The Mauritanian (2021)

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Big Little Lies – Season Two (2019)

The stellar team of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, is back with the addition of the enigmatic Meryl Streep, who plays a delicate character, who is annoying, intrusive yet caring and concerned. It’s a difficult part to play but who better than her to brave it.

The principal cast is persistent on hiding what really happened at the end of Season 1, which plays out as different stresses for their characters. New truths are revealed as they navigate through their complex lives in their sleepy small town.

Excellent performances which culminate in an intense final episode.

Big Little Lies (2018)

Big Little Lies: The suspense was killing me. The plot was stifling me. Who did it?! Who was it? So many questions, with edits the speed of a race car, it keeps you guessing. Who is lying? Why are they lying? You will know soon enough. 7 episodes, with multiple story lines, all reach their conclusion and then you can finally breathe! Wonderful casting and immaculate performances by all, ranging from the 6 year old right to the adults. Worthy of a binge watch and all the awards it got.

The fault in our stars (2014)

Once in a while a movie comes along that touches you, awakens you, moves you, inspires you, resurrects a part of you that you thought was dead, so to say.

“Depression isn’t a side effect of cancer, it’s a side effect of dying.”

“The world isn’t a wish granting factory.”

Many such pearls of ‘infinite’ wisdom take you into an ‘oblivion’ of emotion. When a film transports you on to the very streets, skies, rivers and roads it shows, with thoughts of the depth, divinity and tragedy of love, you know it has worked on ALL levels. The love in question is not just between two people, but between parents and children, between friends, and the way it is captured is authentically real.

Two cancer ridden teens fall in love and traverse countries and each others hearts. I wanted to remember every detail, because I dreaded their fate. I wanted to live their lives even more fully, because it was going to pass them by, just like all of ours are. Their dislikes were mine and I celebrated their moments, playing a quiet witness to their fragile yet indefatigable existence.

The lead pair Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (of ‘Divergent’ fame) bring alive a morbid chemistry which is tinged with regret and a fighting spirit. Eulogies and romantic moments, gestures and wishes unfulfilled, they are every bit the brave sufferers we adore. Their best friend, Nat Wolff is candid, their parents are strong, the scenario is bleak but love somehow still blossoms and perseveres.

Young director Josh Boone has handled a complex story brilliantly. Based on the best selling book by John Green, it just added one more reader to its millions.

4/5

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Divergent (2014)

A post apocalyptic Chicago is divided into factions, based on human virtues. They are ‘Abnegation : selfless’, ‘Dauntless : brave’, ‘Erudite : Intelligent’, ‘Amity : peaceful’ and ‘Candor: honest’. While it would be impossible to divide a complex human race on such grounds, it has been done to control them and maintain peace.

Of course, everyone doesn’t fit neatly into the above. This is the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s first novel in her trilogy and makes an interesting watch especially for someone who hasn’t read the book. The beginning has an aftertaste of Harry Potter and its sorting ceremony, but quickly becomes far more riveting than a sorting hat putting you in a particular house.

It seems like a simple world, but disintegrates into similar patterns of power and politics, where one’s innate virtues are first used for them and later against them. The story is told via Beatrice’s (Shailene Woodley) journey, which is inspiring as well as predictable. She is supported by Four (Theo James), Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn and many others, who are restrained by a system which is utopian to say the least.

Kate Winslet makes a special powerful appearance, bringing a quality on screen which only she can. Director Neil Burger, who has made The Illusionist and Limitless, seems very much at home with the subject, weaving a believable world for us to experience.

Watch out for Insurgent and Allegiant which are already in pre-production.

3/5