The world may very well be on the brink of destruction, but there’s still joy to be found on the big and less big screen. So, this month Devi’s focusing on the positive to kick off a summer with a smile. Meanwhile, Amy tackles some harder hitting topics, with films and series that that highlight the very real physical challenge of being female and the emotional fallout that can ensue. In short, here’s a little something for everyone…
PEOPLE OF EARTH (Series, Prime): Aliens are among us, and they’re a hoot, as are their abductees (who prefer to be called “experiencers”) that come together in near nightly support group meetings. How this delightfully quirky sitcom fell under my radar is a mystery. As is the fact that such a gem got cancelled after a paltry two seasons. But despite the season 2 cliffhanger that will haunt me forever, I cannot recommend this show highly enough if you’re looking for an inter-galactic escape from your worries. The diverse cast shows how beings of all varieties can connect and help one another in the most unexpected ways.
THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, FINAL SEASON (series, Prime): If you’ve yet to tune into the marvels of Maisel, now is the time. You can binge all five seasons without disruption. In fact, I’d highly recommend it. Not only is the show full of fabulous standup routines, great music and fashion and a delightful cast of colorful characters, it centers around truly moving relationships that evolve in the most pleasing ways over the journey of the series. And the feminist-friendly story lines are executed to perfection – with a laugh and a smile and incredible poignancy. It’s unquestionably one of my favorite series of all time and while I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying ending, I’m so sad to see it go.
TED LASSO, FINAL SEASON: (series, AppleTv): Right up there with the MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL is the FANTASTIC TED LASSO. If you do not have AppleTV, this is reason enough to at least take advantage of a free trial month. The series centers around a cast of characters who repeatedly overcome life’s challenges through kindness and friendship, and no other show I’ve seen boasts the same oxytocin high that comes from near every episode. Yes, there are couple darker ones interspersed throughout, but those are the exception not the rule and they only make the joyous return to levity all the greater thereafter. This is probably the number one show to reduce blood pressure and improve one’s mental health.
DEAD RINGERS (Streaming on Amazon Prime): Ethically-challenged identical twins with medical degrees and codependency issues open a high-tech birthing medical center bankrolled by a wealthy family responsible for the opioid crisis. What could possibly go wrong? Apparently everything. DEAD RINGERS depicts pregnancy and childbirth as a physically brutal, emotionally wrenching, and potentially deadly experience for women. This series features lots of blood and isn’t for the faint of heart. But if one has the stomach for it, this is an excellent series about the victimization of women by the medical establishment that they have entrusted with their health care. At the center of the story are the identical twins whose work as gynecologists becomes increasingly dangerous and illegal. Both characters are brilliantly played by Rachel Weisz who renders these twins compelling, complicated but also abhorrent. The series takes on a science fiction atmosphere as the twins’ nightmarish dream of revolutionizing women’s fertility, pregnancy and natal care comes to fruition.
JUDY BLUME FOREVER (Streaming on Amazon Prime): Judy Blume is perhaps the most beloved writer ever of books for adolescents. She never shied away from controversial subjects exploring racism, segregation, antisemitism, menstruation, masturbation, teenage sex, and every other taboo that made her an easy target for the right-wing censors of America. In doing so, she also gave young girls a voice, showing us how to be strong, brave, compassionate, and the exercises for a larger bust line. Her youthful readers also got an early taste of the all-around awfulness of the far right-wing, a harbinger of things to come (Google anything related to the state of Florida). This documentary explores her legacy which remains intact thanks to her legions of devoted fans who continue to share a bond with her even as we approach middle-age. Thanks, Judy.
ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET (Playing in theaters): For women of a certain age, this film is a poignant trip down memory lane that transports us to a more innocent era when menstruation was rarely discussed, and on the rare occasions it merited a mention, it was treated as a shameful taboo. The book on which the movie is based remains a radical work for taking the fears, aspirations, and inner emotional lives of young girls seriously, capturing the anxieties of adolescence with humor and compassion. The film does an excellent job of staying faithful to the book, exploring Margaret’s struggles with religion, family, and impending womanhood-issues that will always remain relevant to a young girl coming of age.
Devi & Amy
© 2018 BeyondTheBechdel. All Rights Reserved.