Anl. Women in Sherlock’s World

I love the way women are portrayed in BBC’s Sherlock. It is refreshing to see women presented as equals, worthy of the men in the story. In particular: Molly Hooper, Irene Adler, and Mary Watson are wonderful women who are strong and clever. They play major roles in the story. 

Mrs. Hudson

Before I begin, I obviously have to talk about Mrs. Hudson. Without her, Sherlock says, “England would fall.” While she is often dismissed, however, she still manages to be central to the story. For instance, she embodies the show’s audience through her assumptions about John and Sherlock’s relationship. Often, she is surprised by John’s attempts at finding a girlfriend.  She provides commentary on Sherlock’s mess. Yes, she is sometimes comic relief. But, she is also the voice of common sense.

Molly Hooper

Molly is interested in Sherlock romantically at first, and her attempts are thwarted. She comments on his actions, seeing right through his ways of hiding his impending death. She whispers, “You look sad when you think he can’t see you.”

Sure, Sherlock thinks she can replace John. But, she is surprises the audience often. In the Abominable Bride, she is part of the revolutionary body of women. Even in the series itself, Molly is powerful enough to introduce Jim Moriarty to Sherlock.

She is crucial. She helps Sherlock so much, just to help humanize him, so much that she helps make him “dead” and then “alive.” He trusts her with his secrets–from his awareness of the necessity of his death, to the way he is hidden from John and everyone who knew him.

Irene Adler

Adler is the dominatrix who brought England to its knees. She is “The Woman.” She is presented as everything Sherlock is unaware of: sexuality and manipulation of people’s insecurities. She flirts with Sherlock openly, discomforting him with her recorded moans on the phone as text alerts.

I think more importantly, like Hooper, Adler presents a powerful connection to Sherlock’s humanity. She makes him care about her through their dialogue and connection over intellect. Unlike Molly, Irene successfully makes Sherlock uncomfortable. She threatens Mycroft, who is presented as the “clever one” (in series 3 and in the Christmas special). The Ice Man and the Virgin are manipulated by her and she almost wins. Her emotions, like Molly’s, give her away, but she is still respected and protected by Sherlock as seen in series 2.

Mary Watson

What the creators of the show have done with Mary’s character is also very inspiring. It’s awesome to see her have her own back-story, where she is a “very bad girl.” She is a capable and strong woman, who confuses Sherlock throughout their encounters at first.

He doesn’t know what to make of her, just like Irene and Molly. All he knows is that something is unsettling about her. But, that’s more intuition than cleverness. She is strong enough to shoot him, to spy on him, to hack into Mycroft’s carefully gated cyber world.

“I’m taking Mary home,” John says in the Christmas special, and then, “Mary’s taking me home,” which is rewarded with a “Better” from Mary.  She stands out as a woman who is able to help John “come around” when he is mad at Sherlock for his faked death (and she succeeds).

Like the other women in the series, she is often the voice of reason while Sherlock and John bicker. Do they need her? Yes! A resounding yes over and over.  She is a clever woman, anchoring John, who, in turn, anchors Sherlock.

What’s not to like?

Your turn:

Have you seen Sherlock? Who are your favorite characters on the show? Why do you like them?

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean

Anl. Life Lessons In Star Wars

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late December of 2015. Afterwards, I have managed to acquire the original trilogy and the newest film on DVD and have been watching the daylights out of them.
Mental Power

What I truly love about these films is the lessons they posit, and the wonderful characters who are exposed to such pressures that push them to learn or at least understand difficult ideas. One of the most interesting lessons in Star Wars has to do with developing an understanding of one’s mental and emotional strength. The Force is not a literal blunt physical strength. It is invisible and yet very powerful. Darth Vader is seen choking people with the Force. Kylo Ren pauses a blaster in midair with ease by the Force.

But, as Han Solo puts in the original trilogy, the Force is part of an old religion and is all woo woo. Yet, by The Force Awakens, he openly admits otherwise: that it is all real. The Force is not too far from the imagination; it is a metaphor for spiritual and overall mental strength. It can lead to great strength, but one must train to be mindful and meditative. In essence, this is what Luke Skywalker and Rey learn eventually. They learn to still their minds in moments of fear and stress, and they concentrate.

