Cinderella 2015 | Movie Review

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🎥 Cinematography by Haris Zambarloukos

👗 Costumes by Sandy Powell

🎬 Directed by Kenneth Branagh

🎞 Edited by Martin Walsh

🎼 Music by Patrick Doyle

📋 Produced by Allison Shearmur, David Barron, & Simon Kinberg

📝 Screenplay by Chris Weitz

🌟 S T A R R I N G

👨🏻‍🦱 Ben Chaplin as Ella’s Father

🧑🏻‍🦰 Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine

🤴🏼 Derek Jacobi as The King

👩🏼 Hayley Atwell as Ella’s Mother

🧚‍♀️ Helena Bonham Carter as Fairy Godmother

🌸 Holliday Grainger as Anastasia

🇪🇸 Jana Perez as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa

👠 Lily James as Ella | Eloise Webb as Young Ella

⚔️ Nonso Anozie as Captain

👑 Richard Madden as Prince Kit

🎨 Rob Brydon as Master Phineus

🌻 Sophie McShera as Drizella

🧐 Stellan Skarsgård as Grand Duke

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The next Disney remake on my review list is Cinderella from 2015. This was my 2nd viewing:

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If you think I’m going to mention every single time the castle intro is themed, you are correct. Surprise surprise, this film opens with a 3D rendering of Cinderella’s castle. Surrounded by the vivid blues & greens of nature, it truly feels like you’re turning the first page of a fairytale. Little Golden Books come to mind!

Ella’s family home is picture perfect in all its soft, romantic glory. In fact, that’s the overlying vibe of the entire movie. The art direction is definitely Rococo inspired which makes sense considering one of the most famous literary versions of “Cinderella” is French.

We actually see Ella’s mother in this version. She is gentle & sweet, & the most important lesson she teaches Ella is “Have courage & be kind.” Her example sets the tone for Ella’s personality & her determination to overcome obstacles with both courage & kindness.

When the camera focuses on young Ella’s blue slippers, pay attention. Those shoes go with Ella from a happy childhood to servanthood, their periwinkle blue color fading away under layers of cinders & dust. With the wave of a wand, those dirty shoes go from rags to riches, transforming into the iconic glass slippers. Those details float my boat!

If you’re someone who appreciates a “Tears Warning,” I’ve got your back. I would recommend having a box of tissues within reach six & and a half minutes into the movie. You’re welcome!

In the animated movie, Lady Tremaine’s look & personality are reminiscent of a cold, stern school headmistress. In the 2015 version, Cate Blanchett took that part & said “Watch me work!” Her perfect lipstick & 40s-inspired wardrobe are to die for, but don’t be fooled. “She’s the devil in disguise, a snake with blue eyes.”

Speaking of wardrobe, there’s a reason this movie got so much costume design buzz. The soft, romantic colors of Ella & Kit’s outfits are contrasted by the rich color palette of Lady Tremaine’s wardrobe & the bright, gaudy stepsister dresses. Even if you dislike the movie, it’s still fashion eye candy.

Even though the mice & Lucifer the cat don’t play as big a part in this version of Cinderella, I appreciate that they were included. They were used just enough for a nice dose of nostalgia without feeling out of place.

At the 18-minute mark, Ella hums & sings Sing Sweet Nightingale, a familiar tune from the animated movie. I swear God gave Lily James an angelic voice for this role, even though it’s not a musical. She was born to sing as a Disney princess!

At the 20:20 mark, grab your tissues again! If you want a picture of just how kind Ella is, here’s a stellar example: When a local farmer delivers the news of her father’s passing, the stepsisters complain about not getting the gifts they asked for, & Lady Tremaine worries about financial ruin. Ella is visibly heartbroken, but she takes the time to tell Farmer John “It must have been difficult to deliver such news” before shutting the door & crying. I just want to reach through the screen & give her a hug.

Cinderella is one of the Disney princess movies that features a romance, & I appreciate that this adaptation added more depth to the story. Ella meets Prince Kit early on in the movie, weeks before she attends the ball at the palace. She meets him as Cinderella, an orphan dressed in rags, & he meets her as Kit, purposefully hiding his royal identity so she doesn’t treat him differently. I can’t even put into words how much I love this scene, how he likes her so much at first sight that he doesn’t want his title to get in the way of their interaction. He doesn’t even flinch at her cinder-covered appearance or the fact that she’s riding a horse bareback. That is major character growth from the unnamed, one-dimensional prince, & I am fully supportive. Did I mention the off-the-charts chemistry?? If your tummy doesn’t do somersaults like you’re on a roller coaster, go back & watch the scene until you’re a believer.

Nonso Anozie plays an unnamed captain who is both guard & friend to Prince Kit. I know him from Conan the Barbarian, Game of Thrones, & Zoo; his natural sense of humor is always a breath of fresh air, & don’t even get me started on his BEAUTIFUL smile. *sigh* I love love LOVE his banter with Kit & his instinct to protect him. This friendship is an added bonus in a movie I already love!

Rob Brydon’s cameo as the painter Master Phineus is short, but he still manages to be hilarious. Here for it! 😂

This movie is practically perfect in every way. The one & only thing I don’t like is the Fairy Godmother’s face while disguised as an old woman. I question why makeup wasn’t used as a practical effect because the digital face doesn’t look good at all. As a disguise, it should look natural & convincing, not weird & suspicious. Setting the negative aside, Helena Bonham Carter is perfect as the Fairy Godmother. She is her usual quirky self, but there’s a motherly kindness in her portrayal that touches Ella’s life at just the right moment, a tenderness that matches that of her older, animated counterpart.

We need to discuss the transformation scene because *GASP* it will take your breath away. Fairy Godmother uses butterflies to transform Ella’s destroyed dress into something worthy of a princess. They eventually land & become part of the bodice, & there’s one on each glass slipper. The blue ballgown is a tribute to Cinderella’s classic look while still being its own unique creation. Don’t forget to check out her ride! I didn’t think the animated one could be topped, but the brand new golden carriage is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Hats off to Fairy Godmother for her Midas touch with a simple country squash!

