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Les enfants du marais (1999)
"What an Adventure!"
Children Marshlands is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. It tells a period that does not exist anymore. After-war (first world war) seen by a little girl: Cricri. The simple happiness of living in the marshes and the joy of being "the last free men". The movie starts with Garris (Jacques Gamblin) and Riton (Jacques Villeret) picking lily of the valley, as it is the day before May, the 1st.
Two friends who are walking on the same path for a while, where everyday is rocked with courtesy, respect, friendship, sudden changes in mood ... and nothing can prevent them both from living the way they want. Cricri, Riton's daughter, will fall in love with "Pierrot from town", "Pépé La Rainette" (Michel Serrault) grand-son. Pépé used to live in the marsh and after working very hard he made a fortune, but remains illiterate. The first time he meets Garris in the marsh, I expected the shock of two universes (rich-poor), but Pépé did not forget where he came from. A friendship that will never die. We also meet Amédé (André Dussolier), rich man who never worked in his entire life, books and Jazz lover ; he will discover the snails gathering "What an adventure!".
You will meet a lot of unforgettable characters like Jo the boxer (Eric Cantona), Tane the railwayman (Jacques Boudet) or Madame Mercier (Gisèle Casadesus) the old lady by Pépé's house. Delightful ! Children Marshlands is a painting full of life and the simple joys of existence. To be seen again and again, with friends, family, even alone. It will be a consolation for you for the rest of the day, of the week, or more.
Pay It Forward (2000)
Hope and Love
Eleven Years old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is entering the seventh grade. His social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), introduce the course with the same speech as every year ... and as every year, he gives his students an assignment ... "Find a way to change the world and put it into action". Of course, Eugene Simonet hopes rather than believes, that at least one student would stand up and go for it. Indeed his hopes are not in vain as Trevor McKinney takes this assignment at heart. He thinks that if he could help three persons to "fix" their lives, they would, each of them, pay it forward by helping three persons each ... three helped ... nine ... twenty-seven ... and so on. No need to tell you that this assignment will change Trevor's life, his mother's, Arlene McKinney (Helen Hunt), Eugene Simonet and many more ...
Inspired by the novel called by the same title from Catherine Ryan Hyde, Pay It Forward is the most genuine idea I saw about "how to make this world a better place". I do believe that most of you already had this kind of thought ... the same way I did ... why people are like this ... why do they behave so bad toward each other ... why life has to be that difficult all the time for most of us ... I could ask as many questions as I like, the only answer would be "it is the way it always has been. It's the human nature." and all this kind of crap. On the other hand, humanity has got a lot of goodness ... and this movie shows that. No matter the troubles you are in, as long as you do not give up you can make a difference to make life a little bit better, no matter the level you are acting. Goodness is reachable for each of us. I call that HOPE and LOVE. Trevor says in the movie something like "Bad people have given up for the loss of those who haven't". It is so true... Pay it Forward is a movie about the true love of life. Do not miss it !
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Two worlds between changes
MONA LISA SMILE is a painting of the American society after war. More than that, it shows in a quite brilliant way, though not to heavy, what women's lives were supposed to become after their college graduation. The movie begins with Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts), young Art History Instructor, who arrives at Wellesley College (for young ladies) for the new Academic Year of 1953/1954. As it is said in the movie, she is not coming to "fit in" but rather to make a difference with the brightest women of America. Wellesley College is a very conservative school where Katherine will have to face disappointment toward the school itself, the law of Massachusset, and also her own students. Through this movie, we lightly follow the stories of Betty Warren (Kirsten Dunst), Joan Brandwyn (Julia Stiles), Gisele Levy (Maggie Gillenhaal) and Connie Baker (Ginnifer Goodwin). At Wellesley, these young women are learning how to become good housewives, and as so, how to give up on their dreams (if they have ones except to get married and raise children).
When Katherine arrives, she is seeking for open minded women, who through Art History should be able to start thinking by themselves outside the conventional way. Unfortunately, Katherine is dealing with a wall. Of course, this is a movie ... so Katherine will get reactions from her students. Some will be bad reactions, especially when Betty publishes her editorial about Katherine and her way of thinking. Some will be good and will guide the characters to hope and sometimes to happy endings.
While following the main characters along the movie, some sensitive subjects are pointed out like how unconceivable contraception was ... how is it nowadays ? Is it really different ? But also, the place of television at home. Have things changed drastically nowadays ?
Anyway, this movie shows how women were meant to save appearances. At the library, Betty shows a picture of the painting Mona Lisa and asks her mother :"she is smiling ... does it mean she is happy ?" Change takes time because teachers have to deal with more than the wills of students, but also with conservatism. And when change comes, for instance, when women allow themselves to work and to have a family, is it the only way to behave ... is it really freedom ? It is also what the movie shows ... make your choices according to what you want, it is how you will be happy. It is a bit simple, but you have the picture I guess.
This movie opens a lot of interesting discussions, you just have to be open minded to see beyond it ...
I really like Mona Lisa Smile in its simplicity and this is the reason why I will see it many other times.
Gilmore Girls (2000)
Gilmore Girls: great, hilarious, lovely and fast talkers...
The Gilmore girls are great! They are grandmother, mother and daughter though when one says Gilmore Girls, one could think only of the mother and the daughter... Anyway, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) is Rory's (Alexis Bledel) mother and Emily's (Kelly Bishop) daughter. Confusing, yes I know that's the fun when you discover this TV show.
This is a show about mother-daughter relationships at first, then about family relationships and then relationships: any relationships. Friendships are strong with Gilmore girls, love is of course essential no matter how existent it is in the life of the main characters Lorelai and Rory.
Now, let me explain something: these two are mother and daughter, but they are also best-friends. A dreamed relationship for many. Lorelai is talking, a lot and even more. It may seems that she does not have much to say, yet she does and does it in her own way. One could think that her relationship with Emily would be better off if non-existent... However, no matter how different they both are, they love each other very much. Emily is a "pain", that granted, her character is essential to the show, the same way Richard Gilmore's (Edward Hermann) is. Who is he? Emily's husband and a very well-renown insurance man, very proud of his education, his success and his standard of living. So of course he and Emily barge in Lorelai and Rory's life to ensure the Gilmore's name is well looked after. That said, Gilmore girls have many friends. Sookie Saint-James (Melissa McCarthy) is brilliant and always makes one hungry when she's cooking. Luke Danes (Scott Patterson) is probably one of the rare sane character of the show... Michel Gérard (Yanik Truesdale) the concierge, is hilarious and charming in his own way. The Kim family is very bizarre. Mrs Kim (Emlily Kuroda) is... wow... I do not even know how to describe her, but she's great... and funny because she never smiles. Lane Kim (Keiko Agena) is the secret musician and Rory's best friend. She is a very cool kid. Paris (Liza Weil) is something. She talks no matter how well one listens to her... she talks and talks and talks... In fact any second character in the show will give you something to talk or laugh about.
Gilmore Girls is a quality show about life. You'll laugh and cry with all the characters because they are served incredibly well by the actors who are playing each one of them. I like it very much, no matter how girly one says it is, it is good and worth watching over and over again. So enjoy!