The bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

amy-the-bookshop.jpgI thought the film was pretty bleak, so I wanted to read the book to see if it was different. If anything, it is significantly more bleak, but also simpler, and somehow more affecting. Florence Green is a widow who opens a bookshop in a small, not especially lovely, coastal English town. It’s not a happy story, not even a little, and it isn’t about the power of books, really, either. It is, however, a quietly powerful story of relationships, strength, and quirky personalities.

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The bookshop

Amy The Bookshop Surely an English, period movie about a bookshop is going to be right up my alley. Florence Green, a widow, decides to fulfill a dream and open a bookshop in a small town by the sea, despite no encouragement from her lawyer, banker, or the townspeople. The scenery is lovely, as are the costumes, and Florence and the reclusive Mr Brundish are endearing characters, but I felt that the film didn’t quite live up to its promise. I still enjoyed it, but I can cope with a bleak and sad ending. If you want bookish and happy, stick to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

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Unforgotten. Series 2

Amy Unforgotten2This is a brilliant British crime show, set in London and surrounds. It starts with the discovery of a body, long dead, and introduces a series of seemingly unconnected characters and the police. As the series goes on, connections become clear, and finally the murder is solved. Like most British crime shows, I spend a lot of it identifying actors from other shows (It’s Ruth from Spooks! It’s Mrs Plornish from Little Dorrit!). The detectives are very endearing, and the mystery is clever and compelling; it’s a great show.

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Goldstone

Amy GoldstoneAnother beautiful, sad, complex and moving film about Indigenous policeman, Jay Swan, solving a mystery in an outback town. Jay Swan, burdened with grief, is struggling to keep himself together as he searches for a missing girl, and meaning for his life. The cast is stellar, the scenery is stunning, and the story is about human trafficking, land rights, racism, corruption, and a place to belong.

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Mystery Road

Amy Mystery RoadThis is the movie that came before the television series. Having recently watched the television series, I was keen to find out Jay Swan’s back story. Recently returned to his home town after time in the big city, Jay doesn’t fit in with the other policemen, all white, or his own community. He is estranged from his wife and daughter, and seems to be the only one who cares about the murder of a young black girl. The cinematography is striking, capturing the starkly beautiful countryside. The story is bleak and violent, but the film is somehow quiet and contemplative, reflecting the complexity of the issues that face outback towns and Australia as a whole. The mystery itself may not be neatly tied up at the end, but the performances and thoughtful story make it a very satisfying film.

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The Wolverine

Amy WolverineI love the X-Men movies, but fell behind with watching them, so am catching up now. Struggling to deal with the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine is enticed to Japan where he encounters much fighting, a little romance and some great scenery. I think the Wolverine films aren’t as much fun as the X-Men films, and this one is less emotionally affecting than Logan, the final Wolverine film, but it was still enjoyable.

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Belle

Amy BelleThis is a British period drama, not unlike a Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell. It’s based on a real life portrait of Dido Belle, a mixed-race niece of the Lord Chief Justice of England, and her blonde cousin. There is a lovely romance, but it is also about a decision the Chief Justice made in the courts, which contributed to the eventual abolition of the slave trade. It’s a great story, with lots of familiar British actors.

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Logan

Cynthia LoganThis was a fitting end for Hugh Jackman as he plays Logan for the final time. The movie is unlike the previous X-men movies, gritty and sparse. We see an aged Logan just surviving at life. Mutants are almost non-existent. But of course Logan has one more fight left in him – and fight he does. I enjoyed this movie; squeamish at a child being a killing machine, hope for another generation of mutants and tears for Logan.

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