Favourite Stories / February 2017

These are the stories I’ve enjoyed this month

Life, Animated

directed by Roger Ross Williams, based on the book by Ron Suskind

This film legitimizes the power of stories and childhood make believe. Through Disney, autistic boy Owen finds his voice and understands the world, and through Disney, we understand Owen. I love his perspective on life, and his championing of sidekicks. I am so grateful for how his parents supported him and encouraged his world. Beautiful, inspiring, and so wonderful.

A United Kingdom

directed by Amma Asante, screenplay by Guy Hibbert

THIS is how you fight for what matters. Our hero and heroine rebel in a matter-of-fact way that is built on the foundation of their utter belief in what they deserve: what the world deserves, and what they know they will get. Undoubtedly. Not because they are desperate, but because it matters. > Read my full review on IMDb


directed by Pablo Lorraín, screenplay by Noah Oppenheim

We have different ways of feeling affinity for stories, and how those stories are remembered beyond one’s lifetime is the core of this film. Jackie Kennedy has a sharp, perhaps unprecedented sense of legacy. During the week of her husband’s death we see her dealing with grief and a responsibility to her children, but above all, a responsibility to protect her husband’s legacy as President and historical figure in the making. > Read my full review on IMDb

Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

I put a call into the universe for the feminine version of The War of Art, and the universe gave me Big Magic. Pressfield acknowledges creative reality by embracing the struggle as legitimate while Gilbert liberates the need to suffer, be serious, or put too much importance on your work. My God am I grateful to have both of them. > Read my full review on Goodreads


directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, screenplay by Guillaume Laurant & Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This film explores how we define a person, introducing us to each character through their trivial likes and dislikes that in fact tell us more about those people than the typical questions we ask each other. It is a film of little things that make life magical when they are noticed. > Read my full review on IMDb

Manchester by the Sea

written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan

A devastating, haunting story set against the scenic seaside town, Manchester by the Sea captures the tension of a single person’s sense of obligation: to family, to himself, and to punish himself for his mistakes. This film feels like a novel, with each moment unfolding precisely, the story becoming apparent just a moment before its revelation.

A Prayer for Owen Meaney

by John Irving

This novel is like a massive puzzle; it fills in the big pieces first so you get a sense of the big picture, but all the little pieces fit perfectly too, not a detail wasted. Equally amusing and harrowing, A Prayer for Owen Meaney is about faith and friendship, exposing the absurdities of life. > Read my full review on Goodreads

What have you enjoyed lately? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. I’m so excited for Viggo Mortensen’s Oscar nod for Captain Fantastic, which I talked about here.

Favourite Stories / January 2017



La La Land

written and directed by Damien Chazelle

They don’t make movies like this anymore, except now they do. A beautiful, nostalgic revival of the Old Hollywood musical genre, updated with modern day themes of pursuing dreams, being a true artist, and getting in tune with your personal mission. All to a dreamy soundtrack, charming choreography, and vibrant dresses.

Someday, Someday Maybe

by Lauren Graham

A must-read for artists trying to find their way in the industry, Lauren Graham’s novel provides first-hand perspective on what it’s actually like to be a hardworking and talented actress building her career job by job. It’s about hope, drive, uncertainty, and the balance between art and work. Oh and did I mention there are Filofax pages embedded in the story?

Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X

Produced by CBS Television

For a while now Survivor has been a permanent fixture in my weekly schedule, and while I obsess over gameplay and strategy, this season in particular had a story that was so captivating it couldn’t have been scripted. Seasons like this restore my faith in reality tv.

Black Beauty

by Andy Manley, Andy Cannon and Shona Reppe for Traverse Theatre & Red Bridge

Heartwarming and clever, Black Beauty exemplifies the best kind of children’s theatre, in which the adults are just as entertained as the kids, and the kids are trusted with stories and concepts that don’t belittle their intelligence. This kind of theatre shows that technology doesn’t have to be 100% realistic to be appreciated; in fact, exercising our imaginations can be even more delightful.

I, Daniel Blake

directed by Ken Loach, screenplay by Paul Laverty

The most frustrating film I’ve seen in a while, for giving human faces and stories to poverty and the bureaucracy battles that come with seeking welfare. A truly important film for gaining perspective on the harrowing day-to-day reality of many overlooked people. 

Life Itself

directed by Steve James

The film that inspired these mini reviews in the first place! Roger Ebert is one of my favourite writers ever. This film about his career and the end of his life captures his pure passion for the cinema, and for writing. His reviews are magic in that he can acutely and plainly articulte how I feel about a film but couldn’t put to words. (available on Netflix)

What have you enjoyed lately? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. 25 Films to Watch Before Turning 25