Show Review: Anne with an E (2017)

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I didn’t think I would be so captivated, but I am! Anne with an E is utterly adorable. Having never read Anne of Green Gables myself (despite owning all of the books as a kid) because I’m useless, I always knew the story. Little Anne Shirley comes to Prince Edward Island in the early 1900s to live with Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, an elderly brother and sister pair who want a boy to help them tend the land but instead they get Anne. She convinces them to keep her and slowly starts to win over the hearts of everyone on the island despite often putting her foot in her mouth, making frequent mistakes and having absolutely no chill.

The show itself largely follows Anne’s various escapades on PEI and the life of the islanders, each episode charming and wholesome in its own right. It’s certainly on the lighter side, but the show does touch upon some very important topics and there are hard-hitting moments that serve angst. My favourite characters are definitely Anne, her best friend Diana, Gilbert, Cole, Sebastian and the Cuthberts. Gilbert’s determination to win Anne over is the cutest thing ever. Cole, a character that wasn’t in the books but was created for the show, is truly a precious gem.

There’s good representation that didn’t come into the books (or so research tells me), too. And it’s wonderful seeing LGBT rep being incorporated so beautifully into classics. I won’t spoil you, but I love the character(s)! 

Since starting the show, I’ve also started the book. The audiobook version is performed by Rachel McAdams, too! And Rachel McAdams is perfection personified, yes yes?

 

gifs found online, not mine*

Show Review: Peaky Blinders (2013)

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I’m late to the Peaky Blinders fun, but I’ve finally joined in! I’ve been hearing about this show for years and tried to start it a few times, but I think it’s one of those ones you have to be in the right mood for.

Basically, the show follows the Peaky Blinders, a family-run gang in Birmingham, England, in 1919. So it’s just after WWI has ended and a lot of the characters are veterans suffering from PTSD. (The PTSD side plot is so heartbreaking.) The central plot focuses on the Shelby family who run the Peaky Blinders: Tommy, Arthur, John, Ada and Aunt Polly. There’s also the new barmaid Grace, who has a lot of secrets; Chester Campbell, who works for the Royal Irish Constabulary; and Freddie, Tommy’s childhood friend-now-enemy who’s in love with Ada, Tommy’s little sister. When the Peaky Blinders acquire stolen cargo that gets the attention of Winston Churchill, Campbell shows up in Birmingham and everything goes wrong.

Firstly, this show is gorgeous. The cinematography is gorgeous, the costumes are gorgeous, the scenery is gorgeous. Fabulous all around. I really want flapper fashion to come back in and this series is filled with it. Another highlight is definitely the soundtrack! It’s amazing. The theme is ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, which is an exquisite choice, but every scene is wonderfully scored. I’m just getting more impressed with each episode.

Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Iddo Goldberg are always great in everything (seriously, I adore them all), but I’m utterly blown away by Annabelle Wallis. Her singing takes my breath away! I always feel like the mark of a great singer is one who can sound perfect without any background music and she can. Her songs are haunting and melancholic. Amazing.

I’m not finished with season one, but I have a feeling I’m going to be marathoning this throughout this lockdown. (I’m almost done with my Shameless rewatch, too.) I definitely recommend this to fans of costume dramas!

Hope everyone is safe and well! ♥♥♥

gifs found online, not mine*

Review: Made in Heaven (2019)

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I absolutely adored Made in Heaven.

Made in Heaven follows Karan Mehra and Tara Khanna as they manage their wedding planning business which shares a name with the title of the show. It’s a dark take on the wedding industry in India and the show pulls no punches with showing how grim things can get. From scheming parents to blackmail and bridezillas, each episode shows a different wedding for the company while the characters navigate their complicated personal lives.

