The next special event was my 18th wedding anniversary. My husband had flatly refused to take me to see Michael Bolton - so I had to settle for humming "How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?" while we drove to the cinema. I chose the movie. "Testament of Youth" was playing at the Dendy. A movie based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, an english girl who had just begun at Oxford when World War 1 began, the movie opened on VE Day and then backtracked through the war years. Brittain wrote most powerfully on the futility of war, the role of women, and life in the aftermath of the horror. I had read the book while at university, and the movie did not disappoint. It was beautifully done. At times heartwarming, uplifting, moving and tragic. I was in danger near the end of crying like I hadn't since seeing Life is Beautiful so many years ago. Had to pull myself together for dinner afterwards, remembering we were supposed to be celebrating after all. For two hours we were transfixed, transported and overawed (I'm talking about the movie again, in case you were wondering.) The clothes and interiors were amazing too. The acting superb. Totally loved it.
And all for $40 for two tix.
Sorry, but Mr Bolton wasn't good value for money in comparison.
Then, a friend's birthday treat became a rare and exciting pleasure of meeting in the morning for a (shock horror!) daytime movie! Yes, it was us and a few dozen seniors. We went for coffee first, and a pastry - it was 10am after all. At 10.30am we rushed into the cinema having neatly missed the advertisements (on account of searching for the perfect winter beanie with pom poms in David Jones Department Store) and then had the most fabulous time watching A Royal Night Out. Set on VE DAy (yes I was having dejavous!) this movie was hilarious and jolly good fun! I found myself thinking how jolly good it was to be there and wondering why with Arch at preschool for the past year and a bit I hadn't done something like this before now??? #lostopportunity
Loved the acting (Elizabeth was uncannily like the real Queen I thought, knowing her as well as I do) and realising that the film had obviously played loosely with the truth, the entertainment of watching Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret let their hair down was fabulous. And who knew Rupert Everett was looking so old? He did make a lovely King and the Queen Mother (also as the mother in Testament of Youth - more dejavous!) was excellent as a stern "keeping up appearances" type.
Then came my own birthday. May is my birthday month so having lined up some babysitting and therefore a few precious hours to celebrate myself, Jonathan and I again returned to the cinema to see A Woman in Gold. You might be thinking three wartime movies in a month is too many, but they were all so good. Again the acting in this one was superb - Helen Mirren is perfect as a Jewish/Austrian/American war survivor who has a burning desire to see her family property returned to its rightful owners. When the property just happens to be some of Gustav Klimpt's finest works, and paintings that seem irreversibly tied to Austria - well the (true) story is one well worth watching.
War has many victims. When a movie can show the poignancy, the tragedy and the suffering that has occurred, in a manner that is heartrending, informative and rich in characters, stories and history - as well as fulfilling the purposes of being entertaining - well surely they have achieved something good. Perhaps even very good. I'd heartily recommend these movies (yes, download them if you must!), you won't regret it.