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Philomena (viewed 22 February 2014 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2014)
Ireland! Evil nuns! Selling babies for profit! Awkward talks about sex! “Human interest” stories! Travel abroad! What more could you want? I was angry by the end, and I’m glad Sixsmith (male protagonist) wasn’t able to forgive the nuns, either, because I sure as hell wouldn’t have been able to. Best lines:

Philomena: And after I had the sex, I thought anything that feels so lovely must be wrong.
Martin Sixsmith: Fucking Catholics.

Saving Mr. Banks (watched in theaters 26 January 2014)
Mrs. P.L. Travers was a handful, wasn’t she? Yes, but so was Walt Disney. Ugh; double standards. I liked it, I guess; I liked Colin Ferrell’s character, and then I didn’t like him because he was a drunk and a dick to his wife. Watched this for a family night; Grandma’s choice. Travers had a hard time in Los Angeles with Walt Disney (not to mention he didn’t respect her repeated request to be called “Mrs. Travers” instead of “Pamela” or “Pam”), but in the end it felt like he got what he wanted anyway? I don’t know; I like a woman who’s hard to ignore, and I don’t like a man who disrespects that, so. And now I have to watch Mary Poppins again just to see if there’s any red in the film at all.

Frozen (viewed in theaters 29 December 2013)
Saw this with family: Johnny and Trish, Mom and Dad, Bunny, and Grandma. As for my thoughts? Honestly? No. It was… not that great. It really had nothing to do with the story upon which it was based, and I just don’t even have time to go into how I really feel about the film overall. The snowman sidekick was terrible. The two men characters (Kristoff and Hans) aren’t even in the original story to begin with, the two women characters (Anna and Elsa) are suddenly sisters (really?), and the only decent character was Sven (Kristoff’s reindeer—I’m not even kidding) even though he wasn’t in the original story either. Ugh. Here, just read this. It’s how I feel.

Ender’s Game (viewed in theaters 29 November 2013)
The family saw this on a whim one Friday evening with some extended family (paternal aunt and her wife), but we weren’t exactly organized in our travel and other arrangements and we missed the first half hour. My sister and grandma saw all but the first few minutes, though, and they said that if you’d read the book, the beginning wasn’t particularly necessary since it’s basically setting up the scene and characters for audience members who have not read the book. Best line: [impatiently] “This is basic rocket science, people.” Also, I agree with the Slate review. Also, Orson Scott Card is a heterosexist dickwad.

Gravity in 3D (watched in theaters 26 October 2013)
Really good. My dad and I saw this together in 3D. Sandra Bullock basically carried the entire movie by herself. My dad works as an engineer at JPL and his primary concern, of course, was the complete lack of scientific accuracy in the main character’s traveling between the various space ships. (It was related to relative orbits around the Earth, etc., but don’t ask me to be any more specific than that.) As a civilian/commoner, however, I thought the film held up really well; artistic liberties had to be taken so that the audience wouldn’t have to sit through an astrophysics lesson, after all.

FFF 22: Recovery

After she’d been to the group several weeks in a row, Sarah worked up the nerve to introduce herself when the mediator asked for anyone new who’d like to step forward and begin their recovery.

“My name is Sarah, and I’m a recovering singleholic,” she said to the group, her hands in tight fists on her knees.

“Hi Sarah,” came the standard group response. She took a deep breath to calm her rattled nerves and glanced around the group. Sarah was a young-ish woman—in her early 30s, probably—and she was hardly either the youngest or oldest in the circle.

“I never wanted to be married or have kids,” she began tentatively, her voice growing stronger with the sympathetic nodding around her. “Honestly… honestly, I still don’t. I never even wanted to get married.”

She put up a hand as if to stop someone from interrupting her before anyone could try. “I love my partner, of course,” she said, and then hastily corrected, “my husband, I mean. Of course I love him, but I never wanted to marry him.”

The nodding, murmured agreement spurred her on, her voice taking a half-frantic tone. “I never wanted any of this; not the wedding or the ring”—she twisted her wedding ring around her the third finger of her left hand as if it was too tight—“not the pregnancies, not the resulting children. I just—” she stopped when the woman next to her, an older lady with greying hair, handed her a box of tissues.

Sarah took one and blew her nose loudly before continuing. “I hate this life. I just want to run away, and I want to never have stepped on this path in the first place!”

The mediator leaned forward from her seat a few chairs away and put her hand on Sarah’s knee to comfort her. “We’ve all felt what you’re feeling now, Sarah.” She glanced around the room for confirmation and received it in varying degrees of enthusiasm. “Sometimes, we still do. Admitting that you’ve got a problem is the first step. Admitting that you would rather be unmarried without children is the first step to your recovery. Welcome, Sarah.”

This post is part of Flash Fiction February.