These are just a few of the movies I’ve enjoyed lately.
Ticket to Paradise
starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts
This movie featured a divorced couple attempting to prevent their daughter from making the biggest mistake of her life while dealing with the results of their own.
While this movie was not completely clean, I found the plot to be charming and sweet as well as romantic and humorous. It was a fun romp, though there were moments that felt silly and inappropriate. I especially enjoyed seeing the beauty and culture of Bali, and island country I’ve never visited.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed movies in the filmographies of Clooney and Roberts, so I was excited to see them pair up for a romcom. While not as magical and quick-witted as the romcoms of the 1990s, this one still made me laugh and smile and nearly cry like those others usually do. I enjoyed the banter between Julia’s and George’s characters, and the ebbs and flows of their relationship with their daughter and potential son-in-law made for a delightful and emotional story.
What made this movie extra-special to me was who I shared it with. My parents and sister and I saw Ticket to Paradise in the theater one Sunday afternoon in late October. It was enjoyable to spend time with my family and laugh together while watching a sweet romcom. Did the movie have issues I didn’t much appreciate? Without a doubt. I’m not a fan of alcoholic games or sexual innuendo. But did we have fun hanging out together? Yes, also without a doubt. Some of my favorite moments are making memories with my family, and seeing this movie was an opportunity to create memories that we can treasure for the rest of our earthly lives.
starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Celeste Holm
This was a great remake of A Philadelphia Story. It’s a musical version of a tale of second-chance love surrounding a wedding weekend.
The original film, which starred Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, and James Stewart, is my favorite between the two, but I must admit that I rather enjoyed High Society more this time around than the previous viewings. I was especially intrigued at seeing Celeste Holm in her younger years. I’m much more used to her playing the grandmother on the TV show Promised Land, which I recently binge watched with my parents. It was a childhood favorite show for me. I honestly didn’t know Mrs. Holm had been quite so famous when I saw the show, so it was especially fun to see her dancing and singing with Frank Sinatra.
High Society included music sung by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, but one of the highlights was definitely Louis Armstrong. His gravelly voice always makes me so happy, but to see the joy with which he performs always takes my happiness to new heights. It’s amazing to me to think of the era during which he performed and that he found such joy in the work even while racism was so rampant. He seems to be a good example of rising above the challenges life throws at a person and to shine a light into the darkness around him. Another actor who did this was Bill Robinson (aka Bojangles), who often danced with Shirley Temple in her childhood films. He was always a favorite of mine for that big smile and fancy footwork.
My parents and I enjoyed watching this movie together too, just as we did Ticket to Paradise. This one, however, was not in theaters but rather a rental from our local library. It’s a film we don’t yet own a copy of, so the library was a good choice for us. I used to forget that libraries usually carry films as well as books. Such a great resource the library is!
The Lost Prince
starring Miranda Richardson, Gina McKee, Michael Gambon, and Bill Nighy
This two-part, three-hour story was about Prince John, the youngest child of George V and Queen Mary. He suffered from epilepsy and learning disabilities, which during the era meant he was shuttled off into a life of loneliness and separation from his family.
It was a slow film, but for me, it was well worth the viewing. It was incredible to see how devoted his nurse, Lalla, was and how much progress she was able to help him make in his studies and growth as a human being. Prince John might be lost and forgotten to most people, but his story impacted me. It reminded me just how important my tutoring work is in the lives of the children I work with, that God uses my efforts to help change their lives for the better. It made me appreciate all the more how close-knit my family is, that we aren’t separated from each other for months and years at a time. This is a blessing I have loved my whole life, but this film drove that point home even more to me.
The acting was superb, and the plot complex. It was interesting to learn not only of this prince but the family connection to the Romanovs of Russia’s Tsar era. Something else I hadn’t known prior to watching this film was that because of the fall of the Romanovs, the British royal family changed their name to the House of Windsor. That was quite an interesting historical fact to learn, particularly so close after having seen the crown change hands from Queen Elizabeth II to her eldest son, Prince Charles (now King Charles). I think having watched the Queen’s funeral on TV played a large part in my choosing this movie from the library. Royalty was on my mind and heart, I suppose.
Movies like this one also remind me of my own princess status. Not of any country, mind, but of heavenly places. God adopted me as His daughter, and since He is the King, that makes me an adopted princess of the most royal of families.
This film in particular challenges me to continue to try my best at writing despite the havoc created in my mind by attention deficit disorder (ADD). Disabilities will not hold me back from reaching the dreams God has planted within my heart. I continue to find new ways of coaxing my brain to focus well for patches of time, long enough to get some decent amounts of writing accomplished. In fact, I was penning words in the first draft of novella number one of a three-novella collection featuring the marriage of convenience theme while I was watching this movie. The encouragement from this movie had an immediate affect on my writing in that I kept typing when I felt like giving up for the night. They weren’t coming easily, those words, but I managed to write about a thousand of them while this movie played. I did get sucked into the drama of the film quite a few times, which I was happy about, but I got right back to work straightaway and pecked out a few more words until the drama captured my attention once again.
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
starring Lesley Manville, Isabelle Huppert, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo, Ellen Thomas, and Jason Isaacs (yep, a proper ensemble)
This charming film, another library rental, followed a cleaning lady to Paris, France, in order to chase her dream of owning a Christian Dior dress. It was delightful seeing who she met along the way and how they impacted one another.
It wasn’t entirely clean. There were moments of sensuality and innuendo. However, there was a lot of charm and humor to carry it through to my purchase list. In fact, I watched it twice in a single day.
It was wonderful seeing Paris come to life even as a company struggled to survive difficult financial strains. The characters and plot were creative and unique. I loved spending so much time with these people and their settings of London and Paris in the late 1950s. The dresses, of course, were spectacular.
The true highlight of the film, though, was Mrs. Harris herself. Such a charmer. Yes, I know I’m overusing that term, but it’s so delightfully perfect for this woman. Her quirky sense of humor and her outlandish dreams and can-do attitude were exactly what my heart needed. She made me laugh and cry and happy sigh… I honestly don’t think Mrs. Lesley Manville will top this performance, as it was utterly exquisite. Yet, I hope she does, because that would give me another beautiful film to watch and in which to enjoy her.
What movies have you seen lately?
Have a very happy Thanksgiving, friends!
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