Category: Biography


Woman in Gold

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Last night I watched Woman in Gold, a true story based on the life of Maria Altmann.

Maria is a Jewish aristocrat that has fled from Vienna to the US with her husband in the beginning of the second world war leaving behind her family and their past. She also left her legacy and a lot ofmaxresdefault exquisite works of art that belonged to her family and were taken by the nazis. After all these years and after her sister has passed away she decided to fight for her fortune that was stolen from her with  the help of a very young and feisty lawyer.

It is quite a capturing story and it is most interesting when you find out that it is based on real events. The casting is really good and the flashbacks make the story even more vivid. The Viennese music adds to its atmosphere and it is a quiet film worth watching for a quiet afternoon.
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Unbroken

Unbroken_posterLast night we decided to watch Unbroken, a biographical film based on the extraordinary life of Louie Zamperini.

The film starts from how Louie was prompted to start running when he was just a teenager unbroken (1)and then was qualified to take part in the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin. In 1941 he joined the army and he was made a bombardier, but when the plane he was on stopped working and crashed in the sea, he was lost in sea for 47 days. Finally he was “rescued” by a Japanese warship and was led to a prison camp where he was tortured for more than two years.

As I was watching the film I was once more shocked at the cruelty and violence that a human can inflict on another human. I also kept thinking how fitting the title is; as nothing and nobody broke this man. Naturally he was heavily injured both physically and psychologically by the end of the war when he was eventually saved, but the fact that he died at the age of 97 from old age is close to a miracle; so yes, he was literally unbroken. An admirable human being.

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The Theory of Everything

theoryofeverything1Last night I watched The Theory of Everything, a biographical film based on the personal life of Stephen Hawking, the famous theoretical physicist and cosmologist.

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Based on his first wife’s memoirs, The Theory of Everything starts in the early 1960s when Hawking was still studying in Oxford. It is here that he meets his first wife Jane and the first symptoms of his deteriorating disease appeared.

It is a beautiful film, with lovely photography and the protagonists are really fantastic in their roles. We see how difficult everyday life can be even for a genius. The story is anyway intriguing as we want to find out how this great man with this scary disease spends his time at home and how he developed and became who he is today; the Einstein of our time, although I think he is passed being compared to anyone else anymore.

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Grace of Monaco

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Yesterday while I tried to do the ironing, I decided to watch a film so that time will pass more easily. I decided to watch a film about a princess, Grace of Monaco (I’m sure she never had to iron).

The film starts when Grace is alreday married and a mother of two children in the grace-of-monaco-img01Principality of Monaco and we see her struggle to be an example of a princess; how people perceived her, how she changed that and eventually how she saved Monaco from the threat of de Gaulle’s France.

I certainly don’t know if the story is 100% true and how much of it is poetic license and I don’t care. The story is quite intriguing based on a political incident and showing how Gracie, as her closest people call her, was transformed from an indecisive ex actress to a very confident and determined princess and saved her principality. It is a film with a great casting and it was a really good choice to pass my time while doing a stupid chore!

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Jobs

Jobs_(film)“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

The other day I watched Jobs, the biographical film about Steve Jobs, the founder of the Apple computing company. When I watch this kind of films I always wonder how much of the story is really true.

The story begins with Jobs as soon as he decided to drop out of university, showing how his interestfirst-jobs-trailer in technology started, his making of Apple Computers, his rise and fall within the company, as well as his rise again when he was called back. Throughout the film I saw a man who was unquestionably talented, very precise in what he wanted without any doubts or second thoughts, but also strict, cruel, difficult, unappreciative and, in the beginning at least, disgusting! (He really had to be asked to shower and wear shoes?)

Does being a genius justify being dirty? Does success justify being unappreciative? Some would say that there is no space for mediocrity on the road to success, so should there be for cruelty? A well made film that I will never watch again.

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Chasing Mavericks

Chasing-Mavericks-posterI sometimes wonder when Hollywood says “Based on a true story” how much of it is actually true, but even if half of Chasing Mavericks is true, then it is a powerful story.

