Halloween is supposed to be the scariest day of the year, but for many of us it’s Election Day, and next Tuesday will be no exception. So much is hanging in the balance. We do hope anybody and everybody reading this has already or plans to vote. In that spirit, here are a few viewing selections that demonstrate how the actions of a few can create change for many, be that positive or negative. Hopefully, those with the latter tendencies will stay home on Tuesday while the rest of us come out and vote.
SUFFRAGETTE: Women owe our right to vote to the kind of women who are beautifully depicted in this indie film that had a hard time casting male stars because none of the male roles were flattering. Imagine that. It’s also one of the rare films that does not pass the reverse Bechdel test (no two men speak with one another about any subject other than women.)
GOOD GIRLS REVOLT (Series, 2016, Prime) In 1968, female researchers in a newsroom band together to make their voices heard in one of my favorite series of all time that was sadly canceled after one season, not for lack of audience (it was an instant hit with viewers who petitioned to bring it back), but because Roy Price, who headed Amazon Studios at the time didn’t like it – a male who one year later was fired after being sued for sexual misconduct. Go figure.
STRANGER THINGS (Series, Netflix, ongoing): I’m late getting into this one – a long story. But now I’m hooked. The first two seasons are especially great examples of how individuals banning together can right wrongs. Kudos to the Duffer Brothers for creating a series with a diverse cast of likably flawed characters who can move past their differences for the common good. Let them be a lesson to us all.
TAR (in theaters): “We are all capable of murder.” So says brilliant conductor Lydia Tar, and the movie then proceeds to spend the next two hours proving the point that women are capable of behaving just as awfully as similarly situated men. This isn’t the first film to depict a genius as a monster, but it distinguishes itself by making the genius a woman who may also be a sexual predator. TAR also explores the issue of so-called cancel culture without committing itself to taking a position on this contentious debate. The movie never softens the harsh and ugly aspects of our protagonist’s nature, but we remain in awe of her great and rare talent even as we recoil from her behavior.
CARNIVAL OF SOULS (Criterion Collection): This low-budget, independent horror film has become a cult classic since its release sixty years ago and would later influence directors as significant as David Lynch. The story revolves around a young woman who survives a mysterious car accident and moves to a new town to start over. Mary looks for work as a church organist despite having no interest in religion and is detached from and indifferent to the male characters she meets over the course of the movie. She’s an intriguing character whose independence and unconventional nature is more striking given that the third-wave feminist movement was still in its early stages.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE the polls and make your voice heard. We all need to pull together and fight for a better future.
Devi & Amy
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