Shoutout to Jana Pérez for representing España as Princess Chelina of Zaragosa! 🇪🇸

First of all, it is utterly adorable how nervous Kit is around Ella. You would think the opposite to be true, a “servant” being nervous around royalty. I appreciate that not just her beauty but also her kindness unnerve him. Second, the way Ella’s blue ballgown moves is too magical to be real, an absolute dream. Third, the song playing during the couple’s dance at the ball is reminiscent of Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty. Am I the only who hears that??

Yet another sign that Ella is unbelievably good: When everything turns back to normal after midnight & she has to walk home in her tattered dress in the rain, she smiles & laughs. I want to bottle that innocence & joy for (literal) rainy days!

Lady Tremaine reels in the Grand Duke with information about Ella’s identity & snaps the trap, trying to blackmail her way into nobility. When the search party arrives at her home, the last address on their list, he allows the three Tremaines to try the glass slipper before rushing to leave. Up in the attic where Ella’s been locked in, the mice manage to open a window so her voice can be heard down below; she’s singing Lavender’s Blue, a song sung to her by her parents. The Grand Duke is adamant that their job is done, but the captain isn’t convinced. In a dramatic turn of events, Prince Kit reveals that he’s been disguised as one of the soldiers, watching over the search proceedings. I’m sure you’ve surmised that he refuses to leave without meeting the girl who’s singing somewhere in the house. *SIGH* He truly wants to find Ella. 😍

I love the significance of Ella walking down the stairs to meet the prince, leaving Lady Tremaine in the attic. “Have courage & be kind.” It’s all about balance! She stood up for herself when the time was right & still had inner strength left over to look Lady Tremaine in the eye & say “I forgive you.” Could you do that? I don’t think I could!

It’s time to cry again, but these will be happy tears. The blue ballgown was just an opening act for the ABSOLUTELY STUNNING wedding dress & matching tiara. It takes my breath away every time I see it! Actually, I need a moment to compose myself . . . 😍 😭

On the day of their wedding, Ella & Kit are greeted by the kingdom while standing on a palace balcony. Some familiar animal friends make an appearance; it looks like they’ve moved in & are adjusting well to royal life. Before the happy couple kisses & lives happily ever after, Kit calls Ella “my queen,” & Ella calls him “my Kit.” ADORABLE!

At the end, Ella’s Fairy Godmother is confirmed as the narrator. She appears out of a cloud & waves her wand to reveal the words “The End.” A magical end to a magical movie!

💬 Closing Thoughts: This adaptation strikes the perfect balance between staying true to the animated movie & adding new touches that build upon a beloved foundation. Five years later I still don’t think any remake has taken the top spot away from Cinderella.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zye-4GGANzw

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🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 84% Critics | 78% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design Oscar (Sandy Powell)

❓ Original or Remake: Rewatching the animated movie made me realize how much I love it, even though I don’t consider it a favorite. Rewatching the remake made me realize it’s just as superb as I remember. I love the original, but the 2015 film will always possess a special place in my heart. This is an easy decision: Remake!

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

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🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

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Maleficent 2014 | Movie Review

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🎥 Cinematography by Dean Semler

👗 Costumes by Anna B. Sheppard

🎬 Directed by Robert Stromberg

🎞 Edited by Chris Lebenzon & Richard Pearson

🎼 Music by James Newton Howard

📋 Produced by Joe Roth

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

🌟 S T A R R I N G

✨ Angelina Jolie as Maleficent | Ella Purnell as Teen Maleficent | Isobelle Molloy as Young Maleficent

🤴🏻 Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip

👩🏼 Elle Fanning as Aurora | Eleanor Worthington Cox as 8-Year-Old Aurora | Vivienne Jolie-Pitt as 5-Year-Old Aurora

👸🏼 Hannah New as Princess Leila

🧚🏻 Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass

🗣 Janet McTeer as The Narrator

🧚🏼 Juno Temple as Thistlewit

👑 Kenneth Cranham as King Henry

🧚🏻‍♀️ Lesley Manville as Flittle

🐦 Sam Riley as Diaval

🧔🏻 Sharlto Copley as Stefan | Jackson Bews as Teen Stefan | Michael Higgins as Young Stefan

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The next Disney remake I’m reviewing is Maleficent from 2014. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •

Themed Castle Intro Alert! The opening castle is King Stefan’s castle. After the fireworks go off, it transitions into the opening scene of the movie.

I need to address the elephant in the room: This is a live action remake of Sleeping Beauty, but it focuses on the villain Maleficent & her origin story. However, Aurora is a main character, & the story is true enough to the original that I can still compare the two. I believe this is the creative direction Cruella is taking, telling a villain origin tale alongside the original story. Interesting! I wonder if Disney will approach any other remakes like this . . .

In this version, Maleficent is a fairy who’s grown up in the Moors, & Stefan is an orphan from the human world. They meet as children, become best friends, & fall in love despite past prejudice between their races. When she tells him iron burns fairies, he immediately throws away his iron ring so it can’t hurt her, an incredibly sweet gesture. Of course we all know a happy ending isn’t their destiny. Stefan’s rough childhood made him eager to climb the ladder & hold a better position in life. To win the favor of King Henry & a marriage to his daughter Princess Leila, he sets out to kill the fairy he’s loved since childhood. He drugs her but cannot go through with the assassination. Instead he commits the ultimate betrayal: he uses her race against her by severing her wings with iron. The cry Maleficent releases upon waking is haunting. Top marks for Angelina Jolie’s acting! When she finds out why she was betrayed, a villain is born. The Protector of the Moors now walks with a staff, darkness blanketing her once enchanting home. She gives a raven named Diaval a human form, & he becomes her sidekick with the ability to fly & bring back news from the humans.

When news of the newborn princess reaches her, Maleficent goes to the christening uninvited, & her iconic black outfit is revealed. With her magic, which is now a sinister green color, she curses Princess Aurora to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel & fall into a permanent sleep before the sun sets on her 16th birthday. In the original movie, the blue fairy Merryweather creates the true love’s kiss antidote. In this version, Maleficent listens to King Stefan’s pleas & adds the antidote herself. It’s a hint that perhaps she hasn’t completely transformed into a villain. Interesting . . .

