Book Review: So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

so you've been publicly shamed

I discovered Jon Ronson earlier this year thanks to his very compassionate TED Talk “When online shaming goes too far“. I agreed with his ideas however unpopular they are in the modern world, where we’re okay with shaming people for a thing they’ve done or allegedly done wrong and then join the crowd in destroying their lives. Do you really think that shaming people online is harmless or perhaps that some people “deserve it”? Then read on…

In “You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” Ronson explores some of the most famous cases of shaming: the tweet of Justine Sacco, Jonah Lehrer’s books that included fabrications, Max Mosley’s sex party with allegedly Nazi uniforms and many others you have certainly heard about. The structure of the book is a bit chaotic so I’ll try to discuss briefly its most important points:

Is It Even True?

The first problem with shaming and particularly with online shaming that Ronson points out is that often what people are getting bent out of shape about is often just an interpretation. In a way the source of the outrage becomes irrelevant very quickly. People join in madness in the blink of an eye and no one tries to discover the real story. Those who disagree with the shaming crowd keep quiet, scared to be shamed as well.

Even If It Is True, Do They Deserve It? 

The first scenario when what you’ve said has been misinterpreted or presented in a bad light is even more tragic. However, even if the shamed person has done something wrong the question remains whether they deserve to get the treatment they get and have their lives ruined. We all make mistakes and some mistakes should be punished but is an eternal punishment not a bit too harsh?
People online say the worst stuff about those who are being shamed. Particularly women are often threatened and sent death and rape wishes. Both men and women are being called names. Sure, it’s not okay to do what they did but two wrongs don’t make it right.
Very often as a result of the outrage they end up losing their jobs whether the allegations are true or not because people don’t want to be associated with them.
When the madness subsides and someone else becomes the new victim of the crowd, the lives of people who have been shamed do not get back to normality. The magic of Google makes it possible for people to find your dirty little secret very quickly and no one wants to hire you for a very long time. Can you imagine dating after such an experience? You’re even in trouble if you just share the name with the person who’s been shamed.

Other Considerations

Ronson discusses many other things in the book that I won’t go into details of but that make it even more worth reading:

  • new laws in Europe making it possible for people to “whitelist” their names
  • the very pricey specialist who may help you “whitelist” your name
  • the history of shaming
  • other ways of modern shaming
  • Twitter bots used to create fake Twitter accounts
  • the best way to handle shaming if it happens to you

#zlotybaby’s Insight

The book is well written, if somewhat chaotic and it’s a very quick read. It’ll likely leave you a bit shaken, though. If you’ve ever participated in shaming you may start feeling very very bad about it now that you know what kind of consequences it has on a person. After all, whatever they’ve done, they’re still human. We LOVE being righteous and if someone is wrong it gives us a great opportunity to do so. However, isn’t shaming others a lame way to feel better about ourselves? Besides, who hasn’t said something stupid in their lives or something that could be misinterpreted?
I guess my main conclusion after reading this book is that we should try to be compassionate and not assume the worst of others. We should also remember that our actions matter and that with a mindless reshare can contribute to someone’s pain.

For those who think that we should pay forever for even the smallest mistakes, I’m leaving some food for thought with this video about a man, who actually used to do bad things but turned his life around. Watch the TED talk by Christian Picciolini here.

Have you ever participated in online shaming? Have you ever been shamed? Do you think that people deserve forgiveness or should they pay forever for their mistakes? I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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Movie Review : The Bookshop

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I’ve always thought there was something romantic about libraries and bookshops. Once upon a time I even dreamt of bumping into my Prince Charming in such a place. Well, that was until my innocent mind was ruined thanks to the Netflix series –  YOU (I really owe y’all a review on the one).  Anyway so its understandable why a film titled ‘The Bookshop’ would appeal to me. It also stars that Brit legend and silver fox, Bill Nighy, which added to the appeal. So I dragged #zlotybaby along to see said film on our last date night. And let’s just say I doubt she’ll be letting me make movie choices again anytime soon.

