Saturday, January 13, 2018

A United Kingdom


     I have always believed that the best kind of stories are the real life ones we have never heard of. Then upon discovering theses true accounts we are left with a sense of amazement and shock that we were so ignorant of their existence. Especially when they changed the world. The 2016 film A United Kingdom is based on the extraordinary interracial marriage of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana, Africa and Ruth Williams of England. History and romance are weaved together in a beautiful, heartbreaking and ultimately happy ending testimony of black v white, Africa v England and family v family that is utterly unforgettable. 


     In 1947, London, young Seretse Khama seems to be an ordinary law student from South Africa. In complete truth, Seretse is heir to Bechuanaland and future hope to the Bamangwato tribe. Seretse and his younger sister, Naledi, were orphaned as children and raised by their uncle Tshekedi Khama who acts as regent of Bechuanaland until Seretse is ready to take his rightful place as king. 

     Seretse has a great deal of pride for his royal heritage and an overabundance of love for his close family and strong people. However, Bechuanaland is under English Colonialism and ranks as the third poorest country in the world. The English living in apartheid South Africa rule the country with no regard to the natives of the land, seeing them as subhuman and 'savages' in need of saving. Seretse faces smilar prejudices and racism while in England and believes that there can never be unity between the two polar opposite people groups. 

      All those doubts dissipate when he meets Ruth Williams, a shy, but intelligent young typist who sees the world as it can be if people look past the exterior. Seretse is immediately taken with Ruth and her with him. They soon begin a secret whirlwind romance which leads to Seretse asking for Ruth to marry him. While Ruth immediately accepts, her family does not accept the relationship giving them no choice but to disown their own daughter.


     Matters only get worse when Seretse returns to his home to find his own family furious at his choice of bride which causes conflict between Seretse and his uncle, and division of the tribe. England doesn't waste time in trying to separate the young couple and soon Seretse is exiled from his country. Ruth must cope with a hostile tribe and a new baby on her own. Overtime she not only wins over her sister-in-law with her kindness and respect, but eventually the whole tribe who want her stay and fight to bring her husband home.

      Seretse and Ruth are finally reunited together, but changes must be made to secure their union is accepted by all. Seretse ends his kingship and declares the Bechuanaland is no longer a monarchy, but a free republic with the will to become a modern country to be ruled by a modern people. Seretse becomes the first president and together he and Ruth transform the once poor and destitute Bechuanaland into the Republic of Botswana. 


      Botswana is now a thriving country with a rapidly growing economy and has one of the highest standards of living in South Africa. Seretse's and Ruth's marriage changed their country and shook the world, but it was not without sacrifice and suffering. I found Ruth's name to be interesting as her own story is quite similar to that of Ruth in the Bible and her famous words, "Where you go I will go." A true testament of God's neverending truth in the lives of his people. 

     A United Kingdom is a wonderful film that opens your eyes to a history you may not have known of before, but leaves you thankful that it happened. Sereste's and Ruth's love story went beyond their own love for each other and flowed into the hearts of both Africans and the British. They found the strength to challenge the powerful, the hope to unite a proud tribe and the courage to end prejudice and hate.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

New layout!


Happy New Year everyone!

Winter is here and it's freezing!

My mom has gotten me obsessed with NetFlix's drama series, The Crown starring Claire Foy and Princess/Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith as Prince Philip (pictured in the middle). If you love ITV's Victoria then I highly suggest The Crown for your wintertime watching. 


Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!


Hope and faith flower from the cheerful seeds of the old year to the sprouting garden of the new year's dawn. 

~Terri Guillemets, "Annuals," 2004


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them


     As a self-described Harry Potter fanatic, I was thrilled to be returning to J.K. Rowling's beautiful Wizarding World. Oddly enough, Fantastic Beasts is not a book....in the ordinary sense. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them was one of the schoolbooks at Hogwarts that was just a dictionary for all the magical creatures in the Wizarding World. So, then someone had the brilliant idea to to the title of a schoolbook and actually create a one way ticket back to magic, mystery and no small amount of mayhem. 

~ ~ ~

The Wizard and the No-Maj

     In 1927, Newt Scamander, a young magizoologist (study of of magical creatures) arrives in Brooklyn, New York with only a battered, leather suitcase. Within this old case is his own world of rare and magical creatures that he has saved from extinction and studies in hopes of publishing his research for other people to better understand them. Newt's primary goal is to release a rare creature, the thunderbird (or Frank) into the open Arizona desert. However, this being the Wizarding World, nothing ever goes as it seems. 

