Love (Film) Review

Love: or What the fuck did you expect, Murphy?

This week’s pick has a very high opinion of itself which at least makes one of us. It is definitely NSFW, not that you’d be watching French-Belgian art house at your place of work but you know what I mean: lots of private parts and shagging. You have been warned.

*Spoilers*

Love (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

Murphy is an American living in Paris who enters a highly sexually and emotionally charged relationship with the unstable Electra. Unaware of the effect it will have on their relationship, they invite their pretty neighbor into their bed.

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My Review

Murphy and Electra (Karl Glusman and Aomi Muyock) are a highly-sexed couple. He is an American film student, while Electra is some sort of artist (who never seems to do any art but who am I to judge?). Their relationship is rather turbulent if truth be told but we don’t explore that until after they’ve broken up.

When we first meet Murphy he is living with his wife Omi (Klara Kristin) and their new baby. Murphy receives an email from Electra’s mother who tells him that she hasn’t seen her daughter for months. Presumed missing, this sends old Murphy into a tailspin as he contacts their old friends to try to locate his ex – while reminiscing about the love they let get away.

Via non-linear flashback we learn that the couple asked their then neighbour Omi to join them for a cheeky threesome, only for Murphy to get her pregnant behind Electra’s back after their original night together. This causes the break up of the relationship and although it’s not easy to follow the timeline, leads Electra deeper into the world of drugs.

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Their love affair has already proven over-dramatic, rife with infidelity, drug abuse and fighting but it has also been rooted in a sort of love, an idealistic ride-or-die mentality that does not ring true in the end. Murphy fucks strangers at parties (which gets confusing because he has a penchant for attractive dark-haired Europeans) while Electra is unfaithful with her sugar-daddy ex.

They talk about having babies and dying without each other but can’t seem to get it together to be kind to one another. Murphy screams insults at his lover while she spirals out of control on drugs and lord knows what.

In present day, Murphy longs to go back to a ‘better’ time before he fucked it all up with Electra – and resents Omi and their child, who I think might be called Gaspar? It’s a miserable scene, man as Omi knows only too well that Murphy is pining for his past.

Meanwhile Murphy’s whiny as fuck inner voice calls his wife a bitch for tricking him into family life which just made me want to bash his head in.

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Will Murphy atone for his cavalier attitude towards Electra (and all women really) or will he make the most of his new life with Omi? And will he ever stop being such a grade A fuck boi? I think we all know that answer to that last one.

The problem with Love is that I hated everyone. Even my sympathy for Omi wore paper-thin (something about her pompous Pro-life speech on her first date with the couple sealed that). Murphy is a deeply unlikable guy with such a casual attitude towards the women in his life, realistic maybe for a young student but it doesn’t bode well for his likability factor – I hated him. I hated the way he cheated on his girlfriend, how he spoke to both Electra and Omi, basically everything he did. There’s a scene where he almost has sex with a trans prostitute and I didn’t like his homophobic attitude there either. Like, just fuck off Murphy.

Electra is a complex(ish) creature but there’s not much character development and we never get any answers. As for the erotic elements, it soon becomes tiresome to see so much fucking.

I kept leaving the room for ages and coming back to the same extended scene. I’m no prude but this is trying to be shocking for shocking’s sake and it’s pretty whack. Plus, sex is never that well-lit, I’m sure of it.

This is nowhere close to Gaspar Noé‘s Irreversible, which is a very hard watch but also a heartbreaking look at the after effects of sexual assault on the victim and their relationships.

My Rating

0.5/5. I hated everything about this.

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What did my love think of this one? Did she want to bang its brains out or in with a brick? Find out here.

God’s Own Country (Film) Review

Here at Collab HQ (it’s more of a state of mind than an actual place given that we’re camped on separate continents), we love to devastate ourselves. Sometimes we favour fluff just to get over the utter weep-fests we’ve put ourselves through.

Although this week’s movie might not have had that exact effect on me, it did leave me with a heavy lump in my chest. It was a movie I felt profoundly and I’m so glad we finally got round to it. Thank you Netflix for coming through.

*Spoilers*

God’s Own Country (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Spring. Yorkshire. Young farmer Johnny Saxby numbs his daily frustrations with binge drinking and casual sex, until the arrival of a Romanian migrant worker for lambing season ignites an intense relationship that sets Johnny on a new path.