The protagonist of the story is Florence Green, played by Emily Mortimer. At first glance, she is a somewhat dowdy looking, wouldn’t say boo to a ghost type. Not quite a 30-something virgin but a bit of loner since her husband died in the war. Despite appearances, she does actually have some spirit because she is willing to go against the grain to pursue her dream of turning a decaying building into a bookshop in this butt-fuck nowhere village somewhere in Blighty. Anyway, she comes up against a lot of passive-aggressive opposition from other major players in the village.

One of her first customers is Mr Brundish (Bill Nighy), a slightly eccentric (he burns the book sleeves with the authors pictures on – strange) recluse whose major love is books (especially since his wife didn’t drown while out fetching blueberries to make a pie for him). At some point, the Mr Brundish and Florence strike up a ‘friendship’ and he is pretty much the only person willing to champion her cause and help her fight to keep the bookshop open.

To me, it’s not exactly clear why the villagers, led by some sour-faced old hag (played by Patricia Clarkson), are soooo against Florence’s bookshop. Even though most of them seem a bit backward, they obviously can read because they buy the books from Florence’s store. I guess, a part of it is to do with them being a bunch of conservative twats and not wanting a single woman running a business and corrupting their delicate minds with her dirty dirty books…

The movie got some awards and lots of smart, film buff types said good things about it but honestly… I don’t know why. The only thing I could take away from it was firstly, that it’s possible to meet the love of your life in a bookshop (because Flo did after all!) but then he may die and you are basically doomed without him. And secondly that the world really hasn’t changed that much since the 1950s, mainstream society really doesn’t have much love for born-again virgins (we worked out that it was unlikely that Florence got laid in about 16 years and for Mr Brundish it was probably about 55 years). Sure, they touched hands at some point in the movie but that was probably the most action that either of them (or perhaps that whole god-foresaken village) had seen in an awfully long time.

Perhaps I’m just a little too basic (or sex-obsessed) but I wouldn’t recommend you pay to see this movie. Actually, even if you get hold of a free version, I would say make sure you exhaust all options available on Netflix before wasting a few hours of your precious life. All in all, the movie was pretty underwhelming. Obviously, some people enjoy spending hours reading between the lines but I’m sure you can find better things to do such as munch on pasta and talk about anything and everything else like #zlotybaby and I did after this ordeal. So yep, give it a miss and rather do some swiping so you increase your chances of getting lucky rather than living a sexless existence like the main characters in this story.

Rinsers, Have you watched The Bookshop? What did you think? Also, can anyone provide any insight into why through the ages, societies continue hate upon and ostracize born-again virgins and other forms of social recluse? Answers in the comment section below. Please and thank you.    

 

 

Book Review : The Unexpected Joy of Being Single By Catherine Gray

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As you all know by now, #englishrosiee recently took a much-needed sabbatical from the world of online dating.  As I found myself contemplating my Tinder hiatus, I stumbled across this book titled The Unexpected Joy of Being Single by Catherine Gray. To be completely honest, as much as I hated/hate the rigmarole of the dating game, I did find myself scoffing at this ludicrously titled book.  Although my initial thoughts were that this would be some silly Feminazi justification for spinsterhood, I knew better than to judge a book by its cover (quite literally) and seeing as the author is a Sunday Time’s Bestseller, I figured she probably had something worthwhile to say and there probably was no more appropriate time to read such a book than during a self-imposed period of singledom.

So, the book is part auto-biography, part self-help but with lots of factual insights into the realities of modern dating and being single. It starts by putting things into perspective – apparently more than half of Brits aged 25-44 are single. and increasing numbers of people are putting off marriage and babies till later in life (if they choose to pursue that at all). It’s reassuring to know, especially when you consider the stigma attached to being single. I mean, it’s normal for everyone and their dog to offer you dating advice and tell you not to fret because Prince Charming will fall from the sky when you least expect it. Ugh, not so long ago a Sri Lankan waitress in a Thai Restaurant offered to set me up with some dude from India (who can speak English – how lucky am I!!) because according to her my life would be OVER if I wasn’t married and knocked up by the age of 35. Sigh. Exactly.