Speaking of Merryweather, the three fairies we know & love are present & accounted for with new names. Fauna, the green fairy, is now Thistlewit; Flora, the red fairy, is Knotgrass; & Merryweather, the blue fairy, is Flittle. They are quirky & sweet & care for Princess Aurora in a cottage just like their animated counterparts did. The casting of Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, & Lesley Manville is spot-on. 

Maleficent initially watches over the pixies’ cottage to keep an eye on Aurora as she grows up & gets closer to fulfilling the curse. She nicknames her “Beastie” & tries her best to scare the child, but she’s always met with a smile & sweetness that could melt ice. She starts to intervene in the child’s upbringing because the pixies are unfit parents despite their good intentions. In one scene, Diaval flies in to give the crying baby her bottle & rock her cradle. In another scene, Aurora wanders away from the pixies who’ve been distracted by a magical prank courtesy of Maleficent. The child falls off a cliff, but Maleficent catches her using tree roots. *GASP* Does Maleficent care for the little princess??

• Fun Fact: Five-year-old Aurora is played by Angelina Jolie’s daughter Vivienne Jolie-Pitt. What a fun childhood memory to have!

When teenage Aurora comes face to face with Maleficent for the first time, she incorrectly identifies her as her fairy godmother. The mistake alarms Maleficent, & she immediately puts Aurora to sleep & takes her back to the cottage. But, it doesn’t take long for her to start spending quality time with Aurora in the Moors which are looking colorful & cheerful once again. They grow so close that the princess announces her wish to live with Maleficent. This is a good time to mention how perfect Elle Fanning is as Aurora with her radiant smile & ability to portray innocence & sweetness.

Stefan’s kingdom is in disarray because he’s furiously trying to destroy all spinning wheels. He also attempts to burn the Moors to the ground, but they’re surrounded by impenetrable thorns, a nod to the original movie. Driven mad by fear of what the curse will do to his daughter, Stefan does not even say goodbye to his wife on her deathbed. This is a sad detail because it means Aurora will never know her mother Queen Leila. Maleficent filled the role of motherly figure to watch over Aurora leading up to her 16th birthday, but now the princess is truly motherless.

Maleficent eventually regrets her curse & tries to reverse it. Alas it cannot be done, & Aurora is doomed to prick her finger & fall asleep, awaiting true love’s kiss. This is a great lesson about acting out of anger; some decisions cannot be undone, & consequences are inevitable. Perhaps this is the point when some viewers question if Maleficent was charmed out of villainy too fast. Remember all the bread crumbs I left for you? Maleficent’s hostility is aimed at one specific person: King Stefan. The only other people who truly feel her wrath are the armies who try to destroy the Moors, her home. Aurora doesn’t melt her icy heart with a few smiles; she charms her with kindness & love as well as a lack of the selfish ambition that destroyed her father Stefan. Also, Maleficent knew Aurora when she was a baby, toddler, preteen, & teenager. Their relationship in the movie spans sixteen years, & it took her all that time to decide she wanted to reverse the curse. By the time the closing credits roll, I consider her more of an antihero than a villain.

• Aurora’s three pixie guardians make her a messy but thoughtful birthday cake for her Sweet Sixteen. It isn’t an exact replica but is definitely inspired by the animated movie’s topsy turvy white cake with blue icing & pink candles.

I miss the “make it pink, make it blue” scene. The three pixies do get into humorous scrapes arising from fairykind trying to raise a human child, but the classic fight between Flora & Merryweather was left out. It wouldn’t fit into this version for more than one reason so I understand the omission. Just wanted to mention that it’s not there. I don’t consider that a strike against the 2014 movie because the original movie is always there for my viewing pleasure. This is a different tale with its own funny moments. Not only do we get some levity from the three fairies but also from Diaval & his banter with Maleficent.

The pixies reveal the truth about the curse to Aurora after she announces she’s moving to the Moors to live with Maleficent. She confronts the fairy she thought was her godmother, & then makes the journey home. Despite his apparent concern for her, King Stefan is cold & distant when she arrives, proof that his motives are selfish & more about defeating Maleficent than protecting his daughter.

Backing up her earlier remorse, Maleficent tries her best to reach Aurora before the curse is fulfilled, but dark magic prevails. The princess pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel & falls into a deep sleep, exactly what was foretold. The three pixies try to reassure King Stefan that his daughter is only asleep & can be awoken by true love’s kiss. He replies that “true love doesn’t exist” & hits Flittle before storming out.

Aurora met Prince Phillip in the forest once, just like her animated counterpart. When Maleficent rushes to the castle, she takes the prince with her believing he could break the curse. He’s enchanted by the young princess from their previous meeting, but his kiss doesn’t work. I like this change because how could Phillip possibly be Aurora’s true love after one single interaction. Maleficent laments her failure & grieves her “goddaughter.” After she bends down to give her one last kiss on the cheek, Aurora’s blue eyes slowly open & she says “Hello godmother.” She responds with “Hello Beastie,” a moment that definitely puts a tear or two in my eyes. Her kiss was the key because she has a relationship with the princess & truly loves her. This adaptation explores a remorseful villain so it makes sense that she’s the one to break her own curse. Maleficent is my favorite Disney villain so I initially didn’t know how I felt about the remake being so different. But as I said before, this doesn’t erase the original movie. Now I have two different versions of one fairytale to choose from. Twice the fun, twice the Disney magic!

Obviously Maleficent & Phillip do not face off in a fight as dragon versus prince. Instead Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon to help her escape an iron net trap set up by King Stefan & his soldiers. In this new scene, Maleficent wears a black catsuit, & I don’t know how I feel about it. I know it’s supposed to make her look super cool while she’s fighting, but all I think of is Catwoman which makes no sense inside my head while watching a Disney adaptation of a fairytale. It doesn’t look horrible; I just can’t disassociate it from DC’s famous feline.

You know what shot is absolutely glorious? When Maleficent’s wings reattach themselves to her back, & she flies for the first time in over a decade, bursting out of a grand palace window. It takes me back to the awesomeness of Maleficent kicking butt to protect the Moors earlier in the movie. Perfection!

