Persuasion on Netflix | Movie Review

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*Disclaimer: I’ve read “Persuasion” by Jane Austen but am much more familiar with the 2007 adaptation starring Rupert Penry-Jones and Sally Hawkins. Just assume that’s what I’m referencing during the entirety of this review. This story has been around since 1817, but I’m still issuing a warning. There will be book spoilers as well as 2022 movie spoilers. SPOILERS AHEAD! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!

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After feeling immense disappointment over the official trailer, I was prepared to hate this movie with not a trace of positivity in sight. To my credit, I gave it a fair chance and actually liked some elements in the first sixty-eight minutes. The scenery was beautiful, and most of the acting performances were a pleasant surprise. Suddenly, Anne Elliot squatted in the woods to relieve herself, and I was done. My good opinion once lost is lost forever, and boy oh boy was it lost.

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The cast as a whole is satisfactory, so much so that they deserve to be listed one by one. Richard E. Grant and Yolanda Kettle are unbearably snobby as Sir Walter Elliot and his daughter Elizabeth, and Nikki Amuka-Bird’s Lady Russell is an endearing mother figure to Anne, despite her lapse in judgement regarding Frederick. Lydia Rose Bewley doesn’t have much screen time as Penelope Clay, but she did a good job with what she was given. Ben Bailey as Charles Musgrove is an attentive father and a husband with the patience of a saint. Mia McKenna-Bruce did a darn good job as Mary Elliot Musgrove, bringing a youthful spin and humor to a role made so hilarious by Amanda Hale in 2007. Izuka Hoyle and Nia Towle are the picture of beauty as Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove, young and wild and free; I was expecting them to be a bit sillier, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. 

Continuing with the cast, Edward Bluemel is fine as Captain Harville but overshadowed by Captain Wentworth’s other best friend. Afolabi Alli is incredibly sweet as Captain Benwick, making the most of very little screen time. When we first meet him, he looks like a lost little boy while mourning the loss of his fiancé; in the end, he finds love again and is the picture of unadulterated happiness. He’s an absolute teddy bear, and that interpretation works for me. I was scared to see Henry Golding as the “villain,” but he took the bull by the horns as Mr. William Elliot. He was so despicable that I found myself hating him, which I didn’t think possible, while also applauding the performance. I am, however, still wishing upon a Jane Austen star that we see him as the dashing love interest one day, someday, soon. Please make it happen somebody, anybody!

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I apologize to Austen enthusiasts who are familiar with this story, but I’m going to recap for those who aren’t. “Persuasion” is a romance based on reconciliation. Once upon a time, Anne and Frederick were young and in love, but she allowed her family to persuade her that a wealthier man would be a more suitable husband. Seven years later, Frederick returns to town as a naval captain with status and money but still very much heartbroken and angry. Anne is also nursing a broken heart, regretful over the life-changing decision she made; she bears the sting of Frederick’s coldness as penance, believing he will forever hate her and rightfully so. They start to find themselves in each other’s company constantly, and the discomfort slowly melts away. When their tension reaches a point just beyond agony, a new beginning is right around the corner. Down the street actually. Wink wink!

Let’s look at the leading pair, starting with Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Frederick Wentworth. The writing and portrayal of this character was not well done. Frederick wasn’t angry enough; he’s supposed to be bitter and soften little by little as he witnesses how Anne’s embraced her own mind and opinions. Yes, he’s still in love with her, but he fights those feelings and hides them behind a cold exterior. This version of Frederick was soft around the edges from the beginning, right on the border of being an awkward, “cinnamon roll” character. Dare I say the term “wishy-washy” comes to mind! I’ll add that I didn’t like the accent used for this performance. At times it felt off, like an impression of a posh gentlemen rather than the voice of an austere naval captain.

Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Anne Elliot was better than expected. She did well with the humor and breaking of the fourth wall. My favorite acting moment of hers was the bathtub scene. Anne thinks Wentworth is engaged so she’s sobbing over losing her first and only love for a second time. As someone who’s experienced similar heartbreak, that moment was uncomfortably authentic. Shifting to the cons, I didn’t like the way Anne was written. She reminded me too much of Lizzie McGuire, clumsy and shouting out random nonsense in uncomfortable situations. Also, she consumes a lot of alcohol; I don’t want to sound snobby, but that’s not a trait I would’ve chosen for this character. Don’t make me mention the moment by the tree again! Injecting bleach into my brain won’t be enough to scrub that traumatic image from my memory. The modern dialogue was present but not heavily featured which made it stand out even more. They should’ve gone all in or scrapped it because I almost stopped watching due to secondhand embarrassment. Let me lay out what I was expecting: Anne’s father and sisters are greedy and needy so she spends a lot of time caretaking and completing the adult tasks no one else will touch. In her late twenties, she’s considered an old maid and nothing special to look at, an underappreciated wallflower despite her kindness and sense of responsibility. The 2022 version of Miss Elliot is conventionally pretty and missing a dose of maturity therefore she’s not as recognizable as she should be.

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The writing woes don’t stop there! I felt zero chemistry between the leads, exacerbated by unnecessary changes to their love story. Anne and Frederick have a heart-to-heart conversation halfway through the movie and put aside their differences to be friends, squashing any and all tension leading to their romantic reconciliation. Tension to the point of agony is the bread and butter of “Persuasion,” and Netflix made a huge mistake messing with that. The ending is the cherry on top of this warm, melted sundae. Instead of giving every branch of the story it’s moment to shine, everything is crammed into one scene. The “Lyme group” reunites, and while Anne talks to Captain Harville, Frederick writes his classic letter, staring at the back of her head and eavesdropping on the conversation. Cringey with a capital ‘C’! When she turns around and finds him gone, she walks over to the table, discovers his letter, and runs after him. She sees Mr. Elliot making out with Penelope Clay and wishes them happiness, an absolutely bonkers moment considering that level of affection while unwed is extremely inappropriate in Austen times, and Anne had yet to answer William’s proposal from two scenes prior. Don’t blink because you’ll miss her finding and kissing Wentworth. Yes, that is indeed how fast everything wraps up. As if there weren’t enough idiotic changes, the film ends with Miss Clay and Mr. Elliot’s wedding because who the heck wants to see the leads get married onscreen. Since they were so set on showing the wedding of two side characters, I would’ve rather seen Captain Benwick and Louisa’s ceremony because I actually cared about their chemistry and happy ending. At least Anne and Frederick share a lovely moment on the beach before the credits roll, the best chemistry out of one hour and forty-seven minutes.

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I’m proud of myself for giving this movie a chance because initially I was going to ignore it. A few elements were a pleasant surprise, but this will not be a new addition to my Jane Austen rotation. Thank you for reading all seven of my opinionated paragraphs, and shout out to my besties Katie and Traci for ranting with me before I started writing my review. This has been quite the experience. Now I’m going to cleanse my palate with a rewatch of the 2007 adaptation. Rupert and Sally are still the gold standard! ❤️

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– Lauren Michele ❤️

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Disney+ Marathon Day 30 | December 11

10:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

11am – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

1pm – Getting Ready For Work + High School Musical 3: Senior Year 💄 

1:45pm – Driving to Work + High School Musical 3: Senior Year 🚗 

2:30pm – Work 🛍

4:15pm – 15 Minute Break + High School Musical 3: Senior Year ⏰ 

6pm – Lunch Break + High School Musical 3: Senior Year 🍽 

8pm – Driving Home From Work + High School Musical 3: Senior Year 🚗 

I didn’t think they could top the past two soundtracks . . . I was wrong! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDSEUrbI5DA

Chad’s face after Troy makes him push his truck back to his house is HILARIOUS!

Troy: I’m saving for a new fuel pump.

Chad: Mmmhmm. Save faster! 😂   😂  😂

Chad asking Taylor to be his prom date on top of a table in the cafeteria is SOOO ADORABLE! 💕 She put him through the wringer, but it pushed him to dig deep & find his inner Romeo. 😉

What did we do to deserve this musical number?!! Chad & Troy. Together. In a junkyard. Dancing & singing. Reliving their childhood. Did I die & go to Heaven?!!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZ-trvAlxds

We thought Bet On It was peak Zac Efron . . . and then he blessed us with Scream!!