I think there are probably single women in their 30s that will be able to resonate with the content. At first I literally felt the book was written for me and sent a friend a picture of one of the chapters titled something along the lines of A 33 Year Old Spinster (yup, there are days when I think that is me!).  The basic gist of the story is how the author goes from being a love addict (having desperate need to always be in a relationship for validation) to confidently embracing her single status.

The book also explore how, thanks to popular culture, we’ve been led to believe that single life is inferior to the traditional package of marriage, kids and happily ever after. It is also touches on some interesting economic perspectives as why people (may) feel more motivated into pursuing a relationship rather than remaining happily single. For example, single life tends to be more expensive. In many western metropolises, it is difficult for single people to get onto the property ladder. Its also more expensive to travel solo versus splitting the costs with a man-friend. But as she points out there are always ways around these thing.

In essence, the message behind the book is well intentioned and gives you a lot to think about. It is also reassuring to realise that you aren’t alone as 30-something singleton, and there is really nothing wrong with you (you really aren’t single because you are morbidly obese, ugly and dumb). However, I think it is mainly written from the perspective of a well educated, white, middle class woman in her mid/late 30s living in an affluent western city. In other cultures, it would be more difficult to have this ‘I am a strong liberated woman’ attitude when you factor in cultural, religious and various family pressures.  I think we are lucky in that while they can get irritating, most of the comments we get from family and friends are somewhat LOL-worthy and easy enough to fob off but I think in other societies the pressure would be more real.

So while I do agree with what Catherine Gray says about having to be a sorted single person before you can expect to be a functional part of a happy relationship and how people should try to date in moderation rather than out of desperation. There is a lot I don’t agree with. Of course its nice to believe that there are other forms of love – from your family, friends, dogs and various other sentient beings. But lets be real none of these compare to romantic love. Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking. We live in an age where you can easily pay for sexy time if you have the cash money, hit up Anne Summers or use your trusty hand if you really are broke. But you already know my thoughts on the whole WISO way of thinking. Even beyond those basic animal instincts though, there are other elements of romantic relations that can’t be replicated elsewhere. So while periods of singledom are well and good, I don’t think this should ever be a permanent state of affairs.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve probably had both my happiest times and most heartbreaking times thanks to relationships. Having a fulfilling single life can certainly save you the emotional rollercoaster that comes from engaging in human relations. But to me its, just that a happy medium, a safe haven essentially. And I think we should always strive for more. So yup, the #tinderhiatus was a good thing on many levels and as much as being back in the game will get infuriating, I’ll keep tindering along while still finding time to all the other stuff that life requires till Prince Charming makes an appearance.

Rinsers. Give me your thoughts on single life. Is it something that should be embraced and seriously considered as an alternative to the happily ever after BS fed to us by the media? Do you think people these days are legitimately single out of choice, or because basically they are unwanted, fussy or lazy? Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

TV Series Review: After Life

After LifeI’ve been lucky with TV shows for a while now. Another gem I’ve found on Netflix is called “After Life” and it’s a British comedy series starring Ricky Gervais. Just like “The Russian Doll” I reviewed for you last week it’s sweet and short. In other words, perfect for binging!

The main character of “After Life”, Tony, loses his wife to cancer. From the recordings she made for him it would seem that he used to be a rather cheerful chap before her death. However, what we see on the screen is not only a grief-stricken fellow but also an angry, mean guy who’s more than happy to end his life. He’s a terribly funny douchebag but still someone you’d never want to have around. His friends and family are more resilient than the audience but keep failing at cheering him. Will Tony stop being a sour puss or will he eventually kill himself? I won’t tell you, you’ll have to watch “After Life” to find out for yourself.

The biggest advantage of the series is, of course, the sense of humour. It’s British and it’s dark but most importantly, it’s hilarious. Ricky Gervais is very convincing as Tony who’s lost his will to live. There’s a number of other characters who are also pleasant enough but he’s an undeniable star of the show. The horrible comments he makes are really funny in this kind of way that makes you feel a bit bad about laughing at them. At the same time, the series manages to lighten things up a bit towards the end, which is not much of a spoiler because TV shows usually do. From a more subjective point of view I love the main character’s unapologetic atheism. (Pssst, you can find out more about why an atheist should not date a team-God member from our Short Guide to Dating and Religion.)