There’s one defining moment that truly flips the narrative. Maleficent has the opportunity to kill King Stefan but chooses to declare their fight over & walk away. Stefan can’t let his anger go & attacks her from behind, falling to his death during the scuffle. Selfish ambition consumed him, keeping him from the life he could’ve had. He was the true villain all along.

By the end of the movie Aurora is an orphan, having lost her mother Leila to an unknown illness & her father Stefan to madness. She gets her wish to live with Maleficent, her beloved fairy godmother & the only mom she’s ever known (including the pixies who she considers her aunts). Maleficent continues her position as protector, & Aurora is crowned the first human queen of the Moors. Prince Phillip is present at her coronation, hinting that they’re a couple now & building a relationship. No instalove here!

Throughout the movie we hear a female narrator, Janet McTeer, who eventually reveals herself to be “the one they call Sleeping Beauty.” Narration is a nice nod to classic Disney movies as well as the reading of fairytales. I also love the idea of adult Aurora telling her own story but remaining anonymous until the very end.

As the closing credits roll, a haunting version of Once Upon a Dream is sung by Lana Del Rey. It has a darker sound which matches a version of Sleeping Beauty that focuses on a fairy turned villain turned antihero.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8waJ7W3QcJc

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 53% Critics | 70% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Costume Design Oscar nomination (Anna B. Sheppard)

❓ Original or Remake: Even though Sleeping Beauty isn’t my favorite Disney movie, this is a tough decision because I love elements from both films. Also, this is not a straight remake because it takes Maleficent’s story in a different direction. I’ve decided to consult my Animation vs Remake rankings to make the decision for me. The winner by a teeny tiny margin, literally one rankings spot, is Sleeping Beauty. Original!

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-XO4XiRop0

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

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🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ • 🧚🏻‍♂️ • 🌷 • 🍄 • 🌳 • ✨ • 😴 • 💋 • 👸🏼 • 🏰 • 👶🏼 • 👧🏼 • 🍃 • 🧚🏼 • 🧚🏻‍♀️ •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Alice in Wonderland 2010 | Movie Review

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

🎥 Cinematography by Dariusz Wolski

👗 Costumes by Colleen Atwood

🎬 Directed by Tim Burton

🎞 Edited by Chris Lebenzon

🎼 Music by Danny Elfman

📋 Produced by Jennifer & Suzanne Todd, Joe Roth, & Richard D. Zanuck

📝 Screenplay by Linda Woolverton

🌟 S T A R R I N G

🐛 Alan Rickman as Absolem / The Caterpillar

👑 Anne Hathaway as Mirana / The White Queen

🐭 Barbara Windsor as Mallymkun / The Dormouse

🐉 Christopher Lee as The Jabberwocky

🃏 Crispin Glover as Ilosovic Stayne / The Knave of Hearts

👩🏼‍🤝‍👩🏻 Eleanor Gecks & Eleanor Tomlinson as the Cathaway sisters

👵🏻 Frances de la Tour as Aunt Imogene

💬 Frank Welker as Additional Voices

🌹 Geraldine James as Lady Ascot

♥️ Helena Bonham Carter as Iracebeth / The Red Queen

💐 Imelda Staunton as The Talking Flowers

🪓 Jim Carter as The Executioner

🎩 Johnny Depp as Tarrant Hightopp / The Mad Hatter

💍 Leo Bill as Hamish Ascot

👩🏼‍🦱 Lindsay Duncan as Mrs. Kingsleigh

👨🏻 Marton Csokas as Mr. Kingsleigh

👬🏼 Matt Lucas as Tweedledee & Tweedledum

👩🏼 Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh

🦩 Michael Gough as Uilleam / The Dodo

🐇 Michael Sheen as Nivens McTwisp / The White Rabbit

🐰 Paul Whitehouse as Thackery Earwicket / The March Hare

🐱 Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat

🐕 Timothy Spall as Bayard Hamar

👨🏼 Tim Pigott-Smith as Lord Ascot

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

My Disney remake reviews are kicking off this morning with Alice in Wonderland from 2010. This was my 2nd viewing:

•  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  S  P  O  I  L  E  R  S  •  A  H  E  A  D  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  •  ⚠️  • 

• In the beginning we get a glimpse of Alice’s relationship with her father Mr. Kingsleigh, & she is obviously the apple of his eye. When she has a nightmare, he patiently listens while she recounts the vivid details. In response, he tells her “You’re mad, bonkers, off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret: All the best people are!” Later on Alice remembers another familiar quote from her dad: “I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” Disney parents have been the heart & soul of many a movie so I’m glad to see that tradition alive & well, especially in movies where it did not exist before.

• At the garden party we see hints of Wonderland before Alice falls down the rabbit hole: the Cathaway sisters who resemble the Tweedles, a blue caterpillar who resembles Absolem, & Lady Ascot’s anger over her roses being white. Alice offers the solution of painting the roses red. Wink wink!

• What a cast! Mia Wasikowska is imaginative & inquisitive as Alice. Helena Bonham Carter is insecure, irritable, & narcissistic as Iracebeth/The Red Queen. Johnny Depp is bizarre & endearing as Tarrant Hightopp/Mad Hatter. Anne Hathaway is ethereal with goth undertones as Mirana/The White Queen; I think she would fit right in with the Addams family. If that isn’t enough, Alan Rickman is Absolem/The Caterpillar, Barbara Windsor is Mallymkun/Dormouse, Christopher Lee is The Jabberwocky, Imelda Staunton is The Talking Flowers, Matt Lucas is the Tweedles, Michael Sheen is Nivens McTwisp/White Rabbit, Stephen Fry is Cheshire Cat, & Timothy Spall is Bayard Hamar. The one & only Frank Welker provides additional voices.

*Note: Iracebeth is a combination of the Queen of Hearts & the Red Queen. In the first book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the antagonist is the Queen of Hearts who is known for shouting “Off with his/her head!” & having her enemies beheaded. In the sequel “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice enters a world that resembles a giant chess board, & the two sides are lead by the Red Queen & White Queen respectively. I’ll let you in on a little secret: I liked the second book better than the first. 📖

• The Wonderland citizens hint at the twist before the grand reveal, constantly mentioning how Alice is not the right Alice or that she’s changed. Her childhood dreams & the hints of Wonderland in her world weren’t alluding to her upcoming trip down the rabbit hole; they were evidence that she’d been there before. What we see is Alice’s second trip to Wonderland; she doesn’t remember the first visit until the second half of the movie.

