Brief Encounter 1945 Directed by David Lean with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard. No matter how many times they remake this, the original remains the best version. A great love story. Like most married, suburban British women of the period, proper Laura Jesson trains into town (London) each week to shop and perhaps take in a film. One day at the station, a well turned out stranger (Dr. Alec Harvey) helpfully takes a piece of grit out of her eye. She runs into him twice more in town. They connect and begin what feels innocent, but unexpectedly deepens. A single attempt at more than casual contact goes badly awry. They’re soulmates, however, and decisions must be made. Get out the tissues.
A Room With a View 1985 Merchant/Ivory A lovely dramatization of EM Forster’s novel. Spirited Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) rebels against her conservative, Edwardian upbringing in an effort to “find herself.” Engaged to prissy Cecil Vyse (Daniel Day-Lewis) she finds herself drawn to sensitive, bohemian George Emerson (Julian Sands.) There are, needless to say, obstacles, not the least of which is her own habituated character. Venice and the English Countryside look splendid. Also with Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, and Judi Dench.
Salmon Fishing in Yemen 2011 Directed by Lasse Halstrom. A Yemeni sheikh decides to import salmon fishing to his country as it’s a gentlemanly sport that requires faith. The British Prime Minister’s Press Secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas) with no background on the subject, pounces on what she perceives as an opportunity to cement relations between the two countries. She conscripts mild mannered, British fisheries expert Alfred Jones Ewan McGregor) who thinks the plan is ridiculous and unfeasible.
The Press Secretary is a steamroller, the amiable sheikh fantastically wealthy, and Alfred needs the job. Also assigned to the project is the British government’s Yemeni expert, Harriet (Emily Blunt.) Alfred and Harriet are packed off to Yemen to see to it that the right environment is created. Amazing things happen, impediments arise.The civil servant’s marriage was on shaky ground before constant proximity of this smart, imaginative young woman, now…Nor are all the sheikh’s citizens in favor. ‘Marvelous conceit. Well researched.
Pride 2014. Wonderful comedy/drama based on real events. In 1984, LGBT activists came together to help the British miner’s strike. Met by derision from their own – having experienced prejudice from laborers, and bigotry from the strikers themselves, they nonetheless became stalwart participants in support mechanisms. We watch a small group of sympathetic individuals effect the beginning of appreciation and acknowledgment. Ben Schnetzer, Dominic West (blonde!) Faye Marsay, Joe Gilgun.
The Dressmaker 2015 Wrongly accused of murder, Myrtle Dunnage (Kate Winslet), is exiled from her Australian Outback town as a schoolgirl. She returns 25 years later, an accomplished, Paris-based dressmaker fixed on revenge. Myrtle’s mentally unstable mother (Judy Davis) is no help unraveling the mystery. Seeming to ingratiate herself, the young woman takes assignments, gets involved with a local (Liam Helmsworth), and mines a convoluted truth. Revenge is thorough and dramatic.
The Bookshop 2017 with Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Nighy. Young widow, Florence Green, takes her small inheritance and fulfills a lifelong dream to open a bookshop. She finds an abandoned house in the country side of Hardborough, Suffolk and creates a charming shop. Unfortunately for her, town diva, Violet Gamart, had plans for the structure she has no intention of giving up. Underhanded machination even includes involving a nephew who’s a member of parliament. Serendipitously, Florence finds a staunch supporter in recluse Edmund Brundish. Still, Violet is powerful and this is decidedly not a Hollywood film. Charming and adult.
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