Double feature: a book AND a movie review

Do you ever feel beset by horrible media?  I’ve had a spurt of not so great books lately, books I had been looking forward to reading!  I’m looking at you, Cuckoo’s Calling.  And you, The Mansion of Happiness.  And even you, The Fault in Our Stars (although less than the other two).  So, the bottom line was, I needed a really good read.  I submit for your pleasure:



Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies is a gorgeously written novel from 1994, based on the real lives of the Mirabal sisters.  These women joined the early revolutionary activities protesting the rule of dictator Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in the 1960s.  I loved this book!  Presented from the point of view of each sister, we get a look at the starkly different reasons these women join the cause, and the consequences they face for their choices.  Alvarez writes like poetry, and I highly recommend!  10 mangoes.

Movies, on the other hand haven’t been quite so rough.  We’ve seen a pretty horrible low-budget monster movie from 1997, Mimic (available on Netflix, entertaining enough on a snowy day in), the chilling We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, oh my, Tilda Swinton), a fun little coming of age in The Way Way Back (2013, and a nice turn of character for the normally jovial Steve Carell), and the very moving The Secret Life of Bees (2008, honestly, how had I not seen this one already??).  All good movies depending on your mood.  But what I want to review is a movie we first saw last year, but I watched again after getting the DVD for Christmas:

cloud atlasI think there were some people that pretty passionately hated this movie.  I’ll be honest, I do not understand you, people that passionately hated this movie.  Not at all.  This move was epic.  Gorgeous.  Moving.  Exciting.  It was action and drama and revolution and love and courage and growing up and leaving home and moving on and being used and being harmed and overcoming and changing the world and living forever.  And the book and the movie were different, but both AMAZING.  I’ll sum up with part of my goodreads review of the book, because it holds just as true for the tone of the movie:

The links [between stories] are tenuous but the themes weave beautifully through each story as we watch civilization change settings but never really being able to rise above the struggle between two schools of thought:

1, espoused by Henry Goose: “Why tinker with the plain truth that we hurry the darker races to their graves in order to take their land & its riches? Wolves don’t sit in their caves, concocting crapulous theories of race to justify devouring a flock of sheep! ‘Intellectual courage’? True intellectual courage is to dispense with these fig leaves & admit all peoples are predatory, but White predators, with our deadly duet of disease dust & firearms, are examplars of predacity par excellance, & what of it?… The second law of survival states that there is no second law. Eat or be eaten. That’s it.”

2, given by his adversary, Adam Ewing: “Belief is both prize & battlefield, within the mind & mind’s mirror, the world. If we believe humanity is a ladder of tribes, a colosseum of confrontation, exploitation & bestiality, such a humanity is surely brought into being… If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth & claw, if we believe divers races & creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence muzzled, power accountable & the riches of the Earth & its Oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real.”

10 mangoes.  Honestly, 10,000 mangoes.

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