The Post (2017) Film Review

Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is the owner of the Washington Post in the early seventies, dropped into the role after the death of her husband who was appointed by her late father. When the opportunity comes to be part of an expose that involves breaking the law and putting her fortune and even her freedom at risk, she is torn between the advice of her board and her editor, Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks).

It’s a slow start, with a lot of very necessary character and background information, and while I was interested, I wasn’t all that compelled. But as the action heated up, I was on the edge of my seat. I was so tense, feeding from the high energy and stress onscreen. And at the end, I felt down. Looking at the sixties and seventies, people really seemed to care about the government lying to them. Now, it seems that it doesn’t matter. People in power lie blatantly in ways that are easily proven and yet there is no outrage, no consequences. Such a timely film.

The Post was nominated for Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama (Meryl Streep), for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama (Tom Hanks), Best Director – Motion Picture (Steven Spielberg), Best Screenplay – Motion Picture (Liz Hannah, Josh Singer) and Best Original Score – Motion Picture (John Wiliams).

Postcards from the Edge vs Postcards from the Edge

Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher – Book Review

Upon the recent and tragic passing of the wonderful Carrie Fisher, I decided to revisit some of her writing, and first up was Postcards from the Edge. What a wonderful book – fabulous sarcasm wrapped up in self-doubt and the wondrous world of Hollywood in the eighties. It’s mostly told from the point of view of Suzanne Vale, an actress who has a drug issue and is facing reaching her thirties in the middle of a superficial world.

It’s a great read – a quick read, spaced out like a series of vignettes, almost a semi formed book. But what confused me, and made me really want to watch the film is the fact that Suzanne’s mother is mentioned once, maybe twice in the book, but yet is part of the poster for the film – how was this film translated from the book?

Postcards from the Edge (1990) – Film Review

Fisher has taken the key storyline of her novel, Suzanne Vale’s recovery from drug addiction and added in a whole lot of her mother. And with Meryl Streep playing Suzanne and Shirley MacLaine playing her mother, how could you not want more of them! These two women know comedy, and they know drama, and they know that both come playing it real, and even when being over the top. It’s funny and sad and crazy and fabulous.

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) Film Review

I remember hearing about this woman on This American Life some time ago – she could not sing one iota, but contributed hugely to the arts scene in New York and put on shows that would have the audience dying to laugh. There is a recording, and she is appalling. And I’ve always wondered – was it cruelty that people allowed her to be ridiculed like this? Or was it right that she should do what she loved regardless? Were her friends and those around her kind to protect her or cruel to allow her to put herself in such humiliating positions?

This film didn’t help. It’s a good film, with a magnificent performance by Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins, and there are many ways in which I feel that this woman was let down by all those who should have been protecting her – in the same way that we see modern figures like Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse let down by those who should be protecting them. Of course, talent is the big different between these later figures and Jenkins – but nonetheless, they have all been ridiculed in many ways.

I found this a difficult film to enjoy because Jenkins, while ridiculous, seems very inncocent, and it just seemed cruel. But was it? Can someone else please watch it and let me know how they felt?

Meryl Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins and the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design as well as Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Hugh Grant), Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep) and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Simon Helberg). It won a BAFTA for Best Make Up/Hair and was nominated for Best Leading Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Grant) and Best Costume Design.

Into the Woods (2014) Film Review


If you’ve learnt nothing else from me, you should know that I love things based on fairy tales. I love a different take on the basics. And so, when you give me a bunch of different fairy tales and tie them together into one story, well, I was just going to enjoy it. However, the music, well it was altogether a bit heavy-handed and overly repetitive. Well, that’s what musicals are all about, aren’t they?

It’s a fabulous cast of people who I really enjoy watching, and I think that if you enjoy musicals, you’ll especially like this.

Into the Woods was nominated for Oscars for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Meryl Streep), Best Achievement in Costume Design, and Best Achievement in Production Design, and Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Comedy and Musical, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (Emily Blunt) and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Meryl Streep). It was also nominated for BAFTAs for Best Make Up and Hair and Best Costume Design.

