To the Captain, From Flubber

The world has been mourning a great man these past few days. Great in the characters he played, in the energy he brought to the stage and screen, in the dedication he showed to each new role.

He did not die the death he deserved.

* * *

He deserved to go out in firework spectacular of multi-coloured fizzes and bangs. He deserved dancers and silk scarves waving in the air, and a party that shook the ground with the stomping of excited feet.

Every Disney character from Aladdin should have risen from the ink and flown around his head on magic carpets, or swung from the sky in an ape-like frenzy, singing to the Heavens.

As he moved through the crowds of people reaching out for his hand and holding him close, he should have had boys saluting to their captain, Matt Damon nodding his head in appreciation as he grasps chalk in front of a blackboard, and fat suits stacked high against the walls in the garb of Mrs Doubtfire.

Closer to the end now, and more movement than before as the party swells behind him. He is in a museum and instead of ancient tribal figures and cowboys on horses, there is an array of fans and awards. Roses fall from the ceiling, thanking him for the encore. Spotlights swirl around the room and catch the glistening tears of thanks on his cheeks. He bows to the crowd, waves a goodbye, and hurls a blob of green into the audience, which immediately begins zipping between walls and bouncing off of precarious hats on heads.

He passes with the sound of cheers ringing in his ears, the sound of laughter from children across the globe, and the touch of his daughters’ hand squeezing his goodbye.

That is the death a great man deserves.

Genie, you’re free.

* * *

Whatever mistakes he made, whatever demons he struggled with, he deserved to feel the same joy he gave to so many. No one deserves to die alone with heaviness in their heart and with hopelessness as all they know.

If you ever find yourself struggling, know there are people to turn to. Contact www.supportline.org.uk for someone to talk to. Don’t ever suffer alone.

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New York Broadway news from a little country lass.

As the familiar tune of ‘Dancing Queen’ began, I grabbed my mother and sister’s hands and pulled them from the depths of the sofa. Laughing, we span around and around; we sang at the top of our lungs; and as Meryl Streep and the fantastic islanders jumped off the dock and into the sea, we kicked our feet high in the air as we leapt from the sofa and onto the carpet.

Yes. We looked this cool too.

Yes. We looked this cool too.

Our stomachs ached, our cheeks pinched, from the smiles and giggles that night.

I share this with you because moments like these are so rare and yet so common. Moments are what you make them – and this particular one is a highly polished, gleaming gem of a moment nestled in my brain forever.

I share this with you because sometimes we forget that family can be our best friends. They can know what you’re thinking when you look at them and mouth along with lyrics of songs from forever.

I share this with you because this evening, we moved our living room enactment of that Abba classic one step closer to reality, by purchasing TICKETS TO WATCH MAMA MIA IN BROADWAY on our visit to New York at the end of the summer!!!!!!

*Pause for dramatic, heart-raising effect*

I am super excited! I am out of this world, dancing in my underwear, never-brushing-my-hair-again excited!!

It is because of this minor detour into wild happiness that tonight’s post is a short one.

I’m reliving my shiny moment. 

(Oh, and I should mention we are also watching the LION KING while we’re there!!! That should shed a bit more light on my inability to communicate effectively tonight.)

HAPPY DANCING EVERYONE!

mama

Meryl Streep and I

I am almost reluctant to write about this incredibly talented woman. She was once quoted to have said ‘Enough people write about  me every day without even interviewing me’ so in some ways I feel I’m not quite qualified for the job. However, I feel an incredible amount of respect for this woman, so I will plough on regardless.

The first time I saw Meryl Streep in a film was in a late night showing of Bridges of Madison County. She was captivating. The film meandered innocently along, weaving a tale so intricate, so real that I felt my heart breaking alongside her. It was the first film I ever cried at…although, when I say ‘cried,’ I really mean something more like ‘howled like a baby at for hours on end after it was finished, walking around the house clutching a box of Kleenex for moral support.’ Her performance was inspirational and absolutely stunning.

Over the years following this, I watched, equally blown away as she performed in other well known films such as Kramer Vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia! and It’s Complicated. What struck me every time was that, despite knowing that it was the same woman playing these roles, she was completely different every time.

To some, this may seem a ridiculous thing to say-after all, what is the point of acting other than to become different than yourself? But in my eyes, it is a frustratingly difficult thing to achieve. Some of the most acclaimed actors today cannot satisfactorily achieve it. And yet, Meryl Streep dives time and time again into different eras, relationships, countries…and creates a character with such depth and soul that the film comes to life.