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My Review

Johnny (Josh O’Connor) lives with his dad and gran on a cattle farm in Yorkshire. Rural life is fucking tough, his father isn’t that well and Johnny dulls his pain and loneliness with booze and secret liaisons with boys down the local (I feel ya, Johnny). Delivered home puking most nights by furious cab drivers, Johnny’s folks just think he’s irresponsible and don’t understand him at all. This just exacerbates his feeling of isolation and when he does bump into friends from his past, he’s bitter because they’ve moved on and left him behind.

When it becomes apparent that the farm will need more help during lambing season, they hire Romanian migrant worker Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) who quickly becomes a god send, much to Johnny’s irritation. The pair doesn’t hit it off immediately and Johnny burns bridges in the first few days by referring to Gheorghe as ‘gyppo’.

While Gheorghe pretty much just gets on with it, even around the awkward energy between Johnny and his family, he doesn’t take kindly to Johnny’s racist attitude and nips it in the bud quickly. One weekend, away from the farm but very much on farming duties, the boys come head to head and the friction that’s been building between them explodes. What begins with a fight, ends in rough sex in the mud.

After this encounter, the two barely speak about it though there has been an unmistakable shift between them. Later that night, they fuck again, this time with a little more tenderness.

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Back at the ranch, the sex continues but it also becomes more than that. Johnny invites his lover to share his bed in the farmhouse but he declines, preferring to stay in the caravan.

As Johnny and Gheorghe get closer, Johnny’s father suffers another stroke and the future of the farm is placed in Johnny’s calloused hands. When he discusses the prospect of Gheorghe staying on and permanently running the farm with him, Gheorghe expresses some concerns, namely living and working together simultaneously.

This sends Johnny into a tailspin and he acts out enough to send Gheorghe packing. Gheorghe also suffers some predjudice in the pub which doesn’t help.

Johnny’s nan Deidre (Gemma Jones) blames him for fucking up again and wonders how they’ll manage now. When Johnny goes to see his father about the future, he’s surprisingly understanding and gives his blessing for Johnny to do what he needs to to be happy – can you guess what that is?

Will Johnny do the right thing and make a success of his future finally? What do you think?

This film is gorgeous to look at but it’s all in the glances our lovers share, in the secret looks and the slightest of gestures. It’s in the loneliness, the isolation and the ache of not being able to be open to who they are – until they can be open with each other and I really felt it all.

The performances are heartfelt, while the pace of the film is quite slow which I didn’t mind. Not once did this feel like a slog and I think there’s a skill in that kind of film making. The movie very subtley addresses the topic of homophobia but more so in the fact that it isn’t talked about and everything has to be secret. While I don’t remember any out and out prejudice, this is only because Johnny’s not out publicly.

It was heart-warming to learn that perhaps Johnny’s family knew more than he thought about his ‘secret’ and that in their own sweet way they just wanted what was best for him. As for Gheorghe, we get little insight into his own life in Romania, something I would have liked but I understand wasn’t strictly necessary.

All in all this is a nice love story that felt authentic – and yes, it almost finished me.

My Rating

4.5/5.

What did my love think of this one? Would she take it down the local for a fumble or toss it out with the cold bath water? Find out here of course.

Catch Up

 

Remember when blogs were a form of journalling? When we’d write down what we’d done in that day or how we felt about certain things as if our online space was a fluffy pink lockable diary from the 80’s? (Nineties, 2000’s, whatever).

I feel like somewhere along the line I’ve lost what blogging means to me – even more so every person and their barista has an internet presence, be it a snarky Twitter feed or a mini-blog in the form of Instagram stories, is it even a thing anymore? As I type that I know that doesn’t matter at all, I’ve never had that much of a following and that’s completely fine – the interaction I’ve had via my blog has been meaningful and life-affirming in a way 10k likes could never be (I’m assuming).

I do this for myself first and I can’t imagine that ever-changing. But I do want to get back to a more passionate place. I love reviewing films, I love talking about books and TV I like too – but where are the feelings, where is the truth? So I’ll be exploring that in my posts moving on. Who knows where this will take me?

Anyway, a catch up, Dear Diary! My husband and I are currently on annual leave and I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying doing absolutely nothing. Films, Drag Race and reading in the bath, none of the spring cleaning I’d planned to do, none of the socialising I imagined myself doing (that part’s an out-and-out lie, sorry). It’s what we need right now and I’m not going to fight my desire to nest.

We also just got back from a few days in Amsterdam which was really lovely and chilled. We didn’t go as crazy as that city sometimes warrants but we wandered and ate and took a boat trip and looked at dicks in the sex museum and generally just hung out – it was perfect.