The Hours (2002) Film Review



Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is battling her mental health issues and attempting to write Mrs Dalloway. Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) is a mother of a small child, pregnant to a second in the 1950s, reading Mrs Dalloway and struggling with depression. Her doting husband Dan (John C Reilly) seems to not notice how much she is struggling, even though her small child, Richie (Jack Rovello) seems acutely aware of it. Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is a woman living in present-day New York who is throwing a party for her closest friend, Richard (Ed Harris) who has just won a literary award. He is ill with AIDS and between the illness and the medication, he is not mentally all that aware of what is happening around him. A long-standing joke between them is that he refers to her as Mrs Dalloway.

The film is beautiful and tragic and wonderful and only ruined by one thing – that nose. Nicole Kidman has a prosthetic nose, presumably because she is considered to beautiful to portray the plain Virginia Woolf. Bullshit. She does some decent acting here, but it is all taken away by the constant staring at that stupid lump on her face. If they really couldn’t handle having her with her normal face playing the role (and hey, if they wanted to make her Hollywood ugly, doesn’t she just need a frumpy dress, bad hair and glasses?), then perhaps they should have cast someone plainer. The whole nose thing made me so angry, because it treats the audience like morons. Grrr.

If you can get past the nose, do. Oh, and the unrelenting, too loud and melodramatic soundtrack. All three storylines have pain and sadness and so much depth in a short amount of time. The supporting cast is pretty fabulous as well, but it is the three main women who carry the weight of this heavy film.

The Hours won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Nicole Kidman) and was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ed Harris), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julianne Moore), Best Director (Stephen Daldry), Best Writing Adapted Screenplay (David Hare), Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Music, Original Score.


Kramer vs Kramer (1979) Film Review


Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walked out of her life, away from her husband, Ted (Dustin Hoffman) and son Billy (Justin Henry). Suddenly, Ted and Billy are thrown into a world here they must do everything themselves and it is hard. Eventually, though, they get the hang of it and things are going well. And then Joanna turns up again and wants to take Billy back and they end up in court.

This was such an important film of its time. Divorce was certainly not a new thing, but was on the increase, and then there was women’s liberation, women wanting to do things for themselves (silly women) and how do people deal with this new world? I think that if another Kramer vs Kramer would be absolutely and totally different were it made now. I think the relationship breakdown could be similar, but I like to think that most men are a bit more involved with their children than Ted was before Joanna left and that workplaces are not able to be as blatant about putting work before family. Most importantly, I think the legal system has progressed. Or perhaps I live in my own little world of things being right.

Kramer vs Kramer won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Meryl Streep), Best Director (Robert Benton) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Robert Benton) and was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Justin Henry), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jane Alexander), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.


August: Osage County (2013) Film Review


Beveley Weston (Sam Shepard) an alcoholic academic goes missing, and the three daughters he had with pill-popping wife Violet (Meryl Streep) return to support her. But each have their secrets and problems leading to a massively volatile time.

I saw this as a play by MTC a few years ago and loved it. I especially loved the set, but seemed to recall that the script was very impressive. Hence, I was concerned about watching the film; would it hold up? Would it be overwhelmed by the big names in the cast? (Meryl Streep, Sam Shepard, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin and Benedict Cumberbatch as the main names)

I think it held up extremely well. It’s certainly not a happy film; if you are ever feeling that you are taking your family for granted, watch this. You will love them so much more. So many horrible people in one place.