Perhaps more importantly, the series talks about grief after the loss of a loved one. I’m sure that anyone reading it who’s married or in a long-term committed relationship and actually cares about their partner, will be able to empathise with the main character. Of course,  your significant other should not be your everything because it’s just not healthy. However, at the end of the day they’re the person who matters to you the most and the mere thought of losing them can bring tears to your eyes. Watching a character going through such loss unavoidably makes you appreciate what you have more. It also shows you how much a person who’s lost their partner is going through and how unhelpful people who want you to “just snap out of it” are, even if they’re well-meaning.

If I was to criticise anything it’s the very quick ending. It feels almost like it’s been thrown at us when for a number of episodes we see one thing happening and then seemingly out of the blue everything changes… All in all, it’s a very good series. It makes you feel a bit happy and a bit sad, giving you just the right amount of both kinds of emotions. I will certainly give the season 2 a go.

Are you sold or not yet? Here’s the trailer to give you a sample of what to expect:

Have you seen the series? If yes, what do you think about it? If not, are you a fan of British humour? Does “After Life” sound like something you’d like to watch?

 

Book Review : Everything I Know About Love By Dolly Alderton

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Having recently reactivated my online dating profiles I made a rather scathing comment after being reminded of the limited type of men available to me in the Mother City. I’m afraid the comment is too un-PC, even for this blog (it involved some reference to Brit TV channel) so I’ll leave that to your imagination (and I’ll give you #zlotybaby’s famous 2 rand if you guess right). The friend I was bitching to LOL’d and commented that it was quite refreshing to see how my taste in men/romantic perspectives had changed so dramatically in the space of two years which subsequently made me think of a book I’d read earlier this year.

Following the abrupt end of a lovely winter fling just prior to Valentine’s Day (I have the BEST luck!) I picked up a copy of Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. It’s just the type of book you need if you’ve just been ceremoniously dumped, done something idiotic or simply don’t feel like you are where you should be in life or are feeling a bit sorry for yourself.  The book is an autobiographical account of how the author’s perspective on love changes as she grows up. I would also go as far as to say it is one of the best (non-intentional) self-help books I’ve ever read!

Basically it takes the reader from those embarrassing school girl crushes that we supposedly have in our teens (I was still acting like a teenager in my 20s – late bloomer and all!), through the madness of student life where you basically fall onto faces that you only have vague recollections of when your friends debrief you on the previous nights events (yep, we’ve all been there!), to your early 20s when you start to feel like you might be finding a purpose in life and getting things on the right track till BOOM the universe bitch slaps you with some god-awful life experiences!

It’s definitely a nice piece of chick-lit which will really have you LOL’ing. It’s an easy read but not in the usual trashy sense. In many ways, this book contains the sort of things many girls would have wished they’d known as a teen. I don’t know about y’all but I often find myself wanting to punch those older, influential people around me in the face for not telling certain things when I was growing up. To give you the most basic of examples, when I was a chubby (bordering on obese) kid growing up, I always thought I’d never get lucky because guys were only into those blond chicks with super model-esque figures. Not true. As I’ve grown up I’ve had first hand experience of how it really is a case of different strokes for different folks with ex-boyfriends feeding me doughnuts telling me they’d dump my skinny ass if I ever start looking like those yoga-bunny types I’ve always aspired to be (see kids, chubby-chasers are real!). Anyway, I’m sure you’ll also find lots of useful bits of information, you may know now but wish you’d known when you were younger!

It’s not all about romantic love, as the title may trick you into believing. It is also about the general ups and downs we experience growing up – partying hard, getting drunk, navigating the job market, learning to stand on your own two feet (and getting knocked down in the process), and having  a few good friends who are there by your side through it all. It’s basically a more real, less glamorous, more British account of Sex and the City. And I’ll pretty much say the same thing about it as said about the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…it’s funny, but it’s super funny if you are a Brit. I mean there are some references that you’ll pretty much only get if you grew up in Blighty!