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1CPNCbk5k0

Ms. Darbus is the High School Musical equivalent of Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter. She’s dramatic but loves what she does & the kids in her care. ♥️

HSM 3 came out two weeks before my 15th birthday. Two of my best friends joined me for dinner & a movie theater date. I even made HSM-themed gift bags! Yes, I was THAT superfan. 😂

Final thoughts for the day: I forgot to update you on Disney Plus issues so buckle up. I didn’t experience that many problems in the beginning like other people, but it’s gone a bit downhill since then. Every time I add to my watchlist, previous items disappear. I have to search for certain movies & shows which defeats the purpose of having everything in one place on a watchlist. A recent update added a “Continue Watching” feature, but that hasn’t been working smoothly. For example, I could pause what I’m watching, exit out of the app for a little bit, & come back to the very beginning of that same show or film. Add that to the spinning blue circle of death, and it’s very frustrating to skim through & film clips for a vlog. 😂 I understand the bugs of a brand new app so I want to make it clear that none of this is a dealbreaker. I just want to be honest about how the app is performing right now.

That is it for my 30-day Disney+ marathon. I hope you’ve enjoyed geeking out over Disney with me. If you need more ME in your life, I’m doing a Hallmark Christmas movie marathon. 🎄 Thank you so much for your support! You’ll be hearing from me very soon. 💕

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T H I R T Y   A R T 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 29 | December 10

8:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

10am – Work 🛍

4:15pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

9pm – Blogging + High School Musical 2 💻 

0:25 is the moment our jaws dropped to the ground realizing Zac Efron has the voice of an angel. The moment we scratched our heads in confusion over why he didn’t sing on his own in the first movie. This is a hill I will die on: ZAC EFRON SHOULD’VE SUNG IN THE FIRST HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL MOVIE!! I know there are stories about him not feeling confident enough in his own abilities. That’s a lie from the pit of hell! Zac Efron can SAAANG, & nobody can sway my opinion.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hOP7qPDyI4

“Can’t be Gabriella. Whenever she calls, he just blushes.” Love this moment & quote from Coach Bolton. 😂

“I’m saving up for a car so I can take that lil’ hottie on a proper date.” *sigh* We didn’t give Corbin Bleu the attention he deserved. I’ve always been in love with him, but I know that Zac got most of the spotlight. For what it’s worth, Corbin is still 🔥 😍 If you need evidence, watch this scene:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdSI5W44gWM

You have to watch the scene to really get the context & emotion, but it’s too hilarious not to mention here. 😆

Mr. Fulton: “Distribute these in the staff area, but not until the end of shift.”

Taylor McKessie: “What? Wait!”

Mr. Fulton: “No discussion, Miss McKessie. This is a business. Welcome to the world of adults who wish to keep their jobs because they have mortgages they wish to pay, tuition bills, car payments, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, sometimes, we have to perform tasks, however unpleasant, that are necessary for that all-too-important paycheck to land in our all-too-empty pockets!”

Taylor: “May I get you a cup of tea Mr. Fulton?

Mr. Fulton: Chamomile would be lovely.

More proof that ZAC SHOULD’VE SUNG IN THE FIRST MOVIE! My friend Katie got me a birthday card that sang this song. Poor Troy can’t sing anymore because I played the song so much. 😂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxZ11xebuBM

At the end of the movie when the cast climbs up the pool’s rock formation/waterfall to sing All For One, Chad’s microphone falls off the stand. Pay close attention at 0:18. 🎤

The female dancer at the 3:30 mark is Kimberly, sister of choreographer Chucky Klapow. He can be seen in the blue tank top to her left, our right. They make an appearance in all three HSM movies. 🕺💃

At 3:43, Chucky is dancing with Miley Cyrus. ⬇️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rNXpgA5JUQ

High School Musical 2 premiered on August 17, 2007. I coordinated a sleepover for me & two of my best friends. I wore an HSM shirt & painted my nails red & white in honor of the East High Wildcats. We made ice cream sundaes & ate popcorn & screamed until we lost our voices. It was one of the best nights of my life.