It is surprising that the film has only been nominated for awards for acting in the Oscars and Golden Globes. With such a strong story and excellent performances, I would have expected it would at least be nominated for Best Film. It’s a far better film that The Wolf of Wall Street. But then, it wasn’t directed by Martin Scorsese, and the main performances are by women. It seems to be a bit of a pattern for the awards I’ve noticed; the films that have been nominated for best performances by actresses are less likely to appear in the best film category than the films nominated for best performance by actor. Sexist? Or are women just not getting leads in good films? Are male stories better? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Interestingly, just after I wrote this, I was sent a link to an article about sexism in the film industry featuring Olivia Wilde. Here it is. She took part in an experiment with some male actors reading aloud from the script of American Pie, only swapping male and female parts. The ladies got the laughs, the guys got bored. Interesting. (I should note that I don’t know anything about PolicyMic. It’s just the link I read. Lazy journalism? I’m not a journalist. FYI)

August: Osage County was nominated for Oscars for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Julia Roberts), for Golden Globes for Best Actress in A Motion Picture,  Musical or Comedy (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Julia Roberts) and for a BAFTA Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts).

The Deer Hunter (1978) Film Review


It’s small town, Pennsylvania during the Vietnam War. A group of friends have signed up, and just before they leave, one gets married and they go on one last hunting expedition. In Vietnam, they are captured and tortured by the Vietcong and those who return are not the same.

Grueling. This is the type of emotion that most films which I categorise as sadtacular are aiming for. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they get close. But this is the real deal, and it is amazing. Long, grueling and heartbreaking.

The Deer Hunter won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christopher Walken), Best Director (Michael Cimino), Best Sound and Best Film Editing  and was nominated for Best Actor in a Lead Role (Robert De Niro),  Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Meryle Streep), Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen and Best Cinematography.



Angels In America (2003) Television Miniseries Review


Angels in America was a six-part mini-series made by HBO in 2003 based on lives affected by the AIDS epidemic of the mid-eighties. Prior Walter (Justin Kirk) is a young, gay man who has started showing symptoms of AIDS. His partner, Lou (Ben Shenkman), is unable to emotionally deal with Prior’s demise and leaves him. Joe Pitt (Patrick Wilson) is a Mormon, Republican attorney who is in denial about being gay. His wife, Harper (Mary-Louise Parker), is a Valium addict who veers in and out of reality. Pitt’s boss is Roy Cohn (Al Pacino), an extremely powerful and influential lawyer who is also gay, although keeps it to himself. He also has AIDS.  During his hallucinations Prior sees an angel who urges him to become a prophet.

The mini-series was based on a two-part play written by Tony Kushner. The adaptation of the play to the screen has kept all of the poetry of the play, giving it a feeling of a very-much heightened reality. The cast is absolutely amazing, with additional roles played by Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and Jeffrey Wright. The AIDS epidemic is something that needs to be remembered, especially as (at least in Western society) people can live a long time with HIV or AIDS. Everything about this series is extremely beautiful and magnificent. Watch it. I urge you, watch it.

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) Film Review


Perhaps I need to come up with a name for the films that I have never watched because I’ve expected them to be awful, but am pleasantly surprised when I finally do take the time to enjoy them. The Devil Wears Prada definitely fits into this category.

Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a journalism graduate who somehow scores a job as the assistant for Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep), the incredibly demanding and rude head of Runway magazine. She doesn’t fit in as she doesn’t wear the right clothes, she’s not super-model thin enough, her hair is wrong, the whole lot. Then she has a word to one of the stylists, Nigel (Stanley Tucci) who dresses her right and she works crazy hard to make sure she has completed every ridiculous request that Miranda throws at her. Of course, she loses all her friends and boyfriend in the process, and Runway and Miranda become Andy’s new family – an unappreciative, unwilling family. Andy needs to make a decision about where her morals stand.

I didn’t really love Anne Hathaway – well, I didn’t really know much about her – until Les Miserables. Whilst I didn’t totally love Les Miserables, I thought her performance was pretty darned impressive. She doesn’t have the same opportunity to really show off her acting chops in this film, but she does exactly what the role requires and does it well. Of course, Streep is marvellous in this. I wonder if it is hard being Meryl Streep, being so very, very good at what you do.

This is not a film to watch to challenge your views on the world, but it’s worth a watch.

The Devil Wears Prada was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Costume Design and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Meryl Streep)