Tag Archives: Movies

My Fair Lady at the Guthrie Reviewed

Those two heathens you saw sneaking out of church early on Sunday? That was us. We were going to the theater. And call me a sinner (or maybe just an English major), but sometimes theater does more for my soul than church ever could. (God has used stories in powerful ways in my life, but I suppose that’s an entirely different blog post . . .)

We had tickets for the 1:00 showing of My Fair Lady at the Guthrie. Happy birthday to me.

myfairlady

I’ve gotten the impression that it’s sacrilegious or something, but I had never seen the Audrey Hepburn movie, so I didn’t really know much about the story, but it did not disappoint.

It was the best production I’ve ever seen at the Gutherie. Or anywhere. I don’t think it gets much better. The music, the acting, the costumes, the set—oh, the set!—were incredible. I recognized half of the songs. And to top it all off, our tickets gave us access to a Q & A with some of the actors after the show.

The discussion afterward was what got this English nerd really excited. They talked about the controversy surrounding the ending (did you know the movie version is different from the original ending written by George Bernard Shaw in Pygmalion?), the quality of the shows at the Guthrie (just as good if not better than what you get in New York, they said), where the actors came from (some from New York, one from England, some locals), and which scenes were the most challenging (“I’m Getting Married in the Morning”). And there were some pretty cute kids asking about advice for young actors.

It was thrilling to see people who love their work get excited about it and want to share their thoughts with the audience, who, by the way, had given them a standing ovation.

If you’re going to be in the Twin Cities between now and August 31, go see it. And if you’re not, get here and see it anyway.

And if you’re 30 or younger, sign up for the Guthrie’s 30 Below program to get rush tickets without having to stand in line. It’s a glorious thing. And if you’re lucky, you may even get free tickets to a show or two.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. I’ve already been trying to figure out how I can see it again!

Ender’s Game: The Movie

Ender's Game Book

I promised a review of the Ender’s Game movie two weeks ago nearly a month ago (and it’s been written since the day I saw the movie . . . ). Oops.

I alluded to it when I reviewed the book, but I wasn’t impressed with the movie. I’ve been telling people not to bother watching the movie—just read the book.

I suppose if you’ve already read it, you might enjoy comparing the two. If you don’t know the story at all, skip the movie and just read the book. At least read the book first.

The movie was everything I thought the book was going to be—flat characters in space suits fighting battles with aliens. But the book was so much more than that because of the character development and complexity of the plot. It went beyond the physical storyline and allowed you to understand the characters and their motivations. That’s what got me past my ill opinion of science fiction and made me love and empathize with Ender. The movie didn’t do that for me.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the movie was Ender’s age. I knew before I even saw it that they couldn’t make him only six. In the first chapters the book, his young age magnified the significance of his prodigy and the effects of his training. Because he was older in the movie—about 11—and because the movie failed to show the passage of time (it seemed to be a year rather than several), Ender lost the time necessary to develop the long-term side effects of his training and he lost the young innocence that made his story so fascinating.

I was also bummed that the secondary storyline with Ender’s siblings, Valentine and Peter, was completely ignored in the movie. It wasn’t my favorite part of the book, but its absence hindered the full development of Ender’s character. Without an understanding of the people who were closest to Ender, you can’t fully grasp why Ender loves Valentine and hates Peter.

So I give it two buggers out of five, if only because it was something to remind me how wonderful the original story was.

The Great Gatsby

Gatsby-EyesWhen I found out The Great Gatsby was being made into another movie, I was prepared for failure. The trailer made it look like nothing but sex and alcohol. Granted, that’s a big part of the setting, but yuck. But I wanted to see what they did with it. And I was especially curious to see how Leo did as Jay Gatsby.

When I read The Great Gatsby as a high school junior, I fell in love with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s pretty words. It wasn’t so much the story as it was the language that endeared the book to me and fixed it in my memory as a favorite. (I suppose that’s usually the case with my favorite books—it’s more the way the words are put together than what they mean.)

My husband (despite wanting to read the book again first) took me to see it. And let me tell you: It. Was. Fantastic. It’d been eight years since I read the story, so I was fuzzy on some of the plot points, but I felt like the film captured the essence of the book well.

At first, I was put off by what Jonathan called “stylistic” filming style, but because the story is being told through the eyes of Nick as he writes it down, it makes perfect sense that it would take on a magical quality rather than be a realistic portrayal. That style lent itself well to maintaining so much of the symbolism from the book. If it had been done any other way, some of the elements—like the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock and the oculist’s billboard—would have been overkill.

I’m no expert, but I thought the acting was excellent. The actors made the characters more sympathetic than I remembered them being. Leo did a great job as Gatsby—he captured his desperation well. I always had a special hatred for Daisy’s character, so I appreciated that Carey Mulligan helped me to see that her character didn’t have to be quite as . . . stupid as I always thought she was. And that added depth to the story.

I read the book again right after I saw it. I just love Fitzgerald’s writing style. If you haven’t read it, you should. And then, you should see the movie. So worth it!