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Anl. Feminism in BBC’s Musketeers

Another show with fantastic female characters is the BBC’s Musketeers. At first glance, one would assume the show would have weakly portrayed women because of its name. The series is focused on the relationships between the main four Musketeers.  However, this adaptation does things differently through its portrayal of: Constance, Milady, and Queen Anne.

 

Constance Bonacieux

It’s fascinating that Constance in this show is married. She is unhappy about the marriage, it is slowly suggested, as she goes on adventures with D’Artagnan and the Musketeers. For example, she helps with the escape of young Prince Henry, Louie’s nephew. She even helps fight men throughout the series.

She takes charge of her own destiny when she openly asks D’Artagnan to, “Teach me how to shoot.”  And, she is not a beginner, either. She is shown as strong and capable. She kicks butt.

But, it is not just her physical abilities that are impressive. I love that she longs for adventure. She tells D’Artagnan, “Things were quiet before you got here, monsieur.” When he apologizes for this, she says that she doesn’t miss it for a minute!

In fact, D’Artagnan understands that part of his charm is that he can help her have a life full of adventure.

Milady De Winter

The most obvious feminist figure on this show is probably Milady De Winter. She is unattached to anyone, and focuses on her own wellbeing. She is a rogue agent for the most part. Sure, she follows the orders of the Cardinal, but she also has her own way with the Musketeers, particularly Athos and D’Artagnan. Plotting for revenge, she is often shown as an angry force to be reckoned with.

From her attempts to get Athos killed to her assassination of various political figures, it is impressive to see such a remarkable strong woman at such an old time.

She is a fascinating figure as she somehow built her image, her rank, and networked her way through royalty. What can you not love about Milady?

Queen Anne

Anne takes charge of her world through her ruling. She is very sensible, and often clashes with Louie and the Cardinal. She is analytical and clever, questions Louie’s mother, and in general grows into her own reign with strength.

I like that her love life reflects this strength. While infidelity is not synonymous with strength, I do think she has more control of her life than the average woman at the time did. She chooses to be with Aramis and chooses to keep his child. She chooses to be a strong-willed queen and not be ruled by her husband, who says that “I have never seen a woman with so many opinions.”

Your turn:

What do you think of the presentation of women in BBC’s Musketeers? Do you have any favorite characters on the show? Favorite relationships? Share in the comments!

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Love, Rosie

If you ever want to experience a love story, a beautiful one at that, read on. I watched Love, Rosie because the trailers were just breathtaking. A story of two people missing each other over and over can be exhausting, but it is not the case for this film. It is a lovely story about two friends, best friends, who are not sure if there is more to their relationship than platonic love.

And, they go through relationships with other people, longing for each other, trying clasping hands and staying together in some form or another. The relationships are not negative in any way; there was no demonizing of anyone. I mean, there was cheating involved, but it did not make the people seem like bad people. They just didn’t work as a couple. That’s life.

Maybe this is why the film means so much to me: it is one of the few films that deal with my age group without making us sound like boring people. You don’t stop having feelings after you are eighteen. Unfortunately (or not), that is not how it works. Heartbreak is still a thing. Trust issues, clarity, confusion, agendas: these are all things we see in the film. We see what it means to find a soul mate, no matter what the age, no matter how quick it can happen.

There’s crying in this film; there is heartbreak, obviously, but there is also joy and beautiful, beautiful cinematography. Wonderful acting is another positive aspect of this film.

Guess what, though? I would not recommend the novel. It drags on and on. Just watch the beautiful film and enjoy a love story that doesn’t depress you.

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Romance and Sexuality in Pushing Daisies

One of my favorite series ever is Pushing Daisies, a show about a pie maker called Ned, who briefly raises people from the dead to solve their murders and bring them justice (and collect the reward, too. That can’t hurt, right?). This is his life until he has to unfold the death of his childhood sweetheart, who he touches to learn about her killers only to realize that he cannot part with her. In doing so, he brings her back to life for good, but with one caveat: he cannot touch her ever again.

Tone:

The show is sweet and charming. It has bright colors, sweet characters, and a PG plot. What makes it truly fascinating is its contribution to the ongoing conversation about sexuality and romance. In the absence of touchy feel-y moments, the show is surprisingly able to contain enough love to tide its audience over. In fact, it offers a rather satisfactory take on romance, where both parties rely on touching with gloves on, hugging in bulky suits, and kissing with saran wrap.