• In order to fulfill the Oraculum prophecy, Alice must wear the suit of armor gifted by the White Queen & fight the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky on Frabjous Day. This “Joan of Arc” image of Alice Kingsleigh wouldn’t fit in the animated movie, but it’s another puzzle piece that fits beautifully into Tim Burton’s vision.

• Remember the chess board I mentioned earlier? The battle between the Red Queen & White Queen takes place on a giant chess board. The red army resembles cards, a nod to the Queen of Hearts, & the White Army resembles chess pieces, a nod to “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

• Toward the end of the movie, Absolem & Alice part ways when he enters a chrysalis. He had just reminded her she’d been in Wonderland once before & advised her to fight the Jabberwocky. At the very end, Alice is seen departing England on a ship, & she greets Absolem, now a blue butterfly, as he flies by. I love that detail! 🦋

• While the closing credits roll, Avril Lavigne’s song Alice plays. Not only is the song fantastic, but Avril was the perfect choice to sing. She’s basically a Tim Burton Alice in real life!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI4m-l2yRZA

💬 Closing Thoughts: When Alice stepped into Wonderland, I instantly had the thought “This is what Alice’s adventures would look like through Tim Burton’s eyes.” I totally forgot he directed this film! This story was always going to achieve a certain level of success in his hands; it works well with his bizarre aesthetic, & the live action realm gave him room to push the boundaries between real and imaginary. If you drank absinthe & watched the animated movie, the results would be this film. That doesn’t sound like a compliment, but when it comes to all things Wonderland, it is. 😉

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 •

🍅 Rotten Tomatoes: 51% Critics|55% Audience

🏆 Major Awards: Best Score Soundtrack Album Grammy nomination (Danny Elfman) Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy (Johnny Depp), Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, & Best Original Score (Danny Elfman) Golden Globe Nominations | Best Art Direction (Karen O’Hara & Robert Stromberg) & Best Costume Design (Colleen Atwood) Oscars + Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination (Carey Villegas, David Schaub, Ken Ralston, & Sean Phillips)

❓ Original or RemakeAlice in Wonderland is a cute movie, but it’s never been one of my favorites so I was very open to a new adaptation. I love the extra absurdity & darkness Tim Burton brought to this classic story so this is an easy decision: Remake!

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjMkNrX60mA

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 • 

🎥 Stay tuned for another movie review tomorrow! 🍿 

• 🇬🇧 • 👩🏼 • 🌳 • 🐇 • 🧪 • 🍄 • 👬🏼 • 🦩 • 🐛 • 🐭 • 🃏 • ♥️ • 🐱 • 🎩 • 🍵 • 🐰 • 👑 • 🗡 • 🐉 • 🦋 •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reviewing 14 Disney Movies

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

Happy October! 🎃 I hope you like Disney & film reviews because over the next 15 days I’m reviewing 14 movies & ranking them from best to worst. The live action Disney remakes have been the topic of heated discussion since the very beginning. I’ve never been opposed to them, but I’m not blind to the fact that some have been much more successful than others. In the spirit of thoroughness, I’m watching & critiquing every single film that’s been released from 2010 through 2020 including the sequels. I’ll also be watching the original films so they’re fresh in my mind. In total, I’m watching 26 movies. That’s a lot of screen time, even for a Disneyphile. Pop the popcorn & find your seat. Lights, camera, action! 🎞 🎥 🍿

• 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 • 🌹 • 🍯 • 🧞‍♂️ • 🐘 • 🐕 • 🏰 • 🦁 • 🌸 • 🐇 • 😴 • 👠 • 🎩 • 🐉 • 🐅 •

Here’s a blank copy of the rankings list for those of you who want to print it out & follow along, writing in your own rankings:

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Ballad of Mulan

🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  •  🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  • 🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  • 🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  •

THIS IS NOT A DRILL! In seven days, my favorite Disney princess Mulan will have her own live action movie,  a Chinese ballad brought to life by an all-Asian cast. This version of the 1998 animated movie will not be a musical but instead focus on Chinese culture & serve lots of martial arts action. I am here for that! 👏🏻 👏🏻 👏🏻 Mulan is a kick-butt princess, & I need the world to give her the respect & support she deserves. Because of COVID-19, the original March release was cancelled. Instead it will be released digitally on September 4th & available to stream for $29.99 on Disney Plus as well as Apple, Google, & Roku. I’ve read that it will have a cinematic release in countries where it’s not available to stream. Let’s rewind back to the price to stream it early on Disney Plus. I know many people are struggling financially right now, and the idea of paying for a movie on top of what you’re already paying for the Disney Plus streaming service is off putting. However, this is a brand new movie that is losing out on movie theater revenue. It was never going to be free! The average movie theater ticket costs around $9.30, & a Blu-ray can cost  $25 or more, bringing your total to approximately $34.30. I don’t know how it will work on other apps, but once you pay $29.99 on Disney Plus, the movie is yours to keep as long as you have an account. You’ll also be able to share the movie with family & friends by logging into your Disney Plus account. They might even split the cost with you! Please join me in supporting my favorite Disney princess & putting aside thirty dollars to purchase her new movie. I have a feeling it’s going to be amazing, & I can’t wait to see it after years  of waiting. Don’t forget to spread the word & support the soundtrack!

🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  •  🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  • 🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  • 🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  •

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-eFm–k21c

🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  •  🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  • 🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  • 🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  •

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6PZm8vhm6I

🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  •  🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  • 🇨🇳  • 🏔  • 🌸  • 🦗  •  🐉  •  🏹  •  🗡  • 🌸  •  🏔  •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Birds of Prey

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  • 

Birds of Prey came out this past February, but I unfortunately didn’t make it to a theater, the reason having nothing to do with the movie or reviews. I was very excited to see it, but honestly the harsh criticism leading up to the release was a major bummer. I understand that DC fans are disappointed with a large portion of our cinematic universe, but that doesn’t excuse negative reviews of something that hasn’t even come out yet. Sadly, people did not show up like they did for previous DC films. I don’t want to feed the idea that it struggled because it’s a female-centric film but can’t help doubting the motives now that I’ve seen it for myself. The filming and music and costumes and cast were all fantastic. Color me confused because I have no idea why it came and went without the support I expect from the DC Comics community. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a total flop. It doubled its budget & received mostly positive reviews. However, its box office gross ranks last in three different categories compared to the seven other DCEU movies that have come out since 2013. I think the lack of success can be interpreted in a couple different ways, but I’d like to confront the elephant in the room. One of the biggest complaints had to do with the feminism and politics people picked up on in the trailers. I want to make one thing clear: YOU NEED TO GIVE THINGS A CHANCE BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT! I had concerns about the movie too but still gave it a fair chance. Turns out I love it, & there was never anything to be worried about. Now’s your chance to make amends & show it some love. Watch it on HBO Max, buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, stream the music, purchase the soundtrack, follow the cast, & spread the word. All I ask is that you give Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn a chance. 💋

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

–   A W E S O M E   B I R D S   O F   P R E Y – I N S P I R E D   A R T   –

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Starbucks Kiwi Starfruit Refresher | Drink Review

I’ve never done a drink review, but Starbucks refreshers are my summer drink of choice so it felt right to try the NEW Kiwi Starfruit Refresher and share my thoughts. I don’t eat a lot of kiwi, and I’ve never eaten starfruit so I had no idea what to expect. I saw some early comments that were mostly negative, but I tried to keep an open mind. The liquid part tastes like watermelon, not the fruit but an artificial flavor. Many people are comparing it to a watermelon jolly rancher, and that’s pretty darn accurate. I’m not a huge fan of candy, but the jolly rancher flavor doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The chunks of kiwi are like a mild pineapple in texture and flavor. This is not my new favorite refresher, but it’s not half bad.

When I tried the refresher on its own, one of my first thoughts was “I bet this would be even better with lemonade.” I was right! The lemonade adds a tartness that balances out the watermelon candy taste of the original. I also tried the star drink which has coconut milk in it. I wasn’t sure I would like this version, and upon first sip, I thought it was too milky and mild. After a good mix and several more sips, I was a fan. If you like strawberry milk, this might be a drink for you. It’s what I imagine a tropical milkshake to taste like but with a semi-tropical fruit that has a mild pineapple flavor. Kiwi milk, what a pleasant surprise!

My Ranking:  

1. Kiwi Starfruit Lemonade Refresher 🍋 

2. Star Drink 🥥

3. Kiwi Starfruit Refresher 🥝

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Support the Irish Arts

As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡

*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many.  – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon

There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon

A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHAx8IE3PTk&feature=youtu.be

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Dawsey + Juliet

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Good morning! Rise and shine and drink some coffee because I’m about to drop many, many words for your reading pleasure. 🌞 I recently picked up “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer. Say that title ten times fast! This is the official synopsis:

“It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.”  – Goodreads

I didn’t know exactly when I bought this book until recently when I remembered showing it in a thrift store book haul on my YouTube channel in July 2018. I talk about it starting at 3:20.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxQoU0GFdWU

My local library is small, and the volunteer-run used bookstore is even smaller, literally the size of a walk-in closet. In 2018 the library underwent renovations, and the bookstore temporarily moved to an empty store in that same shopping center, which actually provided room to display more books . I was dying to visit so my mom and I checked it out during one of our used bookstore adventures. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” was one of six books I picked up that day. It caught my eye because I knew about the upcoming Netflix movie. I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition in brand new condition. Funny story: The cashier told me she didn’t enjoy the book. Why would you tell a customer that?? She did deter me a little bit, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. It sat on my shelf for two years. The premise interested me, but every time I looked at it, I was never in the right mood to open it and begin. It’s worth noting that the realistic style of the book cover is not my usual taste, which may have contributed to my hesitation; this colorful version of the cover is more up my alley. Fast forward to The Reading Rush in July 2020. One of the reading challenges was “Read a book set on a continent other than the one you live on.” I wasn’t feeling any of my choices until I opened my bureau and saw “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” sitting on my small, brown bookshelf. I decided that was the time to dive in and give it a fair shot. To start, I was very distracted and couldn’t concentrate for more than a few pages at a time. But once I focused and really immersed myself in the story, I was hooked. I almost stayed up overnight to finish it but ultimately took the smart route and finished it in two days. It received 5 stars and became one of my favorite books. SUCCESS! 😍

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Now that we’ve discussed the book, let’s talk about the Netflix adaptation. Unlike many other bookworms, I’m always up for a film version. I’d seen the two lead actors Lily James & Michiel Huisman in clips and pictures so I knew they had chemistry. Even if the movie ended up being terrible, I already shipped them as Dawsey and Juliet. If you haven’t seen the movie, feel free to watch the trailer below before moving on to my review.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP9eDmX0ow0

*Note: First you’re going to read my notes that ignore the bigger plot points involving Juliet’s relationship with Mark. Don’t worry! I’m going to end with all the juicy details and tell you how the story ends.  😉  I’m going to indicate all the MAJOR SPOILERS, but please be aware that anything I write could potentially be a SPOILER. Read at your own risk!  ⚠️

•  The book is all about pen pals, and the story is told through letters. That format works when the consumer is reading it, but as a visual medium, the film had to be different. There are still a few letters mentioned and read aloud but only that of Dawsey and Juliet in the very beginning of the movie. There are no written words exchanged between Juliet and her friends or the other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; all their interactions take place in-person. Actually, Juliet’s only friend that made the transition from book to movie is Sidney. For time purposes, I can understand why the film focuses more on the society members.

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•  I like the addition of Juliet’s landlord Mrs. Burns as a character. She adds a bit of humor as well as motherly attention. She seems to be uptight at first, complaining about the loud sound of Juliet on her typewriter. However, she’s the first person to express concern over Juliet’s mood after her return from Guernsey. Her face when she hears Juliet typing again is so sweet.