I didn’t partake in Amsterdam’s number one delicacy but I still enjoyed sitting outside the coffee shops, watching people. It’s such a cool city just to be in.

Today I’m catching up on blogging, both here and on my film blog, watching a few films for the podcast and I might do a Trixie Mattel inspired make up look, if I’m feeling it. I’m absolutely loving the freedom to chill out in my pants and do what I like. Tomorrow we’re doing a double bill at the flicks. All in all, a good week is (un)planned and I intend to enjoy it before reality comes knocking again.

Have a good week all!

Princess Cyd (Film) Review

The last film of Feminist February and as far as I’m concerned we’ve signed off with a bang. A slow and subtle Indie bang but a bang nonetheless.

And, last week’s bland sniffle-fest aside, I think this month has been a success.

*Spoilers*

Princess Cyd (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Loughlin visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer.

My Review

We begin Princess Cyd with a 911 recording played over the opening credits, depicting the death of a woman while her child is in the house. This is a blunt introduction to the character of Cyd Loughlin, who we meet 16 years later as a young adult.

Cyd has been sent by her depressed father to stay with her aunt Miranda, the novelist sister of Cyd’s late mother. Miranda has not seen or heard much from Cyd since she was a small child and since she lost her mother so is a little nervous about how things will go. She’s also very comfortable in her own routine.

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When Cyd first arrives, both the women are very polite and although there’s some nervousness, Cyd is curious and asks a lot of questions. While Miranda is an open book, some of the topics broached take her outside her comfort zone. She embraces this though and starts to relax in her niece’s company. Cyd challenges Miranda’s religious beliefs, her sex life and the way she leads her solitary (but not lonely) life. This shakes Miranda up, forcing her to look inward.

Cyd is quite taken with the idea of Miranda and her friend Anthony (James Vincent Meredith) getting it on but Miranda insists this isn’t on the cards. Anyway, Anthony is sort of married.

And while Cyd is settling into her new (temporary) life in Chicago, she meets Katie in a coffee shop and there’s an immediate spark. During a literary gathering at Miranda’s home, Cyd also bonds with Ridley (Matthew Quattrocki). She disappears into a bedroom with him and this causes some mild consternation between our new housemates, even though she doesn’t bang him.

Miranda swears she’s not going to be the person who nags Cyd about her life choices but when Cyd makes a snarky comment about her aunt substituting sex with food, Miranda lets her have it.

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It is not a handicap to have one thing, but not another. To be one way, and not another. We are different shapes and ways, and our happiness is unique. There are no rules of balance. ~ Miranda Ruth

Katie meanwhile finds herself in an awful situation at home and is rescued by Cyd and Miranda. Miranda is kind and understanding, something both young women need and she welcomes Katie into the fold without question. Cyd and Katie get closer and closer; as do niece and aunt. Basically, this is what life looks like without the interference of arsehole men. Even nice ones are not needed here – and as Cyd prepares to go back to her own life, Miranda has her own decisions to make.

What will she decide?

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My Thoughts

Ultimately, this is the sweet tale of a young woman reconnecting with her mother through someone who knew and loved her too, while fulfilling her own need. It’s about the craving for maternal love and it is a love story in many ways, just one of your unconventional, familial ones.

The performances are realistic, warm and convincing – and all three women are likable. At no time is Cyd the destructive mess you might expect her to be, though she has a fucking right. She might be direct at times but she means well. She seems wiser than her sixteen years.

Don’t come into this expecting a rip-roaring ride, because you definitely won’t get that. What you will get is a beautiful rumination on adolescence and learning to do you.

My Rating

4.5 – Gentle and sweet.

What does my very own princess think of this one? Would she let it stay the summer or send it back to daddy? Find out here.

Until next year my pretties #feministfebruary.

Ageing

I posted this on Instagram late Saturday night in a moment of candidness and it got quite a heartwarming response. So I thought, why not share it here? It’s one of the things I think of the most at the moment, the relentless passing of time and how it affects my self-esteem.

I know it’s not something I can stop and I know we all feel this way from time to time, or will feel that way, it’s just a subject close to my heart. So sue me.

IMG_20180217_221136_012You know something? It’s hard getting older. It’s nice getting older but it’s also incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact that you’re not the young sprite you used to be. I’m insecure about being over ten years older than a lot of the people in my life but I like the variety and I feel more energetic and lucky to be able to learn from them too, I would never change it.

I mention my age a lot like a proper grandma but I wouldn’t change it. I’m mostly comfortable in my own skin and it’s so important to embrace who you are. I got to this place via a hundred funny stories, some loss, hardship and good old-fashioned love. Not to mention with (a lot) of help from my friends. Life is amazing and beautiful and it’s mainly down to the people you surround yourself with.