Final thoughts for the day: ONE MORE DAY! ONE MORE DAY! ONE MORE DAY! Are you ready for my Disney+ marathon to end? I’m sure you’ve all loved reading my ramblings everyday. 😂 On a serious note, I truly appreciate those of you who’ve supported me for 30 days. If you’re a new follower, I hope you’ll stick around to see what else my lifestyle blog has to offer. See you tomorrow! 👋

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 28 | December 9

11:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

12pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

10pm – Bath + High School Musical

HSM was directed by Kenny Ortega. I don’t need to tell you who that is. 🌟 If you don’t know, you don’t deserve to know. 😂

It’s not a secret that Drew Seeley provided Troy Bolton’s singing voice. Please hold. ☎️ I will provide my feelings tomorrow . . . 😑

In the beginning of the film when Troy arrives for the first day of school, Chad Danforth says “. . . it’s gonna be a happy wildcat new year man! Because in two weeks we’re going to the championships with you leading us to infinity and beyond.” To infinity and beyond. Buzz Lightyear. Toy Story. 🧸

Ms. Darbus might actually be my favorite HSM character. She’s dramatic & reminds me of my film teacher in college. She also has the best quotes, & her banter with Coach Bolton is hilarious. 😂

*Chad is holding a basketball* – “Mr. Danforth! This is a place of learning, not a hockey arena.”

“And while we are working, let us probe the mounting evils of cell phones. Perhaps the most heinous example of cell phone use is ringing in the theatre. The theatre is a chapel of arts, a precious cornucopia of creative energy.”

“It’s called crime and punishment, Bolton. Besides, proximity to the arts is cleansing for the soul.”

*Referencing the basketball team* – “This school is about more than just young men in baggy shorts flinging balls for touchdowns.”

“Now, I give every student an even chance, which is a long and honorable tradition in the theatre, something that you wouldn’t understand, but if he is planning some sort of a practical joke in my chapel of the arts . . . I will not allow my ‘Twinkle Town Musicale’ to be made into a farce.”

“This morning, during free period, will be your chance for the musicale auditions. Both singles and pairs. I will be in the theatre until noon for those of you bold enough to extend the wingspan of your creative spirit.”

“Casting the leads of a show is both a challenge and a responsibility, a joy and a burden. I commend you and all other young artists to hold out for the moon, the sun, and the stars. Shall we soar together?”

If you’re an HSM superfan, you know better than to skim past Chad Danforth’s wardrobe. Every graphic t-shirt he wears features a fun/funny quote such as “I come with my own background music.”

Remember the vocal warm-ups that Ryan & Sharpay Evans do?? I’ve been doing those ever since I saw the movie for the first time. I also sing Troy & Gabriella’s version of What I’ve Been Looking For. No voice lesson is complete without either of those things. 🎤

After they perform What I’ve Been Looking For, Sharpay reminds Ryan that she told him not to do the jazz square. He replies with “It’s a crowd favorite. Everybody loves a good jazz square.” My friends & I quoted this in dance class every time we did jazz squares across the floor or in a routine. 😂

During the montage of Troy & Gabriella preparing for their callback, I’m pretty sure Zac Efron’s singing voice was used for Breaking Free. When they perform the entire song at the end of the movie, the first few lines also sound like Zac. Listen carefully! I really do think it’s him & not Drew. And yes, I do know that his voice was mixed with Drew’s. The majority is still Drew. I can’t talk about it. You’ll find out why tomorrow. 🤭

📣 G – O – D – R – A – M – A – C – L – U – B – EXCLAMATION POINT! 😂 

I saw something in the credits that legitimately surprised me. I didn’t know that Drew Seeley, credited as Andrew Seeley, helped write Get’cha Head in the Game. 🎼

Final thoughts for the day: I’ve already said a lot so I will bid you goodnight & stop talking. I hope you enjoyed my HSM lovefest because there are two days left, & there’s really only one way to end this marathon. 😉

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 27 | December 8

6:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

8:30am – Work 🛍

5:20pm – Blogging + Newsies 💻 

Newsies is directed by Kenny Ortega, director of The Cheetah Girls 2, the Descendants trilogy, the High School Musical trilogy, & Hocus Pocus. If that isn’t enough, he choreographed for Dirty Dancing, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, & Pretty in Pink, three classic films.

👁 Spotted: Baby Christian Bale! He is  A D O R A B L E 😍 Also, his voice is so sweet. 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6cAan3WYAg

👁 Spotted: Arvie Lowe Jr. as Boots Arbus | He portrayed Mr. Dig on Lizzie McGuire. 👨🏽‍🏫

7:30pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

Final thoughts for the day: I’m a little upset that no one told me to watch this movie sooner, but better late than never. I loved it, & the soundtrack immediately went on my Spotify playlist.

