February Roundup – Viewing to Inspire and Stay Sane

February 1st, 2022

As we complete two full years of pandemic living and head into year three with no end in sight as the world becomes scarier by the second, we likely all have days where we’ll wonder how we’ll ever pull through. But people, especially women, have an amazing capacity to overcome adversity, whether it comes from the challenges of childbirth and motherhood, negotiating the patriarchy or trying to get a film made in sexist Hollywood.  So, for those seeking inspiration from women who handle such challenges with aplomb (or at least seriously badass attitudes), you need look no further than the following shows and films…


PARALLEL MOTHERS (2021, in Select Theaters): Motherhood has been the subject of several distinguished films in the past year. Director Pedro Almodovar explores the topic with a compelling story about two women from varied backgrounds who form a close friendship over the births of their daughters. While the female protagonists come to motherhood in very different ways, they both possess strong maternal instincts and embrace their newfound roles with a genuine joy that’s a pleasure to watch. Janis, the lead character played by Penelope Cruz, makes some questionable choices at the end but remains a courageous, resilient character worthy of our admiration.

HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021, in Select Theaters, streaming on Prime/Vudu ): So maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest that the character played by Lady Gaga is a feminist heroine given that she orders a hit on her estranged husband who also just happens to be an heir to the Gucci fashion house. But she’s certainly a fascinating woman to watch in her pursuit of rebuilding the Gucci empire while brimming with drive, ambition, business acumen, and audacious ruthlessness. She may not have been as she puts it “a particularly ethical person” but Lady Gaga’s bold performance always makes her a fascinating and compelling one. The film has been criticized as being campy and superficial, but does anyone actually want to watch a dignified portrayal of this gaudy clan? A fascinating depiction of greed and betrayal and the downward spiral that inevitably accompanies it.


LAST NIGHT IN SOHO (2021, Prime): If there’s a more original, stylish, intelligent, feminist, engaging psychological thriller/horror film out there, please let me know, because this one blew my mind in the best possible way. Directed by Edgar Wright of SHAUN OF THE DEAD fame, it features the always fabulous  Anya Taylor-Joy, among other stellar cast, in a surreal world, blurring the lines between the 1960s and now that poignantly reveals how little life in the patriarchy has changed. Do not miss this one.

YELLOWJACKETS (Series, Showtime): Move over LORD OF THE FLIES (please! we’ve had enough toxic masculinity for one century), YELLOWJACKETS is a far superior tale of survival with young folks trapped in the wilderness. In this case, it’s a girls high school soccer team who, with their male coach and the sons of the pilot who died in the place crash that’s left them stranded in the Northern wilderness, struggle to survive for over a year, enduring hunger, harsh weather, and scariest of all, each other. The story is revealed via two timelines, the present day in which it follows the few survivors and a series of flashbacks that led to their fates. The pilot is intriguing, but the rest of season one gives BREAKING BAD a run for its money in writing, acting, and heat-pumping suspense. It ends on quite the cliffhanger, but mercifully it’s been greenlit for a second season.

BRAND NEW CHERRY FLAVOR (Series, Netflix): Adapted from an out of print novel, so rare a copy will run you 800-bucks, this dark, bizarre limited series combines the best of David Lynch darkly comedic, surreal deviance with an almost Tarantino-esque sensibility, albeit replacing the narcissistic racist misogyny with a more feminist-friendly appeal. A young female filmmaker gets screwed by the system and enlists the help of a witchy-type woman (played masterfully by Catherine Keener) with highly inventive, often grotesque results. You will never think of kittens the same way again.

Stay strong, stay safe, stay sane and enjoy!


Devi & Amy



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