I wouldn’t change a thing, for all the tea in China. And I really love tea. ❤

What are your thoughts?

My Funny Valentine

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I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I despise this holiday. Valentine’s is the suckiest of all the special occasions, without a doubt. It tricks you into thinking that the things that really don’t matter matter – the red foil covered chocolates, the roses and the dinners, and I’m mad at it for that.

But Cupid already knows my views so I’ll spare you another year of rambling on about it. This year I think it’s much more important to acknowledge the most valuable long-term relationship you will ever have – the one you have with your fine self.

We live a long time (for the most part), a whole life in the company of one person we simply can’t avoid – so it’s vital we try and get along. Easier said than done though, innit? When we’re battling our demons, juggling stress and social anxiety – comparing ourselves to others on Instagram. It’s exhausting adding self-love to the list of things we ‘should’ be doing – and sometimes even that rhetoric is flawed. Like, love yourself please but not too much. 

I say, do your best – do what makes you feel good and better. Whether that’s hanging with your Galentine’s, eating nice food – you get the drift. I think I’d be much more comfortable with St. Valentine’s birthday if it was about that instead.

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As for my evening, I’ve been out for coffee and a gossip with a new friend, eaten roast chicken and we’re now watching Valentine (2001) because I’m in the mood for pretty people being picked off one by one by a vengeful cupid. You?

Happy Valentine’s Day, whatever you’re up to.

💖💖💖

Working Overtime

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I’m going to free flow this bad boy today because sometimes little truth nuggets pop out when you’re not thinking about them and that can be a freeing feeling. I’m very tired at the moment, doing lots of overtime at work to pay for things coming up later in the year. Birthdays, trips, visits. Life.

I’m also knackered because I’m feeling super anxious all the time, about everything. Last night it was because I’m reading Pet Semetary and before anything has even kicked off horror wise I’m fretting about death like I’m the little girl Ellie Creed in the story. She’s just learning about loss and death after visiting the Cemetary (PROPER SPELLING) and now she can’t get her head around the fact her cat might die one day and I feel you, girl. I feel you.

Death is something I think of often but it’s never really to do with my own mortality (lie, I’m terrified of ageing) but more about other people. Like, please don’t leave me alone in this cold, unforgiving world.

I know it’s irrational and it’s part of the reason I sought help last Summer, why I’m medicated and trying to learn to let go of the worries I can’t control. Losing my partner, family members or friends is my worst fear and I have to accept that I can’t do anything about it. Phew, this got deep quick, didn’t it?

Perhaps I should stay away from Stephen King for a little while.

In other news, I’m slowly saving money for our trip to Amsterdam in March. We’re going to do a graffiti tour and I can’t wait for that. March is Glynn’s birthday month so I feel as though this trip is a double celebration. I can’t wait to get on a barge and drift past the houseboat we’re going to live on when we’re old.

And before March, Lightle‘s coming to stay and that is the greatest! When your girl sends you a message saying all she needs it tea and movies, you know you picked a good one. So this is going to be an exciting year, I have Copenhagen in October, plus more coming and this girl better pull her socks up and stop shopping because money is a thing one needs to live, yo.

In creative news, I’ve started putting a plan for a novel together. There’s a theory that we all have at least one book in us and I’ve been doubting that for a while. Then I got a fit of inspiration and now I’m really planning it. It’s embryonic days obviously and I have the right to sit on my hands for a while while I work up the confidence to hammer it out but it’s there, at the surface. The splinter I’ve just started to work out from beneath the skin.It’s almost there. The story, which is likely to evolve into something altogether different, is going to be about friendship and that’s all I can reveal for now.

Things are good and bad, rough and smooth, heavenly and hellish – all at once. Life, in essence and who’d change anything about it?

How’re things with you?

Breathe

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Here we are, back to work, back to reality.

The diet chat is rife, people are returning to the gyms with their tails between their legs and boy don’t we know it. The mince pies have been cleared away and we’re having hearty porridge for our breakfasts instead of a handful of Quality Street.

I hate all the self-flagellation that comes after all the joy so I’m not partaking in it. I won’t be going to the gym tonight or any time soon because I can’t afford it and also I don’t want to. I can’t think of anything worse than sweating my nuts off in between a hundred other people who’d rather be on the sofa finishing the new series of Black Mirror. So I’ll be on the sofa finishing the new series of Black Mirror thanks, in a blanket with my tea.

