‘The Girl Down Loch Änzi,’ which had its North American premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs film festival, is a ghost story. Laura lives on a Swiss farm that borders the fabled Änziloch – a deep ravine that, legend has it, is home to the ghost of a woman cast out from the village several centuries before, and either left to die or imprisoned below. …An unusually stylish documentary, with beautifully-composed shots and scenes that play out with a feature film’s attention to blocking…
Whatever the other problems might be with this film (and they are many), my focus for this review is the character Tiger Lily, who was originally conceived as a racist stereotype by J.M. Barrie and who has had her Native identity completely erased in this latest iteration. Is this progress? I think not.
The narratives surrounding the television series ‘Downton Abbey’ and the musical film ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ are about change and more specifically, how the daughters within both families represent the small, but important contributions that these characters make to modern feminist narratives. … In both ‘Downton Abbey’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ each trio of sisters takes a step in determining her own fate.
However, the clearest, most poignant development that comes through growing with the films is how ultimately, the love story between Jo and Bhaer and the unrequited love story between Jo and Teddy mean little juxtaposed to the love shared between the four sisters. They are one another’s hearts and souls, evident as Jo writes her novel at the end of the film.
The film shows how Satsuki struggles with this dual role of acting as the most present parent while still being only a child herself. … While Satsuki fulfills the role of mom to Mei, it’s her status as sister and child that ends up saving the day. … ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ is one of Miyazaki’s best odes to sisterhood, portraying both the struggles but also the benefits of having a sibling at your side.
Belle saves the Beast – not just physically by breaking the spell, but emotionally and psychologically by changing his behavior and smoothing his sharp edges. … Both of them begin as loners and societal misfits, but they end as the perfect fit in each other’s lives. However, this nice, mushy message comes at a cost: Belle’s agency as a character. …When we are introduced to Belle she has no more growing left to do in this film other than learn to be less judgmental and find a suitable husband.
So what distinguishes ‘Labyrinth’ from the Hero’s Journey tropes it so closely follows? Its protagonist. Sarah is the hero of the story. She doesn’t need to be saved because she’s the rescuer, and she carries the plot forward with her resourcefulness, tenacity, and self-actualization. …She navigates a tricky tightrope between fantasy and reality, dreams and goals, past and future, and discovers the kind of woman she wants to be.
By introducing the audience to a tight-knit family with a very peculiar upbringing, the film allows a glimpse into socialization, explores gender politics, and shows how art can lead to individualism.
In a nice contrast to many children’s films and books, the character at the start who goes against the mob is a girl, Lord Portley-Rind’s daughter, Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning in a mid-Atlantic accent passing as British). Although Winnie, in her pink ruffled dress and blonde ringlets might look like other storybook heroines, her fits over never being believed or taken seriously by adults and her morbid fascination with the boxtrolls make her more like Daria than Alice in Wonderland. When she asks another character if boxtrolls ate his parents, she adds, “Did they let you, I mean, make you, watch?”
And the matter of representation here is so important. Little Black girls deserve to see themselves on screen, to try to be like Annie the way I tried to be like Punky Brewster when I was a kid. They deserve to see this kind of Cinderella story, where the benefactor is a successful Black businessman (Jamie Foxx as cell phone-mogul and mayoral candidate Will Stacks, the less-creepily named equivalent to Daddy Warbucks). Black parents deserve to take their kids to movies that will show families like theirs. And people of all ages and all races need to see Black actors star in movies like this so the gross privileged reaction of “but the star isn’t white OH NOES!” goes away.
‘Dance Academy’ is a teen soap opera set at a ballet school. So basically, it’s ‘Degrassi’ meets ‘Center Stage.’ That should be enough to have you diving for your remote right now.
Like many of us, I’m a child of divorce, and I saw firsthand the lasting effects of infidelity and separation. For years, I’ve turned on ‘Reba’ because I find it comforting; everything from the stills of the cluttered kitchen to Reba’s adorable southern twang make me feel very tranquil as I clean or type on my laptop. I detect similarities to my own experiences, such as living in close proximity to a parent’s ex or a father who seems to abandon his former life for a newer, shinier one. ‘Reba’ normalizes these experiences and reminds viewers that every family has its issues.