A tale as old as my childhood…

As soon as I got home from seeing ‘Beauty and the Beast’ on its opening night at our local cosy, far cheaper cinema (7.20 vs the eleven pound rip off, just sayin’, Odeon), I quickly tapped all my initial thoughts into a note on my phone, reeling — no, practically shining from the inside out at having seen my childhood favourite film brought to life. I’m going to let the iPhone note do the talking, because I think it captures, for the most part, everything I was feeling in those initial moments once the credits started to roll. But, first things first…

I will preface by saying, yes, I know there are elements of Disney films that aren’t perfect. Heck, a lot of the ‘happily ever after’ versions of fairytales rely heavily on women being saved in a massively heteronormative romantic narrative. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has its own particular question marks with the concept of Stockholm Syndrome at play and, you know, a Beast — to which, all I have to say is it’s a Disney movie, it’s magic and he’s not actually a beast. It’s not as if they do anything, anyway. Stop making it weird; it’s a kids film and there haven’t been any reports of media effects causing an increase in beastiality, so… Honestly, chill out. But, fine, I will relent that it’s not perfect. C’mon though, its original animation came out in the 90s and we can all, in recent years, see the importance of growth and development. Progression takes time. Just compare ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Moana’ and you’ll get it. Still, I would never turn a blind eye to something that is problematic, I promise and I know this film, even with its feminist twists and turns, isn’t without its faults. But let me relish in all my five-year-old self’s hopes and dreams and talk, just for a minute, about what watching this film meant to me, about how it reached through the screen and brandished its mark on my heart…

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I am…

Yesterday was International Women’s Day and thankfully I got through it only hearing one comment about it being sexist (um?) and, ‘Well, when’s International Men’s Day, then?’ November Nineteenth, you demented knob. And, you know, every other day of the year. Other than that one misguided soul, it was a lovely day across the scope of my social media, with so many people praising the beautiful ladies that inspire them and feeling utterly uplifted and empowered. One of my guy friends even sent me a snap with the wonderful IWD filter and the message ‘Go get ’em!’, which just goes to show this isn’t a ‘us or them’ battle. Feminism is simply about having an equal playing field for everyone. Kapiche?

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Deep like like…

That day left a bad taste in my mouth. I was readily prepared not to let it have this power over me. I felt like I was in a relatively good place to deal with Valentines Day and all its romantic gestures and overpriced bouquets of roses that, yeah, are pretty flipping extortionate but I definitely wouldn’t mind receiving. Honestly, I genuinely thought and still think I am okay with being single. I went on a date recently, and whilst it was nice there was no spark. We’re better suited as friends and that’s fine. It’s just reinstated my beliefs that no one should settle. That whilst epic love is probably one for the story books, it doesn’t mean I have to live with something that simply fizzles. I want it to catch fire. So, trust me, I’m cool with being a singleton if it means finding the real deal one day.

What is not cool is working on that dreaded day in retail and seeing the mad dash for last minute bits and that one girl who looked way too smug clutching her heart-shaped helium balloon as she strolled around the store. It reminded me of my solidarity, of the fact I’ve been single for forever (literally), and that I’ve barely even experienced the cusp of romance, relationships… Any of it. But then I read the lovely Grace’s post, ‘5 on the 14th.‘  and it made me want to carve out my few and far between brushes with love, or at least… intense like like, and treasure them for what they are even if they’re not much of anything. So here goes.

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So… I saw ‘La La Land’

I don’t usually write about films on here. I don’t usually write about films period. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching films — although I will say, more and more, I find it difficult to sit down and actually stay focused on one single storyline for a couple of hours, especially in a cinema setting. I’m not sure what that’s about. But anyway. My point. I like films, but I’m not a ‘film person’. I don’t set out to watch every film that comes out, more specifically in the awards season. I generally only watch what appeals to me, and that usually isn’t arty, trying-to-be-profound films. Films aren’t my thing, in that sense. I don’t buy into the hype of films like I might with a book, or even with a TV show (sometimes). Does that make sense?

So I will say that I was pretty apprehensive about seeing ‘La La Land’, even as a lover of musical theatre. I was made more apprehensive still when people started talking about some of its more problematic elements, like – shock horror — its lack of diversity. I mean, do we expect any less at this point when it comes to Oscar nominated films? I’m not saying we should settle for that being the norm. What I am saying, is it’s not exactly surprising at this point. So, with the knowledge that award winning films are notoriously white-washed, I engaged in the criticisms about ‘La La Land’. Because, as a white, straight, able-bodied woman I know I personally won’t always be completely attuned and quick to pick up on the areas and issues a film like ‘La La Land’ falls short on.

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