     While at the bank, Newt runs into a no-maj (non-magical person), Jacob Kowalski. Jacob is hoping to open up a bakery, but unfortunately lacks the funds to do so. So when he and Newt get their suitcases mixed up, poor Jacob finds himself slap bang in the middle of the secret world of witches, wizards, goblins, bizarre creatures and a brewing battle of good and evil. As a no-maj, Jacob is forbidden to ever know about the magical world, yet, that doesn't deter Newt from convincing the kindly baker to join him on his escapade of good will...and trouble. 

The Goldstein Sisters

     Porpetina or Tina Goldstein is an auror (Wizarding World's FBI) who lost her job after she performed magic in front of a no-maj. Tina has a misfortune run in with Newt after she sees him performing magic in front of Jacob. When she tries to report him to Macusa (American Wizarding headquaters), they shoo her away believing she's only trying to get back her former position. Tina refuses to allow Newt and Jacob to run free through New York and after Jacob is hurt by one of Newt's creatures, Tina takes them both home.

     At home, Jacob and Newt meet Queenie, Tina's younger sister. Queenie is a secretary and coffee girl at Macusa and is also a leglimens or telepathic. The complete opposite of her sister, Queenie is lively and full of fun and finds the no-maj entertaining while trying to break into Newt's secretive mind. Like Jacob, the Goldstein Sisters soon find themselves hunting down Newt's creatures, breaking Macusa law, raiding New York, engaging in a powerful wizarding battle, uncovering dark secrets, and even falling in love. Just a typical day for two girls from Brooklyn. 

Macusa

     The Magical Congress of The United States of America or Macusa runs an efficient and secretive world for the livelihood and protection of all magical Americans. Unlike England where there is complete freedom of communication and companionship with non-magic people, American wizards must be on their guard constantly to avoid any contact with no-majs at the risk of being hunted, jailed or killed and their world destroyed.

     Percival Graves, the head of magical security, believes that there is a child that could possibly be a key to ending all magical persecution. He enlists the help of a scared young boy, Credence, to aid him in finding this child under the guise of a loving mentor. Except, Percival is hardly kind or loving and there is a darkness inside him more powerful than anyone can imagine. 

     Meanwhile, the president of Macusa, Serephina Picquery, runs the American Wizarding World with an iron benevolence and will not have her authority undermined. While she fears the prejudice of no-majs, her worst fear is right next to her side and great sacrifices will be made for her to finally see it. 
Second Salemers

     A fear mongering, anti-magic group of of nobodies who truly believe that they are making a difference by warning the good citizens of New York of the secret magical world. The Second Salemers are made of Mary Lou Barebone and her family. While giving the appearance of a poor and kindly woman who cares for orphans, Mary Lou is a hateful and maniacal zealot who abuses her own children, especially her oldest son Credence believing him to be filthy with his own mother's magic ability. Credence finds solace in the company of Percival Graves who promises to rescue him from Mary Lou if he assists him in finding this odd magical child. Overtime, Credence begins to break between having to hide his magic, Mary Lou's abuse and Percival's inhumane conquest. 

~ ~ ~


      This movie! Everytime I watch it I love it over and over again! Fantastic Beasts kept with the traditional Harry Potter theme that great changes can be made through non-conformity. Harry Potter himself was an outsider who never fit in wherever he was and was always one to befriend other outsiders as well. 

     The same mindset in central to Fantastic Beasts. Newt was always the strange kid at school who buried himself into his studies. Tina and Queenie were orphaned at a young age and so they built their own world for themselves and where few people are allowed in. And Jacob is a no-maj who shouldn't even be there. All these outsiders came together with their own independent gifts and talents and fought against the grain of society to save society itself. 

This has become my life quote
     Eddie Redmayne was a perfect choice for Newt and brought his own quirky and gawky charm (no pun intended) to this role as he has done in past exceptional roles. The rest of the cast ensemble were superb, even the non human ones. The costumes....oh the costumes! It's 1920's New York, need I say anymore on the subject?! All costumes were beautiful with just a little hint of unique Wizarding World style. 

      After seeing this movie on the big screen for the first time I felt like I had never left the Harry Potter universe. It was wonderful to see a different and fresh storyline taking place in another era and in another country without losing the central core of a magical world that's all around us. And like with Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts forever explores and questions the never-ending battle of good v evil, the humanity of ones soul and the destruction of great power if put in the wrong hands.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Beauty and The Beast (2017)


      After an eternity I have finally gotten around to seeing this movie and I absolutely loved it! It was visually stunning and just took my breath away. The costumes, sets and locations completely transports you to an imaginary land set in 18th century France. What I loved most about the story was how we were able to get a better inside look at the background lives of the characters. Such as the story of Belle's mother (who isn't even mentioned in the animation film), the Beast's childhood, why the servants are so loyal to their master as well as other added in material (such as new songs, the magic traveling book and the mysterious Agatha) that really made the story it's own original and not just a copy off of the 1991 movie.