Here and Now

In other words, the lesson is to stay present in the here and now.

Yoda teaches this lesson in the original trilogy: anger leads to hate and hate leads to destruction. Ultimately, he depicts various wisdoms: first, looks can be deceiving. Rey was shown as a scavenger who is inexperienced when it comes to the Force. Somehow, her awakening is registered on Kylo Ren and Snoke’s radar. She is an equal if not a superior Force user to Kylo, a man behind the terror across the galaxy. The same can be said about Kylo Ren, who is presented as a threat to the universe and yet, when Rey sees him without his mask, she finds him sympathetic and “sensitive.” This is very important to note because Rey’s initial assumption is that he’s just a “creature in a mask.”

 

Identity and Independence

Identity and independence are also themes in the Star Wars stories. We see it on both sides: Rey breaks free from Jakku scavenger life to become a Force user. Luke becomes a Jedi master after wanting to be a simple pilot with the resistance. Kylo Ren wants to achieve what his Darth Vader failed to do, and he rebels against his family in doing so. Finn was a nameless stormtrooper and yet Poe gives him a name, an identity, and they together accomplish missions for the resistance.

Love

The biggest weapon to be used in Star Wars worlds is love. It is Anakin’s love for his children that ultimately gets rid of the Emperor. Luke’s love for Leia drives him to save her in the first place (and even later on, he loves her and Han enough to save them from Jabba the Hutt). Compassion is a driving force (no pun intended) in these movies. Snoke accuses Kylo Ren of being too kind to Rey because he can relate to her. Why is this a negative thing? Well, it’s mostly a “light side” trait. Luke understands his father and is compassionate enough to believe the best in him is yet to come, which turns out to be the key to Darth Vader’s demise and the triumph of Anakin Skywalker (who knows what will happen to Ben Solo. I choose to believe that the best of him is yet to come. But, even if that’s not the case, I find his struggle so, so meaningful and powerful).

Friendship is another strength in these movies. There are epic relationships, iconic, throughout Star Wars. The companionship of cute droids, nonhuman beings, and even humans make the main characters have lots to lose. The stakes are higher than ever. R2D2, C3PO, and even BB8, they are all endearing that I wonder if there is a lesson there, too. After all, the most enduring friendship in the series is that between a human and a wookie. Always, this universe was able to bring to life wonderful characters and break down barriers in its vastness. In the new installments, we see female stormtroopers, black stormtroopers, female force users, and young people part of both sides. I cannot wait to learn what else these films have to offer.

For More:

Lessons from Jedi Master Yoda 
Star Wars Is Not About Good and Evil 
What Star Wars Can Teach Us 

Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Anl. Community and Growth

communitygrowinapairCommunity is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development. All the characters grow up considerably over the course of six seasons (and a movie?). In particular, characters: Jeff, Britta, Troy, Abed, and Annie develop a lot throughout the series. They grow into their own identities. It’s not always perfect.
Jeff Winger
Jeff doesn’t quite go down the path we are told to expect of him. He openly admits that he texts all the time yet no one is on the other end. He longs for his father’s attention. He was bullied by Shirley when she was young. He is definitely not the cool and collected person we assume he’d be. He is competitive in the paint-ball matches. He fully embraces Abed’s movies and dialogues.

For his future, he defies what  he’d planned for himself. He wanted to get his old job back, but he’d changed too much. He’s unable to sustain the lifestyle he’d eagerly planned.

When he graduates college and gets his own office, his only case is related to Greendale. The school becomes the center of his world and he can’t get away. It is a community he cannot shake off. He participates in charades within the show. He joins Troy and Abed’s show, their dances, Glee club, the Save Greendale Committee.

Britta Perry 

Britta Perry starts out as a serious cynic. She is not impressed with the government, or politics, or Jeff. Out of everyone in the group, she is the least interested in connecting with Jeff because she knows that he sees her as a sexual conquest and nothing more. As the show develops, Britta becomes almost a caricature of her old self. Her lifestyle is held together by a facade as her parents are helping her behind her own back for the duration of the show.