So, all in all, it’s just a really lovely, generally hilarious (but sad in some parts) book about getting older and muddling through life. And I think the best thing about the book is that if your feeling like a bit of a dumb-ass whether it’s a case of falling in ‘love’ too quickly or falling down drunk and making a fool of yourself, it’ll make you realise you are not alone in your stupidity. All the idiotic things you’ve done have likely been done before, and as much of a numpty as you might feel about it now, you’ll likely come out the other side just fine. So if you or one of mates needs a bit of a boost or a little reassurance, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, is sure to provide just that. Go read!

 

 

 

TV Series Review: The Russian Doll

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“The Russian Doll” has caught my eye on Netflix because:
1) I love Russian dolls/matrioshkas, meaning the dolls with a number of smaller versions of themselves inside
2) It has Natasha Lyonne in it, who I haven’t seen since “American Pie” but whose character Jessica is my favourite one in the movie

Instinctual series choice, in my experience, has almost the same success rate in not being shit as the choice made after an extensive research. Besides, what better to do after walking over 20,000 steps up and down on your holiday than binge on a TV series? (Pssst some self-promotion here. Read my first post about my holiday in Baku, Azerbaijan on my new blog). Brief, we decided to watch “The Russian Doll” and I didn’t regret it.

The series starts in a way that seems to be suggesting a typical comedy series. The twist is that the almost 40 year-old protagonist who’s a commitment phoebe and a casual sex enthusiast is a woman. Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) swears, smokes, drinks and in general doesn’t give a f**k. Nothing new under the sun, you’re thinking? Well, you’re up for a surprise because Nadia dies after her birthday party and then comes back to life. Is the Universe punishing her for something? Does she have a mission to complete? What??? You’ll find out when watching this sweet and short series. It’s really worth it!

The show doesn’t follow a predictable script. It’s also funny but there are elements to it, which feel very raw. I really enjoyed this emotional roller-coaster as well as the acting. Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett stand out but other cast members have also been carefully chosen, which adds up to the general pleasure of the watching experience. The series has a very nice pacing, surprising you just when you think you know what’s going to happen next. You’re also given clues to the mystery throughout the series so you can see for yourself whether you’ll figure out the solution before the protagonist…

Does the series have any drawbacks? Duh. Nothing and nobody’s perfect. I think that the ending should have been a bit more dragged out to match the pacing of the rest of the series. I also think that the makers certainly haven’t done any favour to Harry Nilsson whose catchy song “Gotta Get Up” appears in the series so many times that anyone who has watched it would refuse to listen to it ever again. Still, the repetitiveness adds up to the audience being able to relate to the characters so sorry, but no sorry, Harry. Otherwise, the series is a strong 8/10 for me. There are rumours of season 2 but I think that it isn’t necessary as the series has a nice ending and it would be better of without a sequel.

The series is definitely worth watching but if you don’t believe me, have a look at the trailer:

Have you heard about “The Russian Doll”? What do you think about time loop stories? Last but not least, does a bit of fantasy ruin a story for you or do you think it can still make for a compelling narrative? Let me know in the comments’ section. If you’ve watched the series, I’m also curious to hear what you think about it.