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•  For the most part, all the society members are as they should be. Dawsey is my new book boyfriend so my feelings about him are fairly obvious.  🥰  Eben is a sweetheart, and his grandson Ei is his mini me. Elizabeth McKenna is the go-getter in the group, the one with courage to stand up to the nazis. Isola Pribby is an adult version of Luna Lovegood, and I dare you to not love her. It’s impossible! Amelia is the character whose portrayal shocked me because she’s so cold at first. I’m not sure if this is the reason why, but Jane is her daughter in the movie, not Eben’s daughter. Elizabeth was Jane’s best friend and a second daughter to Amelia so Amelia’s protective of anything belonging to Elizabeth including the society. It’s worth noting that Eben could’ve been cold in the book for that same reason, but he wasn’t. I understand that she lost her husband, daughter, and Elizabeth during the war; that is a horrible burden for anyone to bear. I’m still not a fan of that creative choice, but Amelia is much more like her book self once she warms up to Juliet so that smooths out some of the edges for me.

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•  After the society is formed, there are clips of each member reading books in different spots on the island. In the midst of World War II & nazi occupation, those stories were their escape. That scene gave me chills and reminded me just how valuable books are.

•  Charlotte Stimple, the woman who gives Juliet a room for rent, is an awful person, similar to Patricia Hamilton’s portrayal of Rachel Lynde but without the redeeming qualities. Her name is different in the movie, the original being Adelaide Addison, but her personality is exactly as it should be. Horrible and wicked!

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•  I will discuss this in detail later. For now all you need to know is that Mark proposed to Juliet before she left for Guernsey, and she said yes. After she is on the island, Juliet has an interesting phone conversation with her friend and publisher Sidney about the proposal. His hesitation to congratulate her implies that he isn’t convinced Mark is the man for her. It feels like a nod to Sidney’s letters in the book disapproving of Mark and teasing Juliet about her constant mention of Dawsey. I appreciate that the film included this detail, even if the letters were combined into one phone conversation.

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•  Juliet’s reaction to Kit being half German is a great talking point. Most non-German Europeans during WWII had a fear of nazi hatred, in this case a fear of it being genetic. Despite that fear, the society raised Kit, and Juliet grew to love her like a daughter. The nazis were a manmade group of extremists who did not and do not represent the ethnically German people. Their army was filled with soldiers groomed from a young age to view certain groups of people with hatred and wipe them out. There’s a saying that kids aren’t born with hate in their heart, it’s taught to them. This is a prime example, sick and twisted and something to ponder.

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•  The conversation about Christian’s death between Amelia and Juliet is though-provoking. Amelia comments that his death is just like that of her husband; they both drowned at sea. There are two sides to every war, but in death all men are the same.

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•  I love the scene when Juliet puts Charlotte in her place after catching her snooping around her rented room. I also love that she leaves and becomes Isola’s housemate because it gives us a closer look at their budding friendship. During their first night as roomies, Isola inquires about Mark’s reading habits. Juliet never answers because Mr. Playboy doesn’t share her passion for books. Another ❌for Mark and another ✔️for Dawsey!

•  The scene in Dawsey’s bedroom is HOT, and that sounds incredibly inappropriate unless you watch the scene. The intimacy and chemistry is scalding without them even touching one another. I already need a drink of cold water! 🥵

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O18EdP3ziQw

*Note: Those blue pieces of paper inside the book are Juliet’s letters to Dawsey. HE SAVED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER LETTERS! I’M YELLING BECAUSE THAT’S INCREDIBLY ROMANTIC!!  💌

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•  When Eli was evacuated off the island, Elizabeth gave him her father’s Great War medal, saying it would give him courage. When Dawsey has to tell Kit that her mom is dead, Eli gives him the medal. It can read as a gift of courage for Dawsey or Kit; either way that gesture is too precious! 😭

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•  Let’s add this to the list of reasons why I hate Mark Reynolds: He stops Juliet from comforting Amelia when the society finds out about Elizabeth’s death. I know he doesn’t have a relationship with the society, but he lacks empathy, as though he is above and they are beneath.  😡

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•  You know what’s incredibly beautiful? Dawsey immediately understanding Juliet’s hidden message to him in her letter to the society with her manuscript about their book club. The message references their conversation in the bar when she tells him that his letters made her sense she’d met someone who already understood her. GET MARRIED ALREADY!

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The biggest issues I had with the film adaptation were the changes made to Juliet & Mark’s relationship. The book timeline is as follows: Juliet is charmed by Mark, and he eventually proposes. She doesn’t accept right away, leaving for Guernsey to meet the literary society. She connects with the island and people and never seems like she’s planning to leave. Mark grows impatient waiting for her and travels to Guernsey. His arrogance is the final straw, and she ends their relationship. Through the misadventures of amateur detective Isola, Juliet finds out that Dawsey reciprocates her love and proposes to him. “Would you like to marry me? . . . I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.” Sweet, precious, adorable Dawsey answers “My God, yes!” and proceeds to sprain his ankle climbing down the ladder he was on. Juliet writes of her upcoming wedding to Sidney, ending with a hilarious postscript about good old Ms. Adelaide Addison: “P.S. I ran into Adelaide Addison in St. Peter Port today. By way of congratulations, she said ‘I hear you and that pig-farmer are going to regularize your connection. Praise the Lord!'”  😂 😂 😂

This is the movie timeline: Everything is the same until Mark proposes in front of the boat headed to Guernsey, and Juliet says yes. Just like the book, she’s enchanted by the island and people. However, she rents a room, and her stay feels temporary. Mark is annoyed by her absence and makes the trip to Guernsey. They have a fight, but she sticks by her answer to his marriage proposal. She accompanies him back to London with no implication that she’s coming back. The goodbye is very emotional, and it weighs her down. Not long after they arrive back home, she gives back the ring and ends their relationship. She plans to return to Guernsey but runs into Dawsey at the dock. He made the trip to tell her how he feels. Before he can get very far, she proposes, and he accepts, both using the same beautiful dialogue from the book. They return to Guernsey, get married, and live happily ever after.

