A year ago I did 6 Movie Reviews in 100 Words or Less. Today, amid preparations for our annual “deep housecleaning” and continuing the long, hard slog of finishing Lionhearted 4.0 (finally hit the halfway point, thank goodness), I’m once again setting for myself this fun little summertime challenge!
Here are four mini-reviews for you in 100 words or less: one TV show and three movies.
I’ve seen this delightful series described as “a British Little House on the Prairie,” and I think that’s a fair assessment. The small-town drama in Lark Rise* does occasionally border on the soapy side, just like in Little House (I mean, seriously–how many suitors/boyfriends do Dorcas Lane and Mary Ingalls really need? What would that have done to their reputations in real life????) but both shows share the simplicity, humor, and celebration of community and family that make them and their characters so endearing. I’m definitely looking forward to watching the next few seasons!
Ben, the son of a lighthouse keeper, resents his baby sister, Saoirse (pronounced “SEER-sha”), as the cause of his mother’s apparent death. Unbeknownst to Ben, however, Saoirse is a selkie—one of the half-human, half-seal creatures of Irish mythology—and it’s up to both of them to free the faeries of Ireland from the evil witch who’s turned them all into stone. This hauntingly beautiful film*, nominated for an Academy Award in 2015, contains a powerful message about handling emotions in a healthy way. The music and the animation are gorgeous.
This movie tells the true story of Antonina Zabrinski and her husband, who ran the Warsaw Zoo before the Nazi occupation of World War II and hid about 300 Jews within the tunnels and storerooms beneath the zoo. The Zookeeper’s Wife* is heavy and adult (there are four sexually-charged scenes, two between Antonina and her husband plus two involving rapes/attempted rapes), but like all solid movies about the Holocaust, it shows the depravity of man as well as the selflessness of the people the Jewish nation now calls “the Righteous Among the Nations.”
I’ve been familiar with the music of The Mission* for years, but hadn’t seen the movie—one of my dad’s favorites—until this past week. It tells the (mostly) true story of a Jesuit mission in South America caught between the prevailing political powers, Spain and Portugal, and a pragmatic Roman Catholic church. Father Gabriel responds with submission and pacifism; Mendoza, however, a converted slave trader turned Jesuit brother, fights to defend the now-Christian natives from European attackers. Native nudity would be my only major objection to this otherwise poignant, thought-provoking film*.