Review : 50 Shades of Fairytales @ The Alexander Upstairs

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While things may be a bit different nowadays when it comes to children’s entertainment with Disney becoming all PC and ensuring that their stories aren’t as whitewashed as they once were and contain some sort of feminist undertone, I’m old enough to be of that generation brought up on the traditional notion of a fairytale. You know those feel-good stories where Prince Charming is an alpha male with BIG MAN muscles who is capable of destroying all the bad people in order to ‘save’ the damsel in distress and give her the happily-ever-after she deserves …. blah blah blah. Sigh. Unfortunately, as we are all by now well aware. Disney LIED. Alpha males, very much like unicorns, only exist in La La land and when it comes to slaying dragons and dealing with bad people, well us chicks are probably better off dealing with all that stuff ourselves because Prince Charming it seems is getting delayed.
’50 Shades of Fairytales’ is a one-women show which deals with exactly that. It tells the story of two women (played by Titilayo Adedokun) who share their personal experiences of relationships and the associated challenges through a string of songs. Covering everything from little girls fantasizing about the arrival of their Prince Charming and the excitement of planning one’s dream wedding to coming to terms with the reality of dating one deadbeat after another, being trapped in an unhappy codependent relationship with someone you want to kill.
Sure, it sounds a bit cynical. But I think most 20,30, 40-somethings can definitely identify with the characters’ struggles. Especially that of trying to remain hopeful despite all the knocks. Although the show is ultimately focuses on women chasing fairytales, the way that modern dating operates these days I think even the guys will find that they can relate. And even though there are parts that come down pretty hard on the male-species, the humour and sing-song of it all helps to tone down the raging-feminist vibe, which makes it more digestible for the men in the audience and those of us who aren’t quite yet complete haters of men.
The show is also provides a nice reality check for anyone who is feeling that the whole world is against them. It’s a nice reminder that nobody’s story is all that ‘original’. All you have to do is talk to five randoms on a bus to find that you aren’t the first woman to be blind-sided by a philandering jerk, to have dated a broke-ass loser, or fallen in madly in love in a sociopath. But in this world of Facebook reality we only ever get insights into the sugarcoated version of other people’s lives which tricks us into believing we are thee ultimate failure in life.
While there are anecdotes throughout the show which will pretty much resonate with anyone who didn’t simply marry their first love, it’s not all doom and gloom. And as much as it isn’t ‘cool’ to be into musicals these days, the whimsical show tunes here keep things light and fluffy, allowing the audience to leave lol’ing and skipping their way into the night rather than feeling depressed and hopeless. The lyrics are well-written and thought provoking and Titilayo Adedokun just has an amazing stage presence with a voice so incredible that it is almost too big for such a intimate venue. Furthermore, the fact that all the stage paraphernalia and costume changes are kept to a minimum also mean that you can focus more on the songs without being overly distracted.
All in all, 50 Shades of Fairytales is a lovely, uncomplicated little bit of entertainment that tackles the somewhat painful issues associated with modern romance in a fun and quirky way. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is currently feeling a bit hateful towards the opposite sex and world at large.  It’s on at the Alex for till the end of September and tickets are reasonably priced at just R120 (online), so catch it while you can. You really won’t be disappointed!

Movie Review: Book Club

BookClubPoster“Book Club” is a newly released chick flick with a number of great actresses and actors. It’s a story of four friends, now senior citizens, who’ve been meeting up monthly to discuss a book from their reading list. Their next read is “50 Shades of Grey”…

First of all, it’s nice to see a movie about older people. When Shonda Rhymes (the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy”) got an award for including diverse characters in her shows, she said that she’s not diversifying TV but she’s normalizing it. Inclusion of non-white people, sexual minorities and people older than 30 is just an actual representation of the society. It’s actually sad to have to say that it’s refreshing to see older people on screen, especially in the context of love and sex. It should be the norm but it isn’t. Series like “Grace and Frankie” about ladies in their 70s dealing with all sorts of life problems are still an exception to the rule. “Book Club” addresses partially why it is so. We think of older people as being fragile and not being able to take care of themselves. That may be true of some but times are changing. Seniors go to the gym, beat us dirty thirties on runs (so many of them beat me every time I take part in a race!), they study, start new careers and like everyone else want to have sex.

On the top of raising social awareness “Book Club” is just an enjoyable comedy to watch. You know the type: won’t change your life but is a pleasurable pastime that gives you a few laughs and will be forgotten in a week or two. A big advantage of this particular movie is that you can see some great Hollywood actors on screen, including Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Andy Garcia, just to enumerate some of them. As a typical romantic comedy it’s oversimplified and things go way too smoothly for the characters but that’s just a part of the genre. I think someone who has read “50 Shades of Grey” will appreciate the movie more (certainly get more jokes) than someone who hasn’t. Please don’t read the book if you haven’t, though ’cause it’s really trashy! I also don’t think reading it made as much impact on anyone as it did on the characters but exaggeration is oh well, yet again a part of the genre.