Karan is gay at a time when it’s illegal in India and his storyline follows his struggles with being who he is and loving who he wants when it risks jail time. Arjun Mathur was absolutely amazing as Karan, I was in awe. His mother is abusive and homophobic, although thankfully his father and brother are wonderfully accepting. His backstory totally broke my heart (there are a lot of flashbacks to explain the characters’ motivations and secrets) and I really hope we see more of Nawab, a man from his past, in season two. Their complicated relationship requires more screen time!

Tara, on the other hand, is married to Adil, who’s cheating on her with her best friend, Faiza, and constantly belittles her upbringing. He’s far richer than her and reminds her of it when they fight. NOT A GOOD LOOK, ADIL. Adil and Faiza really frustrated me throughout the entire season, but otherwise I adored the entire cast. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to them in season two, honestly. Sobhita Dhulipala stole every scene she was in and made you really empathise with Tara despite the character’s sometimes questionable choices. She’s a new to me actress and she’s definitely a new favourite. She really reminds me of Deepika Padukone, actually.

There’s also Kabir Basrai and Jaspreet Kaur, who work for Made in Heaven and are dealing with complications of their own. Kabir often narrates videos of the weddings and they’re always wonderful observations and really tug at your heart. In particular, the storyline where a woman discovers that her fiancé’s family blackmailed her parents into paying a dowry culminates in a powerful moment where the girl walks out of the wedding. Kabir’s closing refrain was so powerful:

‘That’s all it took to shatter centuries of patriarchy. One tiny moment of courage. […] Our women don’t deserve this. Our women are better than this. And if they only believed that.’

SO MANY EMOTIONS. Honestly, the show makes so many good points about politics and religion. I’m so excited for season two!

Review: Il était une seconde fois (2018)

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‘Relationships are all the same, but no one experiences them the same way.’

Il était une seconde fois, or Twice Upon a Time, centres around Vincent and Louise. It’s told out of order, switching back and forth between the past and the present. I did notice it switching from full screen to wide screen as well, so I think that was an intentional method to differentiate between the past and the present. If you don’t pay attention to that, though, it’s easy to get lost. The changes happen without warning.

**contains spoilers**

The series starts off with Vincent basically a drunken mess who’s spiralling into depression and destruction after the end of his relationship with Louise. Over the course of the series, you find out that Vincent and Louise met one night in a pub and instantly hit it off. They agree neither wants a relationship but their chemistry is undeniable and they get into a relationship despite Louise having an unfinished relationship with James, and Vincent still seeing the mother of his son.

One day, a postman leaves a box, ‘the cube’, with Vincent. It’s quite literally just a box. When he’s trying to figure out what it does, he realises the box doesn’t have a back and comes out on the other side nine months in the past with his relationship still intact.

In both timelines, Louise struggles with opening up to Vincent after a traumatic event in her last relationship has left her reeling. It’s revealed later that she was having an affair with a married man and when the wife found out, she jumped in front of a train with Louise there, riddling her with guilt for the rest of her life. 

Madly in love with Louise and wanting to fix their relationship, he goes back and forth between the past with Louise and the present with his son, not wanting to lose either. His inability to pick one leads to both sides missing him and wondering where he’s been for days on end. Louise tolerates it for a time, listening to his ‘story’ about time travel and viewing it as something like method acting for writers. The only person who believes Vincent is his brother, a man struggling with schizophrenia.

In the present, the postman who left the cube keeps stalking him to get the box back, asking Vincent if he can search his house, his car, and generally just being weird. There are a few others who keep up the weirdness and trying to figure out who wants what and why is difficult. The background of the cube is never really explained outside of his brother making a few ideas about light and photons. And there are background figures trying to get the cube back from Vincent, too, but other than a few lines, these characters aren’t delved into. It leaves you with quite a few questions, although I think the point of the series was to make an existential statement rather than a scientific drama.

Overall the series is quite interesting, and Gaspard Ulliel and Freya Mavor have amazing chemistry and their acting is perfection, but I do wish it’d been a few episodes longer, told a little less convolutedly, and the science fiction/time travel explained more.