“Think about who loved you into being.” I saw the movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood on Friday night. There is a scene in the film where Tom Hanks playing the part of children’s television star Fred Rogers is having lunch in a Chinese restaurant with a young troubled journalist named Lloyd Vogel. Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to just sit for one full minute and think about the people who have loved him into being. Who are people in his life that truly cared about him and wanted the best for him? Mr Rogers asks Lloyd to think deeply about those people and feel connected to them and grateful to them.
As Lloyd begins to do this, movie director Marielle Heller chooses to freeze the film for one full minute. This means while Lloyd Vogel is thinking about the people who loved him into being the audience is encouraged, really more or less forced, to do so too. On Friday night I could hear people in the theatre initially shift uncomfortably in their seats as the screen froze but then they got drawn into the silence and I am sure most began thinking about the people who had loved them into being. I wiped away tears when the minute ended as did the stranger sitting beside me. I suspect there were many damp eyes in the audience.
Tom Hanks says the full minute of silence goes against every rule of movie-making but it is perhaps the most profound moment in the film. It makes the audience full participants.
The restaurant scene never really happened in Fred Rogers life but is partially based on a true incident. When Fred Rogers was awarded a lifetime achievement award at the 1997 Emmys for his contributions to children’s television programming he asked the audience to spend ten seconds thinking about the people who had loved them into being. He said, “All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think about the people who have helped you to become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.”
When the time was up Mr Rogers asked the audience members to consider how happy and grateful the people who had made a difference in their life would feel to know that they had meant so much to someone.
I thought Tom Hanks was perfectly cast as Fred Rogers
Mr Rogers’ basic message on his television program that ran for thirty-three years was that every child is special just the way they are and worthy of kindness. In order to be good human beings, we all need to have had someone who respects who we are, shows us kindness, cares about us, and loves us into being. Maybe many of the problems of our society could be solved if we could only ensure that every human being had exactly that- someone to love them into being.
Who loved you into being?
Won’t You Be My Neighbour?
Children’s Party with Aunt Olly
Getting Nostalgic and Just a Little Sad
“That’s Better Call Saul” my husband Dave whispered as we stopped on the steps on our way out of the Winnipeg restaurant Clementines where we had breakfast yesterday with our friends. Dave was sure he had spotted actor Bob Odenkirk.
“I thought he looked familiar when we walked past him,” I said. I had watched the whole Breaking Bad series in which actor Bob Odenkirk plays smooth-talking lawyer Saul Goodman. His series Better Call Saul which my husband Dave watches, is a prequel to Breaking Bad and will debut its fifth season in February of 2020.
Bob Odenkirk – Photo by Gage Skidmore
When we got home I looked up whether Bob Odenkirk was in Winnipeg making a film or television series. Sure enough, a CTV article said Odenkirk would be in Winnipeg from October 15 to November 29th shooting an action thriller movie for Universal Pictures set to be released in August of 2020 called Nobody. It is about a suburban father named Hutch Mansell out to get revenge on thieves who break into his home.
This is not the first time however that Winnipeg has had a connection with the Better Call Saul television series. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that during the 2018 season of the series, a character called Nacho is getting ready to skip town and opens a safe containing cash and a fake ID that has Wolver Avenue in Winnipeg listed as the address of the owner of the identity card.
When we passed Odenkirk in the restaurant I overheard him telling his breakfast companion about the things he liked on the menu so obviously, this wasn’t the first time he had eaten at Clementine’s. Both Dave and I thought Bob looked a lot younger in person than he does on television. I am looking forward to seeing Bob Odenkirk in the movie Little Women which opens during the holiday season this year.
When you live in the Exchange District of Winnipeg you get used to seeing actors, props and scenery and film crews on the streets regularly. But it is still always a little bit of a thrill when you spot a celebrity. I sometimes say living in the Exchange District of Winnipeg is a bit like living in a movie set.
I Live in a Movie Set
Movie Shot in Our Building
Winnipeg in the Movies
Filed under Media, Movies
What would I be willing to die for? That’s what I was thinking about when I walked out of the movie Harriet on Saturday night. Harriet is a biopic that chronicles the life of Harriet Tubman, a slave from Maryland who made a daring escape from her own master and then returned thirteen times to her former home region to lead about seventy slaves to freedom.
There is one scene in the movie where Harriet is on a bridge with her owner standing nearby. She has to make a decision to jump to what will almost certainly be her death or go back with her master and continue her life as a slave. She decides she would rather die than be a slave and so she jumps and escapes. She was willing to die for her freedom. Later in the movie, we see how Harriet’s sister makes a different decision choosing to continue a slave rather than risk death.
What would I be willing to die for?
Would I be willing to risk my life for democracy like many young people are doing these days in Hong Kong?
Some young female Democratic members of the American Congress from religious and racial minorities receive repeated death threats. Yet they are passionate enough about saving democracy in their country to carry on. Could I do that?
Harriet was not only ready to die for her own freedom she risked her life again and again to save others. Would I have that kind of courage?
What would you be willing to die for?
Is It Wrong to Die For Your Faith?
Asking Important Questions
“They’ll tie everything up for you in a beautiful bow by the end”. My friend made that comment when I told her I was going to see the movie, Downton Abbey. And she was right! They did. All the storylines introduced for the different characters reached a satisfying conclusion by the end of the film.