All in all, if you want some light entertainment, you’ll probably get exactly that out of “The Book Club”. If romcoms irritate you, rather skip this one.

 

Movie Review: On Chesil Beach

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Let’s talk about sex, baby. “On Chesil Beach” for a movie about sex has very little of it happening on screen so don’t get too excited. This lyrical adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel (check out my review of his novel “Sweet Tooth” here) with the screenplay by the author has just debuted on South African screens. It’s worth a watch, especially if you’re a McEwan fan, but far from brilliant.

Florence (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward (Billy Howle) are in love but come from very different backgrounds. They can talk for hours, have fun together and his family loves her. But are they truly a match? They’ve never had sex or know much about it, which will make their wedding night truly unforgettable and not in the right way.
The narrative in the movie splits between the said wedding night and how the relationship had progressed leading to it. Sounds promising? Perhaps but something went wrong. Maybe it’s just that two hours for an adaptation of a very short novel (or should I say a novella? The Booker Prize Committee seemed confused too!) was just too much screen time, which is why it resulted in lengthy story telling?

The movie certainly addresses a number of interesting issues such as sexual (and general) compatibility, the importance of sex in a relationship, sexual frustration of well-behaved people. I can’t complain about the acting either. The performances by both actors are, in fact, very strong. Seeing that their relation is the focal point of the story, it adds a lot to the movie. You may remember Saoirse Ronan as a young girl from another adaptation of a McEwan novel, “Atonement”. Already there she was a remarkable actress and she doesn’t disappoint in “On Chesil Beach”. She’s detached, calm and perhaps slightly deprived of emotions, just like I imagined Florence when reading the book. Billy Howle as Edward is quite a straightforward guy, at the same time fierce and awkward. Other actors are somewhat peripheral but they do a good job too. I also really appreciate the music and beautiful scenery.
Unfortunately, it was just all not enough to keep my attention through the movie. I really like deep, well-constructed characters but this movie completely forgets that there needs to be some action. Watching the film felt a little bit like watching a couple’s therapy session.

To sum up, “On Chesil Beach” is an okay plus watch. I can see and appreciate what the director and the scriptwriter tried to do there but I’m not buying it as a product. Now to finish off I’ll share with you an amusing anecdote about the writing of the novel: Apparently, Ian McEwan has admitted to taking a few stones from Chesil Beach in a radio interview. He kept them at his desk when writing. This confession caused protests by Mother Nature lovers as that was apparently illegal, which the author hadn’t know about. He ended up paying a fine of 2000 pounds. Go figure, the Brits!

 

Review : Significant Other @ The Fugard Theatre

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So, this is a bit of a pointless review as Significant Other is only playing at the Fugard for a few more days but let’s chat about it regardless…

The storyline is a twist on that of a typical chick flick (so great for a girls night out). Jordan Berman, like much of the Tinderverse, is desperately looking for ‘The One’ and again like the majority of 20/30 somethings is failing miserably in that mission. Unfortunately for him, Jordan is at that age where are his friends are rapidly pairing off one by one. To make matters worse, all of his closest girlfriends keep getting hitched. Forcing him to deal with the following :

a) the associated expenses (bachelorettes, destination weddings, wedding gifts, etc)

b) the plus one conundrum 

c) and the fact is expected to support and be happy for his friends (most of whom he knows are just settling) while he is crying inside because his ‘social life’ (as his grandmother calls it) is basically non-existent.

d) Oh, and the fact that not only is he never the bride/groom but he doesn’t even get bridesmaid privledges. Boo hoo.

As any single girl knows while getting yourself a bit of casual sex isn’t all that hard, finding Mr Right is much easier said than done (let’s hop along and find a unicorn at the end of a rainbow instead!).

For what it’s worth, Significant Other is nice light-hearted bit of entertainment. While it’s not to high-brow or taxing on the brain, I think many will be able to relate to it. We’ve all been THAT single person before. There was some debate as to whether or not people liked the shows ending…and more generally whether or not a person needs to be ok enough with themselves to be single forever or whether they should always continue the search for Mr/Miss Right even if they become bitter in the process? Something for you to ponder in the comments below.