The movie timeline isn’t terrible, but it removes aspects of the book that I love. Obviously Juliet knew very little about Dawsey’s age and appearance with only letters as reference, but I think their correspondence fed her doubts about Mark being her soulmate. She never says yes to his marriage proposal because she never wants to say yes. Mark’s attitude on Guernsey is the last straw. He doesn’t care about why she’s there or what she’s writing about. He’s annoyed by little Kit’s presence and arrogantly assumes Juliet wants to be his wife. She rejects him once and for all, telling him she never wants to se him again. She describes herself as free!

I don’t like that “movie Juliet” goes along with the Mark charade for so long, even leaving Guernsey for him. Definitely not a positive for me, but not a dealbreaker either. The proposal in the book would’ve been adorable onscreen, but the dock proposal isn’t a horrible replacement. Mark proposed to Juliet on the dock before she left for Guernsey, and then Juliet proposed to Dawsey on that same dock where she was boarding a boat to go back to Guernsey. I love that parallel! Almost all is forgiven by me thanks to the final scene. Juliet is seen walking out of the cottage once owned by Elizabeth McKenna, her wedding ring just visible. She walks over and lies down beside Dawsey who’s reading a Charles Lamb book to Kit, Lamb being the author of the book that put Juliet’s address in his hands. The ensuing hand choreography and looks of true love are MAGIC. One of the best endings to a period romance film! 😍

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•  I read a review that pointed out the differences between Mark and Dawsey, and I love the contrast (I really wish I had saved the blog name). This is a mix of the previously mentioned blog post and my own thoughts: Mark filled Juliet’s apartment building with flowers. When he visited Guernsey, he brought a bouquet from London and mentioned that Guernsey needed a proper florist. RUDE! Dawsey gave her a small, purple bouquet picked from the side of an island road the first time they met. Life with Mark is a constant string of evening parties, lots of drinking and dancing. Life with Dawsey is days of laughter while playing with Kit and tending pigs; don’t forget about the books! Mark proposes with an engagement ring the size of a boulder which Juliet is hesitant to wear while walking around Guernsey. Dawsey proposes with a simple wedding band which is absolutely stunning in the final scene because the newlyweds look so in love, and that is more than enough for Juliet. I’m sure there’s more to be compared between the two, but you get the picture. *sigh* Perfection!

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•  At the end of the movie, the credits roll while audio clips from a society meeting play. I love hearing those now familiar voices read aloud from books and debate characters and plot points. Dawsey and Juliet are a beautiful part of the book and film, but the literary society is the true heart of the story. If they hadn’t formed, Dawsey would’ve never found the Charles Lamb book. If he’d never found the Charles Lamb book, he would’ve never acquired Juliet’s address and written that first letter. Without that first letter, Juliet would’ve never known about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Without knowing about the society, she would’ve never traveled to Guernsey to meet all of them, Dawsey included, in person. That was the best way to end the movie, listening to the society members do what they do best: Talk about books!

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📖  Let’s go back to what I said earlier: I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” in brand new condition. I opened the book two years later, & it became a new favorite. What books give readers is priceless! 📚 

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: The Reading Rush 2020

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 6 | December 7 – 11, 2019

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The Reading Rush 2020

It’s the end of July which means it’s time to do some reading & rushing for seven straight days. The Reading Rush, formerly known as BookTubeAThon, is an annual weeklong readathon that I’ve been participating in since 2017. There are reading challenges, virtual badges, social media reading sprints, giveaways, merch, and so much more. This is my 4th year, & I’m ready to make it the best one yet. Start scrolling to follow my reading journey for 7 days. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 😉👍

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–   J  U L Y   2 0 T H   –

🏅 Earned the 2020 Reading Rush badge for participating in the readathon

✔️ Started & finished “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 328 pages | Earned the Read a Book in a Genre You Want to Read More of badge

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–   J  U L Y   2 1 S T   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Twitter Sprint badge with Maureen Keavy

✔️ Started & finished “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 312 pages | Earned the Read the First Book You Touch badge | I really wanted to continue this trilogy so I cheated a teeny tiny bit. I laid out four books on my bedroom floor & touched the one I wanted to read. Ariel & Raeleen said this prompt could be interpreted multiple ways so I used creative license. 😉

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–   J  U L Y   2 2 N D   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Read In Live Show badge with hosts Ariel & Raeleen 📱

✔️ Started & finished “Always & Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 316 pages | Earned the Read a Book With a Cover That Matches the Color of Your Birthstone badge | This book cover has a pale yellow tint that matches honey topaz. If that’s not enough, topaz comes in multiple colors so take your pick. Another slight cheat! 🙈

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–   J  U L Y   2 3 R D   –

✔️ Started & finished “Stuart Little” by E.B. White | Leatherbound edition from Barnes & Noble | 145 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Inspired a Movie You’ve Already Seen badge

✔️ Earned the Read Over 1,000 Pages badge

✔️ Started & finished “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” by Geoff Johns | Softcover Comic Book | 144 Pages | Earned the Read a Book Completely Outside Your House badge – I read in the shade on my patio. It was really nice until I got “attacked” by a fig beetle. I know they’re harmless, but I don’t care. Beetles freak me out! 😭

✔️ I gave “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” 5 stars & earned the Read a Five Star Book badge

📖 Started “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | Hardcover | 52 pages

📖   3 4 1   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 4 T H   –

📖 Continued “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 57 pages

📖 Started “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | Hardcover | 120 pages

📖   1 7 7   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 5 T H   –

✔️ Finished “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | 158 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Takes Place on a Different Continent Than Where You Live badge

✔️ Finished “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 104 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Starts With The Word “The” badge

✔️ Earned the Read Seven Books badge

📖   2 6 2   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

🎉  I FINISHED ONE DAY EARLY ! !  🎉

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–   J  U L Y   2 6 T H   –

I wanted to participate in the final Instagram & Twitter reading sprints so I picked up “Capturing the Devil” by Kerri Maniscalco, which I started back in October 2019. I finished the last 175 pages & completed the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. 🎉

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R E A D I N G   S T A T S

1 Reading Rush

7 Days

1 Comic Book, Softcover

3 E-books

3 Physical Books, Hardcover

7 Books

1,911 Pages

13 Badges

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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: O.W.L.S Readathon 2020 + Stay at Home Reading Rush

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 6 | December 7 – 11, 2019

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