Despite this, watching the movie left me feeling much less charmed then I had been watching the many seasons of Downton Abbey on television. Somehow the excesses of the wealthy class and the way the servant class accepted their lower station in the film made me uncomfortable in a way I somehow hadn’t experienced while watching the series on television four years ago. I wondered why.
Perhaps it is because I follow American politics fairly closely and in the last four years, I’ve observed wealthy people benefit from even greater tax breaks. Giant corporations seem to have no limits on using their gargantuan profits to buy candidates and votes and set the direction for governing with their money. The most powerful nation in the world is being led by a wealthy man who has no qualms about using his political office to enrich his personal finances. The gap between the wealthiest one percent and the rest of society keeps widening. Perhaps all these things make me more keenly aware that a society where wealth is distributed so unfairly cannot be a healthy or a happy one for the majority.
King George, Queen Mary, and their daughter visit Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey is set at the beginning of the 20th century. It was a time when British society was structured in such a way that those who had inherited privilege and wealth had enormous advantages the rest of the population could only dream of. Since the film also revolves around the visit of the royal family to Downton Abbey the idea of inherited wealth and privilege is even more in evidence.
So while the plot lines in the film Downton Abbey were certainly tied up in a neat bow by the end of the movie my feelings about the highly stratified and unfair society it portrayed were not.
Seeing The Queen
The Queen Who Couldn’t Bake Gingerbread
The movie The Goldfinch is being widely panned. The reviewer in the Atlantic was absolutely scathing in his evaluation of the film. Friends asked us to go to the movie on Friday night and so we did, more to spend time with them than to see the film. But as we enjoyed snacks and drinks after the movie and talked about the film we all said it had kept us engaged. I actually liked the movie far more than I thought I would. The film The Goldfinch is based on the novel of the same name by Donna Tartt. It was a disappointing read for me despite the fact it won a Pulitzer Prize. The book started off wonderfully, totally drew me in, and then slowed down to a painful crawl in the middle as the hero Theo descended into a hell of drugs, alcohol and a horrible life with his troubled father. Thankfully in the film, this middle section of the story had to be condensed due to time constraints and that was just fine with me.
Some critics said the movie was hard to follow because it jumps around a lot between time periods in Theo’s life Having read the book already I had no trouble with plot sequence and in fact the jumps to different time periods kept me engaged.
Nicole Kidman who plays Samantha Barbour in the film. She is with Ansel Elgort who has the main role as Theo Decker.
The cinematography in the movie was well done, helping to bring to life the elegance of Theo’s New York home with the Barbour family, the stark barreness of the Las Vegas desert where Theo lives with his father, and the rich warm comfort of the furniture shop where Theo eventually comes to live with his friend Hobie.
I wanted the book to have a more satisfying ending and hoped the film might provide that. Unfortunately it did not.
Sometimes when a movie gets amazing reviews you are disappointed when it doesn’t measure up in your estimation. In this case, for me at least, the movie exceeded the horrible reviews it received.
Movie or Book?
Haunted by a Movie
Mennonite Names At the Movies
1. The movie is based on the best selling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. My husband and I read the novel with a book club we belonged to in Hong Kong. The film brought back good memories of having a lively time discussing the story with a great group of book lovers.
2. We saw The Art of Racing in the Rain on our anniversary with friends after a delicious meal, a glass of wine and some lovely conversation. I was in a good mood and this charming easy to watch film fit the bill for the evening perfectly.
3. I liked the metaphor of racing in the rain. One of the main characters in the movie is a race car driver and he specializes in racing in wet conditions. He needs patience and strength and courage to drive on a wet track and he needs those same characteristics, as we all do, for driving through the storms in his personal life.
4. I loved the Jack Pearson character in the TV series This is Us and the main character in The Art of Racing in the Rain is played by the same actor the handsome Milo Ventimiglla. His character here is much like the Jack Pearson one. He is a man who loves his family devotedly and has a romantic heart.
5. This movie has a dog as its narrator. I am not really a dog person but despite that, I was quite drawn to the loyal and loveable Enzo whose voice is provided by actor Kevin Costner. His voice was perfect for the part.
Coop the Great
Fifteen Dogs and Writing Caradec Poetry
Between Dog and Wolf
The movie Diane starring Mary Kay Place makes aging look pretty depressing. We saw it last Friday night. Diane is seventy years old when the movie begins, a widow in a small town in Massachusetts. She is doing all the ‘right’ things to try to make the last third of her life meaningful.
She’s helping others. She volunteers at a drop-in that serves meals to the homeless and she delivers homemade casseroles to ailing friends and relatives. She visits patients in the hospital.
She’s connected to people. She maintains a relationship with her only son and his partner even though it requires tremendous effort on her part. She has friends she meets with regularly for meals and card games. She has close contact with her extended family and gets together often with them.
She has interests. She journals and reads and writes poetry. She takes walks in the woods and has bird feeders around her home. She attends church. She likes music.
She makes lists of things to do each day setting goals and tasks for herself.
But despite all these efforts at engagement and connection her life still is pretty sad and bleak. People she is close to keep dying. She tries to stay busy but there is still substantial time when she is alone and lonely. During these solitary hours she thinks about her past, the mistakes she’s made and worries if she is doing enough to atone for them.
Diane knows the limitations of her situation and for the most part accepts them with grace, but every once and a while her anger and frustration bubbles to the surface.
In the last years of her life my mother-in-law often said that growing old was not for cowards. The movie Diane makes that abundantly clear. I’m not sure if I am glad I saw it or not.
She Walks in Beauty