this historical drama of Britan’s King George VI and his nearly debilitating speech impediment. Yes, the King had a s        s      sssssss   stamm    er.   A stammer.   Colin Firth gives a stellar performance, portraying Prince Albert (referred to as Bertie) who eventually becomes the King.  He is so human, and you can see the pain and fear in his face when speaking publicly. I found myself sitting on the edge of my chair, silently cheering him on, trying to talk for him. At times, it was painful to watch, but in a good way.

We see Bertie talking to his intimidating father King George V, and the frustration he feels in not being able to properly communicate what he wants to say.  His father ridicules him, pushing him to “just say it”,  and Bertie falls deeper into his own inner turmoil.

Upon the Death of King George V, the heir to the throne is Bertie’s brother Prince Edward (known as David to the family). David is distraught not with his father’s death, but with the complications this will place on his life with his mistress, as he plans to marry her once she divorces her second husband. But Albert cannot retain the throne if he marries a divorced woman, and he accuses Bertie of trying to use this to usurp his position. I wanted to kick David in the nuts when he taunts his brother by stammering “B B B Bertie”

If the old adage “behind every good man is a great wife” is true, they had Bertie’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, in mind. Played by Helena Bonham Carter, she finds Lionel Logue, an unorthodox speech therapist (played by Geoffry Rush)  to help her husband. Unorthodox in that he has his new patient singing  his words and swearing his practice speeches.  (Jenny poked me in the arm when Berti breaks out with “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck”–that is my favorite word, after all.)  It’s not often we see two men open up so completely to each other. Logue stays tough with Bertie, breaking down the social as well as emotional barriers between the two, eventually becoming life-long confidants and friends. The bond that eventually forms between the two men is heartening to watch. Bertie confides in Logue much of his painful childhood, and it is with Logue that Bertie finds his voice. I think it was this relationship that I most loved in the movie, although, for a historical drama, which I typically shy away from, the relationships were all well-developed and honest.

On the brink of WWII and the abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie must deliver the most important speech of his life. With only 40 minutes to rehearse, he sends for Logue, who carefully and lovingly sees him through the speech.

I loved this movie and all of the emotions it evoked in me. Anger, pity, frustration, hope and joy. Now that’s a tough mission to accomplish.

When I first learned that the book “Eat, Pray, Love” was being made into a movie, I was soooo not interested. However, my reasons for actually dishing out $7.50 for the matinee price to see it were threefold:

1. I wanted some “girl time” w/ my friend, and it was the only movie we could both agree on.

2. As the European travel editor over at, I wanted to do a movie review.

3. It’s hot as shit outside–movie theaters are nice and chilly!

Let me preface this by letting you in on the fact that I did not like the book. I liked the premise of soul-searching after a life crisis, especially one involving exotic travel, but I felt Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the book, was totally self-absorbed and turned what could have been a beautiful adventure of self-realization into a whiny, rich-girl spa vacation. Wallowing in self-pity (divorce, failed love affair–whaaa.…) Liz decides to take 1 year sabbatical  divided neatly into 3 parts, beginning in Italy, where she will experience pleasure (read: self indulgence).  Julia Roberts plays the lead character, and I find it hard to feel pity for the dazzling beauty. Had she been rode hard and hung up wet, it may have stirred more emotion.

Next up is an ashram in India, where she devotes herself to finding spirituality. She befriends a crusty Texan and a reluctant Indian bride, both of whom have lessons to share, although you get the feeling that Liz wasn’t paying attention.  When she leaves, she has supposedly become enlightened, but it isn’t clear how that came to be. Was it the henna tattooed elephant?  Her duty to play a bubbly tour guide to an incoming group of devotees?

Ultimately, Liz ends up in Indonesia where she believes the perfect balance will magically illuminate her life.  Instead of allowing life to unfold as it may, Liz continues to control not only her experiences, but to “allow” the audience to see inside her over- indulgent mind. It seemed to me that any time the possibility of an “ah-ha” moment was afforded her, she turned it back to herself and made it, once again, all about her. UGH!  It’s  as if she expects her personal insights to become the universal truth, which, frankly, comes across as a bit patronizing.

Personally (and this comes from the social-worker inside me), I would rather have heard the gritty, real, fucked-up parts of herself that she keeps hidden well below the surface. The movie (and book) focus more on Liz’s magical year of exotic travel, never scratching the surface of human suffering.  Depressed? Looking for answers? Life not unfolding  quite as you hoped it would?  Run way for a year and gorge yourself on spaghetti and sexy men, and life will turn out fine. Just fine.

Hell, give me a nice advance to write a memoir while I take a year for self indulgence, and I’ll come up with a book, as well. And I guarantee it’ll have more substance than E,P,L.

This weekend, my friend Mo and I went out for dinner and a movie.  We agreed on A Single Man, in part because the timing of the movie fit our schedules.

A Single Man is the directorial debut of fashion designer Tom Ford, and his departure from the fashion world is our gain when he decided to direct this movie.

The movie captures one emotion-packed day in the life of middle-aged college professor George Falconer.  Colin Firth plays George, who, following the death (more…)