 

Different Take on Sexuality

At a time where sex is presented as a synonym for romance, this is starkly different. Ned, in general, is very shy and, given his background and magical abilities, he is not too crazy about touching people overall. And, Chuck respects that. She doesn’t glamorize his trauma. What’s really cool is that Ned’s powers are treated as very much part of him that Chuck learns to accept, much like someone’s sexual orientation (asexual, perhaps?) and sexual preferences. Yes, Chuck sometimes tries to find physical stand ins so she can pretend to hold Ned while holding their hands. But, she quickly learns that love doesn’t have to be physical.

sex isn’t synonymous with romance

In a way, the show divorces sex from romance, which opens up the dialogue about sexual orientations and preferences. It frees people and drops the expectation of intense physical contact as part of human relationships. It is the center and forefront relationship, which is quite unorthodox–and it makes the show stand out.

Your Turn: 

Are there any representations of asexuality in media that you like? Share in the comments!

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Anl.: A Birder’s Guide to Everything

A Birder’s Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments of brilliance. Well acted, beautifully shot, and wondrously written, the film spans over 86 minutes full of awesomeness. I thoroughly enjoyed it, to put it bluntly, because I felt that the film was executed well, but also because it has universal themes transcending age, race, and gender.

 

Nature and Its Beauty
David is a nerd. There is no denying this fact. His friends are in a birder club, where they talk about nothing but birds. Tim tells a disgruntled member of the club, “This is not a dating service” insinuating the seriousness of the club’s tone. Losing said part of the group, the trio are stuck with Ellen as they try to photograph an extinct duck. 
Obviously, nature plays a huge role in the film. The friends can be seen identifying birds by their physical features or their sounds. And while there is plenty of beautiful scenery in the film, there is also an understanding of nature’s cruelty presented. As a vegan, I interpret the death of the duck as a symbol of humanity’s ignorance and disrespect to all beings, really. 
 
In a way, though, this demise leads David to understand that his quest is not realistic. You can’t live a life watching birds without dealing with humans and all their baggage. We see this through his grief of his mother’s death, his father’s marriage, and the death of the duck. 
Adulthood and Maturity 
 
He also has to deal with the growing changes he and his friends face: adulthood and maturity. Throughout the film, Tim mocks Peter for not being brave enough. Tim was super interesting to me, because he reminded me of myself a bit…okay, a lot. The foul mouthed, show off, who is lying about his awesomeness resonates with me. Ellen is a challenger to his beliefs and attitudes as a young man trying to find his place in school’s society and in the grander scheme of things. He gives her grief throughout the story until the annoying birders attack her which is when he defends her, “Her name is Ellen.” The tension between them could be because he sees her as a sexually mature person, and it makes him uncomfortable. In addition, he does sense that she is interested in his best friend (David) and that is unnerving. 
 
Aside from all of this, it is a funny, poignant movie. It has beautiful relationships and endearing characters. Definitely one of my new favorites, for sure. 
 
 
 
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Dreams & Destruction: Inception

There are two other ways many mentally ill patients, or traumatized individuals, deal with their overwhelming feelings: dreaming and construction. Like I have said before, this is not “sadness,” this is energy coursing through veins urging, moving a person. Inception is a story essentially about a team of “dream hackers,” who try to implant an idea to help a wealthy man stay wealthy. I think this is the simplest explanation without any spoilers.

Things to Love About this Film and How it deals with Trauma, Dreams, Creation, and Destruction as Coping Mechanisms:

1. Nolan is careful to point out something that I was so happy to see: when you create worlds, it’s a very complex process. Dreaming is not easy—especially for those who are traumatized. We see that Cobb his subconscious knows, the people in the dream will look at him and they know that the world is wrong.

2. We see a lot of preparation, planning, and frustration. Unlike Sucker Punch’s Snyder, Nolan does not pretend that the dream world, or implanting an idea (inception) is easy.

3. This gives dreams a whole new weight. What we dream, whether literally in our sleep or when we are awake, consciously can lead us to a conclusion and then an idea that can ultimately change our lives.

4. We see that this is a team effort and that, even in “dreams,” we have fights and full on wars to fight. I like that a person can protect their dreams, have some sort of security—all while you’re sleeping, you can have armies defending your secrets and fears. Our dreams say so much about us…

5. The leads me to Cobb’s trauma issues with Mal (come on dude, look at her name!). Dreams, the worlds we create—projects, jobs, friendships, families (“in real life” or “in our sleep”) can be the death of us

7. Female empowerment, thank goodness: essentially the story begins and ends with women—Mal, the woman who locked away her “reality check” tool (which I thought was a cool addition, by the way) and started to confuse which world was which. Ariadne is an architect, but she soon becomes a creator of worlds; however, she learns not to put herself in them too much. We never learn a thing about her, Arthur, Eamus, or our awesome Yusuf.

8. The film’s artistry essentially taught (hopefully) people to dream and (de)construct to deal with issues.  We all have the power to create. It’s the restraints we place on ourselves, the rules.
Dream Away…

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