🎵  When I dream, on my own, I’m alone, but I ain’t lonely. For a dreamer, night’s the only time of day when the city’s finally sleepin’. And my thoughts begin to stray, and I’m on the train that’s bound for Santa Fe.  🎶

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   S E V E N   A R T 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 26 | December 7

8:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

9am – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

12:30pm – Getting Ready For Work + Bambi 💄 

2pm – Work 🛍

4pm – 15 Minute Break + Bambi ⏰ 

7:15pm – Lunch Break + Bambi 🍽 

Final thoughts for the day: I never watch Bambi because it makes me so sad, but I have no regrets. The characters are stinkin’ adorable, & the animation is beautiful. My Disney+ marathon is winding down. How’s everyone feeling? I must admit I’m very tired & a bit of a grinch at the moment. Hopefully I can get some much needed rest & relaxation soon. See you tomorrow! 👋

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   S I X   A R T 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 25 | December 6

5:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

7am – Work 🛍

2:45pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

8:45am – Bath + Ducktales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp 🛀 

Final thoughts for the day: Unfortunately I don’t have much to say tonight. Look at that wake-up time! I am EXHAUSTED. 😴 It was nice to relax in a nice, warm bath & enjoy a nostalgic adventure with some of my favorite ducks. I don’t think I ever watched this movie as a kid so it was cool to finally see it. More Ducktales is never a bad thing!

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   F I V E   A R T 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 24 | December 5

9am – Rise & shine! 🌞

9:15am – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

3:30pm – Editing a Video + The Cheetah Girls 2 💻 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_cPMAUGbr8

I actually got choked up talking about this movie on camera for my vlog. Middle school & high school were rough for me, extremely rough. When my friends & I would blast Cheetah Girls CDs & sing for hours, everything negative in my life would go away. They fueled my love for music. I didn’t care what I sounded like or what other people thought; I would sing at the top of my lungs because I loved to do it. I don’t feel ashamed to be 26 & still singing Cheetah Girls music at the top of my lungs. They got me through hard times, & that means the world to me. ♥️

9:30pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

Final thoughts for the day: I’ve already poured my heart out so here’s the only other thing you need to know: When my friends & I would pretend to be the Cheetah Girls, one of us had to take on 2 cheetahs because there were only 3 of us. If you’re curious, I was the one who pulled double duty with Chanel & Dorinda. Big shoes to fill, but I was honored to do it. 🎤

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   F O U R   A R T 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Disney+ Marathon Day 23 | December 4

8am – Rise & shine! 🌞

8:45am – Filming 📷

12:30pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

10:15pm – Filming + 101 Dalmatians

Anita is my inspiration. She’s fashion goals AND a reader. I want to be her when I grow up!

Speaking of fashion, Mr. Roger Radcliffe is no slouch!

For voicing Cruella De Vil, Betty Lou Gerson is a Disney Legend. One voice. That’s it. Iconic!

Shout-out to Rolly! He spends the entire movie talking about how hungry he is. We’re one & the same. 😂

Final thoughts for the day: I had a lot of work to do today so I was down to the wire trying to finish a movie on Disney Plus. That being said, I did not pick something just for the sake of the marathon. I truly adore this movie & think it deserves more attention. The animation is beautiful, & I love the setting & characters. Short but still full of Disney magic! 🐶

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   T H R E E   A R T 

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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: Disney+ Marathon Day 22 | December 3

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Disney+ Marathon Day 22 | December 3

8:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

10am – Work 🛍

3pm – Hallmark Christmas Movie Marathon 🎄

11pm – Blogging + The Cheetah Girls 💻 

I didn’t see this movie when it premiered. I don’t even remember if I saw it before or after Cheetah Girls 2. The point is that I eventually discovered the Cheetah Girls, & my life was forever changed. I even read the books! Yes, there are books. Only true Cheetah Girls fans know that. 📚 Please hold for more discussion when I watch the sequel. It’s going to get emotional! 😭

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2svIyvmwFKc

Final thoughts for the day: I still know most of the lyrics to this soundtrack. I could perform Cinderella or Cheetah Sisters at the drop of a hat & not miss a beat. 🎤 I don’t suppose there’s a revival in the works with space for a 26-year-old cheetah?? 😉

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   T W E N T Y   T W O   A R T 

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: Disney+ Marathon Day 21 | December 2

• Previous Video: Cozy Thanksgiving Night

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