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Pensive Piscean

Come swim in my ocean, amidst pearls and seaweed and resist the urge to drown.

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Books & Movies

The people we were supposed to become together never showed up.

-Table 19, On an unhappy marriage

Wonder Woman wows me

“May we get what we want, may we get what we need and may we never get what we deserve.” – An Irish toast

It’s been twenty-four hours since I watched Wonder Woman and I’m still reeling from the dazzling writing and performances. Starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, directed by Patty Jenkins, this film packs a perfectly balanced punch of entertainment, humor and one woman’s reckoning of the state of humankind. Continue reading “Wonder Woman wows me”

13 Reasons Why- Why my heart didn’t bleed for Hannah Baker

(Spoilers ahead- Do not read if you haven’t watched the show)

I binge-watched ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ a couple of days ago. Seems everyone’s been talking about it and considering it deals with an issue- mental health- that’s close to my heart, I finished up thirteen episodes in two days.

At the risk of angering a lot of people out there, I’m going to go ahead and say I was terribly disappointed. What could have been an incredible opportunity to address the vitally sensitive issues of ‘identity’ and ‘self-worth’ for teenagers growing up in aggressive and unfriendly environment, was wasted on having a blue-eyed boy with a perpetually hurt/lost/semi-constipated expression running about chasing answers which have already been given to him. I kept wanting to yell, “Just listen to the damn tapes and let’s be done with this!”. Continue reading “13 Reasons Why- Why my heart didn’t bleed for Hannah Baker”

Goodbye Wilson

At the almost end of the movie ‘Castaway’, there’s the scene where Tom Hanks has built his own raft and he’s set off on it after spending 1500 days marooned on an island. Even as he’s sailing away through the ruthless waves, watching the island shrink away in the distance, he feels a sadness for leaving the place that was his home all those years.

Wilson, his imaginary friend that is nothing but a deflated volleyball with a face painted on it, accompanies him. Throughout his days of isolation, it was Wilson who kept him sane as he confessed, complained and cried to it. At one point he even gets so mad he kicks Wilson away and then goes frantically searching for it.

Now they’re both on the raft, sailing on a sea to nowhere, hoping to be found and rescued. Hanks falls asleep and when he wakes up, Wilson is missing, floating away. He jumps in, holding the rope to the raft, and swims towards Wilson till he realizes that he has to choose between holding on to the rope and getting to Wilson. It’s so painful to watch, because you know it’s just an object and he has to do the sensible thing and get back to safety, which he does. But that doesn’t stop him from crying.

We all have our own version of Wilsons, an overly sentimental weight providing comfort but being of no use to us.

Let go of them, let go of Wilson and move on.

“I think we should be grateful to fate that we’ve emerged safely from these adventures- both from the real ones and from those we dreamed about.”

“Are you quite sure of that?” he asked

“As sure as I am of my sense that neither the reality of a single night nor even of a person’s entire life can be equated with the full truth about his innermost being.”

“And no dream,” he sighed quietly, “is altogether a dream.”

Fridolin & Albertina talking in ‘Dream Story’ by Arthur Schnitzler

The story of a brief marriage

Anuk Arudpragasam’s debut novel set during Sri Lanka’s Civil War is nothing short of a literary masterpiece. It took me longer to get through it for two reasons; firstly a slow paced story delving into Dinesh’s (the main protagonist living in a makeshift settlement camp) inflections on life, people and the futility of it all considering the context of destruction; secondly, Arudpragasam constructs these incredibly long sentences that pack so much of meat and meaning in them that I had to go back and read them a few times to take them all in. Here is an example: Continue reading “The story of a brief marriage”

Lion

What a waste. Why is Rooney Mara in this movie? Why does Dev Patel sport a permanently constipated expression? Why is most of the second half of the film wasted on a grown-up Saroo digging through the internet instead of delving into the deeper emotions of his identity? How could they take such a beautiful true story and make into THIS?

The first half bears too many parallels with ‘Slumdog Millionaire’; the portrayal of an India with child labor, dirty gullies and thatched huts, bathing in muddy rivers, crowded train stations with people too busy to bother with a crying child, human trafficking. This clichéd portion ought to have been supported with a fresh perspective of foreign adoptive parents and their efforts to raise two Indian boys. There is too much of flitting on the surface of the hard, ambiguous stuff.

The only saving grace of this film is Sunny Pawar, the boy playing younger Saroo. He is incredible and sweet with a strength within him that shines so bravely. Everyone else missed the mark. I would recommend just watching the first half featuring Sunny and chuck the rest of it. Still unable to fathom the hype over ‘Lion’; a moving true story is not enough, it needs execution.

The light between oceans

‘The Light between Oceans’ is a movie about a couple – Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), a lighthouse keeper, and Isabel (Alicia Vikander), his wife, live alone in scenic isolation off the coast of Australia on Janus Rock. After two miscarriages, Isabel is fraught with sadness. Along comes a boat with a dead man and a baby. Instead of reporting the finding, Tom is persuaded by Isabel to bury the man and keep the baby as their own. Who would know? The story from there unveils with them raising a girl, later discovering the identity of her birth mother (Rachel Weisz) and the moral consequences of their actions.

It is an average movie and fairly predictable in terms of plot. Continue reading “The light between oceans”

Manchester by the Sea

Forty-five minutes into ‘Manchester by the Sea’, I was tempted to switch movies. With the plot progressing at a glacial pace and Casey Affleck’s unexplained stoic expression that never changed, I wondered how on Earth he got an Oscar for this performance.

But I held on as part of my resolution to finish all books and movies I begin with. And while the resolve has a tendency to confirm my initial gut that continuing just isn’t worth it, this time it broke pattern and paid off.

I don’t know how to describe this film, Continue reading “Manchester by the Sea”

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