Movies: Can You Ever Forgive Me, Tea With the Dames, Colette

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Can You Ever Forgive Me

There is so much “background” to this story about a celebrity biographer, Lee Isreal, that never makes it to the screen we are not sure where to begin.  So we will skip the real story and focus on the film we actually viewed.

Melissa McCarthy delivers a stunning portrayal of a down and out biographer struggling to find work in New York when she slips into a pattern of embellishing letters and soon creating her own letters she then sells as original documents.

It is also a heartbreaking story of loneliness and despair.  There are also lots of surprises for the viewers.  There are solid performances by Christian Navarro, Dolly Wells, Ben Falcone, Jane Curtain and Tim Cummings.  The pivotal character Jack is given life by Richard E. Grant.

The film is rated R for language including some sexual references and brief drug use.  It is listed as a Comedy, Drama.  We say light on Comedy and heavy on Drama.  The run time is 107 minutes.

Rating  

Tea With the Dames

What can you say about four British icons gathered at the estate of Joan Plowright (and her late husband Lawrence Olivier).  Life long friends and peers Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith spend an afternoon reflecting on lifetimes of performances and friendships.  Collectively these close friends add up to 342 years old!

No surprise the banter and reflections are warm, spontaneous recollections of four stunning careers spanning decades.  They are pretty candid, often transparent about what was good, bad, their tears and fears, including love lives.

The list of archival footage is a virtual who’s who of stage, film and television.  Audience response has been exceptional with approval ratings ranging from 60 to 100%.

The film is not rated.  It is listed as a Comedy/Documentary with a run time of 1 hour, 34 minutes.

Rating  

Colette

While this was an interesting story of the author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette who wrote a provocative novel under her husbands name and later struggled for years to regain ownership of her work, it is also a reminder of the legal and social limitations imposed on women of the late 19th and early 20th century.

The acting is quite good featuring Keira Knightley as the wife and author, Dominic West as the wheeling, dealing husband, Fiona Shaw as the mother along with dozens more in lesser roles.

While the acting and production are highly entertaining, there is an undertone that is pervasive and annoying.  We did come away from the viewing with a warm fuzzy feeling.

It’s rated R for some sexuality and nudity.  There is a fair amount of conflict and discontent.  Nonetheless it is a good period piece about a tumultuous time in history.

Rating  

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