She pretends to be a hipster out of choice. For example, she has CD player and knock-off phones. However, the audience learns that she can’t afford to be “cool” (whatever that means). This is presented as an-okay thing to be. It is a relief because, in college, there’s a pressure to conform to the rules of coolness.

Troy Barnes

 

He starts off as a failed high school football boy. Troy dons his high school jersey proud. Pierce tells him to lose the jacket. Annie reminds him that he’s not in high school any more. She tells him he’s not “prom king.” Jeff tells him that he’s deciding to keep it or lose it for other people. In conclusion: that’s not a way to live.

This football wonder then becomes attached to Abed. They go on adventures and do things together as much as possible. He goes from being a simple jock to a repairman prodigy. If you thought you saw this coming, remember that he becomes a young millionaire.

Abed Nadir

Speaking of splitting the unlikely duo, Abed also changes a lot and finds himself throughout the show. He goes from being an isolated person to being part of a pair (whether it’s with Troy, Annie, Jeff, or Frankie). Quite the eccentric, he adjusts to the “real world” as much as he can: by infusing it with his interests in film. He often refers to his friends as characters, often reenacts shows and movies, comments on themes in Community. He goes from being the most obscure and seemingly socially awkward part of the group, to perhaps one of its most promising participants. He is the voice of reason, the meta narrator, and he is in fact what brought the group together. He assembled it. He takes in Frankie.

Annie Edison

She goes from being a young girl to an adult. What comes to mind is her appearance. She started out wearing cute dresses and cardigans. Her hair up and pinned, and by the end of the series, her hair down and relaxed, her clothes casual and less rehearsed. She openly tells Jeff to kiss her, not for her sake, but for his. And, Annie is in charge of her life as she interns for the FBI.

Your Turn:

Who are your favorite communities to belong to? Why do you like them? Share in the comment section!

For More:

–Community Wiki 

–Why Community was Canceled 

I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean
Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie's mother as she prepares

Anl.: Pirates of the Caribbean: Find Yourself

For whatever reason, I was always under the impression that the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are about Jack Sparrow. But, what if the stories are actually about identity, across the board, not just for the pirate? The first film certainly focuses on the journey of all characters towards self-acceptance. I posit that perhaps it is not so much a funny story, too, despite of Disney’s attempts at mocking Jack Sparrow (and I know it gets worse as the movies progress. I remember, distinctly, Jack having multiple eyes drawn on him, and comical music playing the background, as he runs away from some non-white people…which, you know, isn’t offensive or anything. Please note my sarcasm).

So, anyway, the first film introduces the characters, obviously, and in a way, reintroduces them to themselves and to each other. For instance, we begin the story through Elizabeth and Will’s first meeting and the secret Elizabeth keeps from the world regarding Will’s background. From there, the film establishes the connections between the characters (particularly the main four: Norrington, Elizabeth, Will, and Jack). Norrington is hunting down pirates, especially Jack, who is the captain of the last successful pirate ship. The commodore is interested in Elizabeth and wants to marry her. He does not like Will since he can see him as a threat to his relationship with the governor’s daughter. Will is Elizabeth’s love interest. He is the son of one of Jack’s, uh, colleagues. Elizabeth is a means to an end for Jack. Will is Jack’s ticket back to the Black Pearl.
Yet, they are not what they seem. Jack assumes that he is a captain, yet he has no ship or crew. He is rumored to be captain of the Black Pearl, a fictitious ship with a cursed crew. No one believe that this ship exists at all. Throughout the film, Norrington comments on Sparrow’s quality (or lack thereof) as a pirate, calling him, “the worst pirate” he’s ever seen. In fact, the film proposes a question regarding piracy: the rules are complicated and even referred to as “guidelines,” and even the pirates are not all they may seem. I mean, literally: the pirates are the living dead; their identity only shown under the moonlight. Not only that, they break their codes to fulfill their own agendas. Barbossa and the crew’s mutiny is certainly an example of this. Another example of this bending of the rules is when Barbossa betrays Elizabeth (when he first meets her), and Will (when he asks for Elizabeth to be set free).
Jack’s identity as a captain is called into question so many times throughout the first film. An example that comes to mind is when he and Elizabeth are stranded on the Caribbean and Elizabeth asks him how he survived before on the island. He points to the rum as the source of comfort. While Elizabeth gets drunk with him on the first night, she soon realizes that Jack actually didn’t do anything heroic the first time he was left ashore. No getting on sea turtles. No sitting in the water for three days and nights.
Elizabeth pretends to be Bootstrap Turner’s daughter, which is another example of identity being misconstrued in the film. She struggles with being a lady throughout the story. She cannot wear the fancy dresses without gasping for breath. Referring to Will by his first name, and asking him to be referred to by her own first name, she breaks decorum often. In the beginning of the film, she sings of pirates and claims that she’d love to meet one. She is frequently told that marrying Norrington is a good move, however, her attraction to Will puts her in trouble, especially after he is revealed to be a pirate.