Jay Moriarity is a talented surfer who is determined to ride the big waves, the ‘monsters’, the ‘Mavericks’, that are coming to the coast of Santa Cruz. chasing mvericksComing from a broken home, with no father to support him and his disappointing mother unable to keep a job, he has to do everything from an early age; work, take care of his mother, go to school, have a social life and of course surf. He keeps a smile on his face almost all the time and has such a positive attitude when most of us would have given up and feel trapped in our tiresome routines. With the help of surf legend, good friend and father figure, Frosty, he is disciplined enough to ride these monsters in 12 weeks at the age of 16!

At the end of the film a wall is shown with a graffiti commanding us to ‘LIVE LIKE JAY‘ and I have to agree.

I liked him, I admired him, I envied him and I respected him. Find the purpose that is going to make you happy, find the person that is going to make you happy and make your own story.

 

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Saving Mr Banks

saving Mr.Banks“This world is just an illusion, Ginty old girl”

I’m not sure if it is a true story and I don’t really care as Saving Mr. Banks is a really lovely film!

It is the story of Walt Disney the famous cinematographer and Mrs. Travers the writer of the adorable Mary Poppins character and how they came together to create the famous musical film Mary PoppinsSaving-Mr-Banks1

Mrs Travers is an eccentric lady who lives in London and has refused for 20 long years to hand the rights for Mary Poppins to Disney to turn it into a film. Because of financial issues she’s finally persuaded to travel to L.A., meet Walt Disney and decide whether to let him make it into a musical or not. Although we all know the ending to this collaboration as Mary Poppins was as successful a film as the books were, we are still intrigued to find out what is that makes Mrs Travers so unhappy and uptight. She really expects the worst from everyone and she is very difficult to please; when at the same time we see that she wants to be happy and pleased.

It is a beautiful film full of emotion and hope. Mrs Travers though peculiar in her own ways is an adorable character, she shares a moving relationship with her father who was a disappointment to her as a little girl, but whom she still loves very much.

In the end of the film I couldn’t stop singing the sweet, soft but melancholy version of chim chim cher ee

 

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The Butler

 

TheButlerLast night I decided to watch The Butler, as it was a film that was a lot talked about.  A biopic of the butler that served 8 US presidents in the White House and through his life we see the historic events and developments of the American society.

In the 1920s Cecil Gaines is an 8 year old slave that works in a cotton farm, but he has a happy childhood as he is with his father and mother. When his mother is raped and his father killed, butlerhis life changed. He was taken in the “white man’s house” and trained as a “house nigger“. The skills he acquired landed him a job as a butler in the White House ; a job that he loved.  At the same time, through his son’s years of fighting and protesting we follow the history of the US regarding slavery, racism and the black man’s emancipation and equal rights. Reaching finally to the present day and the current resident of the White House.

It was a film that raises awareness and it made me realise that I take quite a few things for granted; like the  respect for  another person’s life no matter what the colour of their skin! It got me thinking of how difficult and hard it was for humanity to reach its present state, and acknowledge the obvious!

It is a very well made film; the actors are marvellous, the cast and the music is fantastic! It was an interesting and moving way to spend the evening.

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street

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Money money money…

From the moment I first saw the trailer of The Wolf of Wall Street I wanted to watch the film. So last night I went with my sister to the cinema. What I knew about the film was that all my male friends had loved it but all my girl friends didn’t exactly hate it but could not really stomach it; and we too felt the same.

Jordan Belfort, the wolf, is a stock broker who creates a brokerage firm, Stratton Oakmont. His firm is actually a boiler room where he has employed many stock brokers, more than just a pack of wolves, to manipulate and defraud investors. Leading a prodigal life full of drugs, alcohol, fancy cars, yachts, prostitutes, parties and spending millions of other people’s money he was caught eventually by the FBI.

I had the feeling that I had already seen something like that, Goodfellas or Casino. It just shows Jordan Belfort’s success and downfall without showing exactly how he felt; just scratches the surface. He must have been happy because he did what he wanted, he probably didn’t feel remorse for anything, he didn’t even seem tired! The drugs and the alcohol didn’t affect his system? I wonder! But maybe that is not the point of the movie. The point is to entertain and make the spectator feel something. So girls, since it is a three hour film, better wait for the DVD!

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