~ ~ ~

Belle & The Beast

     Deep in the heart of France a selfish, young prince spends his life in frivolity, materialism and not caring about anyone around him. After he heartlessly refuses an old beggar woman's request to find shelter from the cold night, solely based on her appearance, the prince and his entire staff are placed under a powerful curse that can only be broken by the Prince's doing. 

     Many years later, Belle, an educated and independent young woman, tends to turn heads in her new home that she finds small and boring. While people gossip behind her back, the most eligible bachelor in town, Gaston has his hunter's eye on Belle and is determined to make her his wife. However, Belle will not be deterred by the motives of false love and prefers to spend time with her clever father, Maurice, who makes his living as an inventor and artist.  

     When Maurice finds himself in danger on the way home from a out of town trip, he takes refuge in a dark and foreboding castle. Soon, he realizes the castle is alive with magic and is ruled by a monstrous beast. When the beast takes Maurice captive for trying to take a rose from the garden for his daughter, Belle leaves her safe home to find her father which sets events into motion that will alter her life and the lives around her forever. 


     When I found out that Emma Watson was cast for the role of Belle, I was ecstatic! I believed her to absolutely perfect for the headstrong Disney princess. Yet, when the film came out I had heard numerous times that Emma seemed to bring her own modern day feminist agenda to the story; however, I didn't see that at all. She portrayed Belle exactly as Belle should have been. Intelligent and bold, but still kind and generous. Emma also brought a more emotional depth to Belle and gave her insecurities and deep rooted fears which made this Belle ever so much more real and understandable.

     Oh my! Dan Stevens as the Prince/Beast! Be still my (ever still in love with Matthew Crawley) heart!!! In all seriousness, Dan nailed it as the tortured soul of a cursed prince. He created a reluctant romantic with an understated charm that could make anyone see the good man behind the beastly form. In the Broadway play the Beast has a beautiful solo "If I Can't Love Her" which I was looking forward too, but instead they wrote a new song for the Beast, "Evermore," which is so powerful and heartbreaking and yet is filled with a sense of hope that the former song lacked. 


~ ~ ~

Friends, Family and Foes

     As far as the supporting cast goes, it doesn't get any better than what they chose. From Belle's loving father, Maurice, to the Beast's lively and loyal staff as well as cold hearted Gaston and zany Lefou. I believe a movie can only be as good as its cast and all characters were wonderfully portrayed with heart and soul. The castle staff provided a great deal of comic relief for the film and gave wonderful insight to the Beast's childhood and how he became so cold and selfish. They love their master dearly, but also know when to lay down the ground rules with him which is an aspect I loved in the animated version. 

     Maurice was a wonderful father who loved and protected his daughter and only ever wanted her to be happy. His quiet and noble strength is seen in Belle and is the type of man that the Beast needed for a father and how things may have ended differently for him. Gaston, the arrogant and brainless brute who will stop at nothing to catch Belle was both comical and cruel. There is absolutely no sympathy for him at all and his end was almost as relieving as the Beast's transformation minutes later. Gaston's loyal sidekick, Lefou was much more likeable and his hero worship of his (supposed) best friend during the battle comes to a sudden stop and good riddance to it. As far as the "Gay storyline" it was almost unnoticeable and by the time it shows up it really has no bearing on the story at all.  

~ ~ ~

My favorite part! I started to cry!
     As with Cinderella, this movie was just a stunning masterpiece. While it may not have had a moral cornerstone like Cinderella had with its message of courage and kindness, Beauty and the Beast still tells a good and strong story. Courage over adversity, love over hate and generosity over selfishness. The strength that is found in friends, the importance of good parents and wisdom in choosing who we love. A tale as old as time which will never fade away.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Story Anniversary


I can't believe it's been ten years since I wrote my first fan-fiction! And even when I go to my account* and check up on my published works, people are still reading, reviewing and enjoying my little Narnian story.

However, I honestly believe that I may have written the crown princess of Mary Sues in my character of Princess Annelise. In my defense I had never heard of Mary Sue while I was writing and nobody has complained yet, so hopefully people are taking Anee's character with a grain of salt.

If you would like to read my first piece of writing, click on the graphic.
(Please ignore the typos and spelling mistakes. I did the best I could in editing)

*Unfortunately, my account has become a dead account due to the old e-mail address I was using. So I no longer have access to any of my stories.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Play That Song


I forgot to put this song on my favorite songs post which is a shame because it's one of the best songs of 2017. I just love it! It's so fun and spunky!


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