The most obvious  identity struggle is for Will–the son of a pirate, working as a blacksmith’s assistant, and yet he is doing all the work as the blacksmith, a fighter, an Elizabeth fan, and a civilian.

It’ll be interesting to see how Elizabeth in particular is treated in the narrative of the next films, because it is very rare to see women presented as more than love interests in pirate films. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were female pirates? Maybe that’s next in Hollywood. One can hope and dream, indeed.

Your Turn

Have you seen the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? Who are your favorite characters? What’s your favorite movie in the quartet? (I am watching them for the first time. So, try not to spoil them too much, savvy?).

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

MR: Dear Eleanor

Set in 1960, the film opens with the death of Ellie’s mother as she prepares for a speech to introduce Eleanor Roosevelt to a room of 200 people. Heartbroken and reeling, she retreats further into herself and feels resentful. Her best friend Max (Max the Wax) writes to Mrs. Roosevelt and shares Ellie’s story. From there, a road trip happens and the two are off to see the former first lady. Hilarity and sweetness ensue.
Characters Delight

I have to say that this movie was absolutely delightful. The scenery was great: almost dream-like.  The characters vivid and animated, particularly Max. I adored Max’s innocence, her childlike wonder, her love for films, her willingness to dream and let others follow their dreams (in fact, she helps Ellie, Frank, and Aunt Daisy achieve their goals, no matter how far-fetched they were). I felt too close to Ellie. She was a bit dark and tortured, which is understandable. I could relate to her loss, and I think that her character was honest and real. I think as someone with mental illness, I kind of try to be more of a Max–happy, energetic, chatty, friendly. She is everything I cannot manage to do without exhaustion and, to be truthful, Max never gets tired of being this way, it’s inspiring and heartbreaking to know that I would never manage to pull it off. So, I am left admiring her, really.

Aunt Daisy was a dream. We didn’t get to see much of her, but the few moments with her are beautiful. I love that she wasn’t perfect. She was scared and different. I like the contrast between her and the other dancers: there she was, dressed in pink tutu and bodice. Meanwhile, the other dancers were in street clothes, black and white mostly. She stood out in the most endearing way ever.

Relationships and Friendships

The relationship between Ellie and Max is beautiful. One pushes the other to grow up (emotionally, sexually, in terms of identity and attitudes towards life) while the younger girl teachers her to maintain a positive view of the world and its inhabitants, to believe the best of people, to forever accept others as they are. It’s great that these two girls never feel jealous of each other. It is a story where women help each other out, support each other, love one another, and that makes it absolutely divine to see. I am happy that I have this little film. I hope you check it out, and feel inspired, too.

Today, a box of books appeared on our front step, which is probably the most
I was upset when I received my copy of this book, because I got it
A Birder's Guide to Everything is a small movie with many credits to its accomplishments

MR: Growing up in Laggies

I am a big Keira Knightley fan. I adore her so much. So, a while ago, I was perusing the Internet and found this trailer of her movie Laggies. It just spoke to me on a deep level, because, well, I feel kind of lost right now. It feels like everyone is moving on and I am not fitting in with the group of people I thought I’d be with for the rest of my life, sort of like Keira’s character in the film.