January is generally the most miserable month of all and I’m going to inject as many little moments of happiness into it as I can, even if I am as poor as a church mouse. Even if all that is is an hour reading a book I’m into or having a pickle. Life’s too short and my only resolution is to be MORE so bring it 2018. I want more!

On another note, I’ve been spending more time than is healthy watching 2017 highlight videos on social media. All those wonderful perfectly composed images from the past year fill me with an instant gratification but when I think back on my own year, which was filled with some really dark moments (and obviously it was worse for my husband), I’m just thankful I made it at all.

Not to bring the mood down because we’re all about positivity here but I’m amazed I didn’t run away or bury myself in the garden at times. We suffered a great loss as a family, which was awful but has brought us closer together and I’m grateful for that. I feel as though I held on to a lot of the trauma of what happened though and then I moved from my comfy (but deeply unfulfilling) job into the worst one I’ve ever had (yes worse than the turkey plucking) – and I nearly lost it.

Some good did come of this though as the anxiety I’ve been trying to freeze out for years refused to be ignored any longer and I had to do something about it. I also learned that some people are just horrible and nothing you can do or say can change that. A hard lesson has been to understand that that’s on them and not me.

And even though I’m not sure my current role is a forever, it is fun and I’ve made some great friends – so for now I’m just going to enjoy it and see where it takes me. Despite myself I’m excited for what the year has in store, slightly wary but overall hopeful – and everyday, I’m just going to try to remember to breathe.

How are you guys settling into the New Year?

New Year, Same Me

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In 2018, I pledge to be even more me.

To take up more space, to take more chances, make more mistakes, more friends, more noise. Take trips, say yes, create more. Write more and be more present.

I’m tired of all the new me bullshit. While it’s nice to take stock of a year and look upon a fresh new one with a sliver of excitement, why must we always have to change? Who I am is just fine thanks, I’ll not be adjusting at all.

Apart from trying to save instead of spend, I’ll be:

  • Eating whatever the fuck I like
  • Going on at least two European breaks
  • Visiting London at least once
  • Writing regularly and maybe even outlining a plan to write something ‘real’
  • Recording a lot of new episodes for the podcast
  • Watching all the films
  • Reading all the books
  • Being vocal about anything and everything than means something to me

What are you thinking?

Level Fucking Forty ðŸŽ‰ðŸŽ‰

Well here I am, aged 40.

I’m an adult woman finally, though it could be argued I hit that two decades ago. I’ve never felt like a grown up though – what I do feel is very loved, very sure that who I am has set now, and although I will learn more and more lessons along the way, this is pretty much who I will be until the end. Which is kind of fucking cool.

There’s not much to report since the clock struck midnight on Friday and shoved me into my forties. I don’t feel different. I don’t look different. I am not different.

I still woke up this morning and ate a cold McDonald’s apple pie and watched Netflix in my pants. I read some of my book and I checked my social media on the loo. Later I will dye my hair bright red and do a face mask.

I’m happy and lucky and secure in who I am. I have beautiful friends, great family and cool work mates. I’m an excellent speller and I can write a decent sentence. I wear black kohl around my eyes the same way I did when I was eighteen. I’m heavily tattooed now and that ink is half the reason I love my body more than I ever have.

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I’m overweight and happy. I have anxiety and depression. I miss my dad every day and wish he was here. I had the best childhood. I married my best friend and get a kick out of belonging to him, just not in the ownership sense. He feels like home, is home.

I love the people I surround myself with. Can’t believe sometimes that these talented and interesting people want to spend time with me, although I would choose myself as a friend. I know I’m cool by not being cool at all.

I own art now, my very own piece of perfection by my favourite artist, and in March I’m going to visit my favourite city with my favourite person, courtesy of my family. It’s the city I want to retire to. Maybe I won’t come back. I heard a friend of a friend recently visited Amsterdam and didn’t come back, maybe I won’t either.

I think about how small the world is all the time, and how big. How everything I do is a choice – and I choose this life because it’s good. Every time I beat myself about not owning my own home or having loads of savings or a great career, I remember a line from a short film I once saw about a drag queen who passed away. “I want to live a fulfilling life” (what a beautiful sentiment) – and I know I have too. I will.

I’m brave and scared all the time – I could push myself harder – and maybe I will now I’m here. Maybe I won’t but what I will do is aim for the fulfilling life. When you take everything into consideration, that really is all that matters.

How are you?

Ps. I’m going to celebrate the last few days of November with my 40 favourite things, so watch this space!

#thisis40