It is because of all of this that I feel a large amount of respect for her. It is evident that she deserves the reputation of ‘greatest living film actress.’ She works hard at every challenge she accepts, taking numerous classes in accents for each film; she is known to be fiercely loyal and dedicated to her children and her family (as quoted in an interview): ‘Every single decision I make about what material I do, what I’m putting out in the world, is because of my children’; and to me she appears to be a powerful woman who follows her heart and not the publicity-Mamma Mia, for example, was initially a low budget film created by two women who had never done anything like it before and yet look at it now!

At the end of the day however, Meryl Streep is still human. Where other celebrities dazzle in the spotlight and eagerly search out the cameras, she keeps her life private. She’s not showing us how to be famous; she simply shows us what we can do with a little talent and a lot of work when we are driven by our hearts.

…So what are you waiting for?

A tale as old as time…

It is the question asked on first dates; the debate between friends; and (occasionally) the source of mockery for those who disagree:

What is your favourite film?

And who can blame us? With so many genres, an abundance of special effects and intriguing plot lines that leave us on the edge of our seats, cinematography has become one of the main fields of entertainment.

I am no expert by any means, but there are iconic movies in the life of every person, ones that burn into our memories and stay with us as we grow old. For me, there is no film that brings a smile to my face quite like that of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

As no doubt you know, it tells the tale of a Prince, cursed due to his foolishness and arrogance, who must find love and be loved in return before his twenty first birthday. Just when all hope seems lost, he meets his Beauty and, over time, he learns the error of his ways and they fall in love. (A happy ending is, after all, one of the defining characteristics of a Disney film.)

I fully accept the ridicule thrown my way when I announce this preference. It is, after all, a children’s film. But at the same time, it speaks of truths that are eternal and essential.

On the one hand, Belle teaches girls not to settle for a life that bores them, or to succumb to the wishes of a man who desires you only for your beauty and not for love. She values her family over everything else, sacrificing her freedom for her fathers’ sake. And, above all, she falls in love with the personality of a man, and not his outer shell.

And standing opposite her is the Beast. He’s a living reminder of the consequences of greed and disregard for others: a lonely life full of disdain and anger. He may have the form of something ugly and terrifying, but as his soul brightens with the love of another, he becomes gentler and vulnerable. He teaches us that it is not what is on the outside, but what reigns within, that defines who we are. It is our personality that makes us beautiful.

Not only does the film whisper truths at you from a young age, it is also wonderfully drawn (although my attempt above is nothing in comparison). The characters seem larger than life and yet as human as you or I. The balance between magic and heartbreak is tentative but successful and brings a smile to even the most miserable of faces.

Because the tale of love conquering all odds…well, it’s a tale as old as time.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Life Lessons

To entertain myself on the leisurely three day weekend celebrating MayDay this month, I decided to stroll on down to the local cinema to watch a film I had heard much about: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

When I got there I realised three things:

  1. I was the youngest in the cinema by a minimum of 30 years…Admittedly, this was because I’d gone to the ‘Afternoon Tea for the elderly’ viewing (you get a free hot beverage).
  2. The man in front of me had an ENORMOUS head (do our heads get bigger as we get older?).
  3. It was destined to be one of those ‘sweet’ films where you know how it will end within about half an hour of it starting.

I’m really selling it to you, right?

No, but all joking aside, there was a motto that was repeated during the film, one I found inspiring.

‘Everything will be alright in the end. So if it is not alright, then it is not yet the end.’

Set amongst the bustle and colour of passion for life in the busy streets of India, this small phrase sounded beautiful, a small oasis of calm amidst the roaring crowds.

Now I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that it’s these spring months that are the most stressful with the pressure of exams or work deadlines or getting that ‘perfect’ body for summer. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy. We are like beings possessed, storming towards our own personal goals without stopping to glance at anything on the way, leaving a path of destruction in our wake.

Human beings are famous for lack of appreciation for life; it’s one of our major flaws as a species. Watching the young owner of this Marigold Hotel weave in and out of the traffic of India, racing towards the woman he loves with complete faith that everything will work out reminded me that we all need to just CALM DOWN.

We’ll get there. We’ll achieve the goals we need to achieve. We’ll be alright.

Because if we’re not, we’re not finished yet.