So, I bought the movie. It’s one of my favorites now because it is endearing and sweet. It is touching and thought provoking. Maybe loss should not be so negative in my mind because, we all lose things in life. It is kind of the point of growing up: losing things is natural. We let go of things and then new elements kick into our lives, and all we can do is accept these changes, or change life even more. Again, we are not really the boss of our lives, I get that, but what’s the point in forcing things that are no longer there? We all change over the years, and so…why cling to people and ideas that are just old and tired, stale and stiff over the years.

Now, I love the humor of the movie, too, and the beauty in the relationships. Things are complicated and Meg (Keira Knightley) has to figure out stuff. And, she does it over the course of a week. Is that too short? Maybe. Is it possible? Maybe. It has taken me years to accept my illnesses, and sometimes, I still reject them as part of my reality. By the same token, I also reject that some of my friends are no longer a good fit for me. I do get it, every time I watch this movie, I realize that it is okay, it is acceptable, it is fine to just move on and stop trying so hard to keep relationships alive. It takes two to tango, as they say, and I am tired of dancing alone with inanimate objects.

Meg broke off from her friend group entirely, and so have I (unintentionally). I don’t think you have to break up with people. I used to think that way, but sometimes, you just have to let go and not say much, because, well, some things are better off unspoken. This film taught me to laugh, to accept my growth and my journey, and to let go of the hurt and harm of toxic relationships. It has taught me that being an adult doesn’t mean that there’s no fun to be had. You can be young at heart and still be a functioning member in society. Totally doable.

Do check out the film. It is awesome and underrated.

I love the way women are portrayed in BBC's Sherlock. It is refreshing to see
I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.

About Time

There are things in my life that were constant. One of them was a fascination with time. I never liked time traveling stories, though, because it was something I could not comprehend. Time was complicated and cruel. It made me feel not only used, but empty, trashed, in fact. It feels like time mocks us all. It certainly has not played fair for me, especially the past four years. They have passed so quickly and yet so slowly. It is a paradox, I know. Too often, there were days where I just felt breathless–lifeless, if I am being honest.

So, when I watched a movie about a time traveling man, I was surprised that I loved it. “About Time” is a wonderful story about appreciating life as it comes. It is about relishing things thrown our way and not losing a pep to our step. Not ever. Even despite the losses, the pain, the awful days we experience sometimes, it is important to always try to be graceful. Try to be happy and full of love. For me, as someone with depression, I think this is difficult to accomplish, but not impossible. Maybe if I step outside the haze of sadness and grab life by the coattails, I’d be up for a happier time on this earth. Honestly, the movie was so, so beautifully made.

I think, there is something else to consider from this film, which is that love is a wonderful force to behold. Romantic love comes when we least expect it, and sometimes we love people who are not good for us (Like Kit-Kat’s situation or Charlotte). Sometimes, we think we’re in love, but we really aren’t. I have never been in love, so I don’t know what that is like. I cannot speak of what I do not know. However, I can only imagine what that might be like. And, yes, it sounds tricky. It is like trying to bottle up a rainbow or something. The neat thing is that Tim loves his family, too, and he does not forget about them after falling in love. Instead, Mary is integrated into the family very quickly.

One more thing about time travel from this film: it is not necessary. It is not important to impress people. Those who love us do love us completely (I hope so, at least). There is no need to perform an act or two to make good impressions. Being earnest and honest is more worthwhile.  There will always be people who do not like us. It is fine. I know, it is so much easier to say this than actually accomplish it. I may kick myself in the face (somehow) for saying this. Mostly, though, I am appreciative of the lesson.Strongly recommend watching the film. It is one of my favorites for sure.

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I

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!

I love the way women are portrayed in BBC's Sherlock. It is refreshing to see
I watched The Force Awakens and I have been a fan ever since that late
Community is a show that is amusing, sure, but it is also about growth and development.

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.

When I first heard of Me Before You, I was drawn to the cast. Emilia
While it is endearing,  My Big Fat Greek Wedding relies on stereotypes to communicate the difference
When I approached Since You've Been Gone, I slacked and hesitated. Then, one night, I