Lady Bird (2017): This Remarkably Witty Coming-Of-Age Story Will Have You Fill The Six Inches Left Open For The Holy Spirit With Laughs And Tears (Review)

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Lady Bird | A24
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Lady Bird tells the story of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) as she maneuvers her way through the beloved high school experience and explores her various personal relationships with family, friends and college. The film also stars Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Lois Smith and is the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig.

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

There are certain films where you find yourself immersed entirely with everything occurring on screen and when it concludes, you’re left genuinely disappointed because you enjoyed it that much and are craving for more – Lady Bird is one of those movies. 

From the talented mind of actress and screenwriter Greta GerwigLady Bird starts at a high and continues through its 94 minute run time, providing witty quip after another and depicting compelling characters who are delightfully fleshed out. With a coming-of-age story set in a high school, filmmakers always run the risk of featuring tropey teen after stereotypical mean girl in a universe of perpetual eye-rolling courtesy of the out-of-touch adults who are dopey because the script calls for it. This film encompasses what I love about certain films of the genre (particularly Mean GirlsNapoleon Dynamite and The Edge Of Seventeen) and adds a new perspective through the eyes of Lady Bird (the name was given to her by her, in case you were wondering). 

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Lady Bird | A24

Referring to Lady Bird as simply “enjoyable” is doing it a major disservice. It encompasses virtually everything I want to see in this kind of movie: compelling characters, a simple story, witty dialogue, killer soundtrack/score and an overall feeling of… just… somethingSaoirse Ronan is perfect in this role. She works so unbelievably well with every single person in the film whether they are a vital component of it or the extraest of extras. Her camaraderie with Beanie Feldstein’s “Julie” and Feldstein’s incredible delivery of her sharp dialogue was delightful to watch. Laurie Metcalf gives a heartbreakingly spectacular performance as the matriarch of the McPherson household. There were a number of mother/daughter instances that resonated with me so hard. Lest we forget Tracy Letts’ portrayal of the remarkably sweet Larry McPherson. Lucas Hedges and this year’s breakout star of Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet, provided some stellar performances as well.

I also thoroughly appreciated the lack of monstrously exaggerated sequences that aren’t within the realm of belief. The moments of conflict feel real because these characters are so well written, you genuinely believe and sympathize with what has transpired. One particular moment actually had me cover my eyes because I was terrified at what was going to happen (it involved a friend telling someone they were coming over).

“Thank you, Greta Gerwig, for terrifying me more than many horror films can accomplish.”

I placed myself in the respective person’s shoes and wanted to shove my head into a computer because the embarrassment was overwhelming and it honestly wasn’t that big of a deal – That is what teenagehood is. Man, that’s what being a human is but particularly when you’re on the cusp of adulthood and want nothing more than to be accepted amongst your peers so the little white lies come out. Thank you, Greta Gerwig, for terrifying me more than many horror films can accomplish. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of Lady Bird?

Lady Bird‘s 2002 setting provides an interesting backdrop as there is a sense of simplicity to it since we’re still a few years away from total technological control, however this is a post-9/11 world. Like, a few months post. The societal innocence we became accustomed to was shattered with heightened security beginning to be implemented and the barrage of bombings occurring in the Middle East. The insanity the world was experiencing at the time is referenced in the quiet, sereneness that is Lady Bird.

Lady Bird | A24

For every threat of mind controlling chips in cell phones, there is a pool party where former *NSYNC member, Justin Timberlake’s modern classic “Cry Me A River” plays in the background. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. There isn’t anyone I’d want to experience it with (again) than Lady Bird. 

The film’s gorgeous-looking aesthetic is also positively wondrous. There truly isn’t a dull scene throughout its entire duration, I was genuinely enthralled with not only what the characters were saying but the mesmerizing cinematography that accompanied what was on screen. I had no idea what I was expecting with Lady Bird and what I got out of it was a phenomenally entertaining film that spoke to me entirely. 

Lady Bird | A24

If you’re looking for a sharply written coming-of-age film with characters you actually care about, check out Lady Bird.

Lady Bird receives a coveted 5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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featured image credit: a24

Justice League (2017): An Enjoyable Addition To The DCEU That Really Makes Me Crave More Wonder Woman (Review)

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[Credit: Warner Bros.[
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The League Of Extraordinary Justice follows a changed and inspired Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) as he enlists the help of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) and three other powerful beings to face Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), a great enemy looking for his Mother… Boxes. The film also stars Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams and is directed by Zack Snyder

My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

In a universe filled with flying robotic insects and costumed vigilantes,  I think the most unbelievable part of it is that the Kents still haven’t fully paid off that farm. It’s been in their family for like, a millennia. Did Pa Kent’s life insurance not cover intentional death by hurricane? 

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[Credit: Warner Bros.] | Tenor
Another day, another superhero film arrives that divides fan bases when all I ask is, can’t we all just get along? As I’ve mentioned throughout my various comic book film reviews, I am neither a Marvel or DC-stan. I like when an MCU installment showcases the muscly Thor utilizing his God-like powers set to “Immigrant Song”, I like when a DC movie illustrates the insane ass kicking abilities of Wonder Woman. I will say for Justice League, it is my second favourite DCEU movie behind this year’s unbelievably phenomenal Patty Jenkins’-directed Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot has grown on me throughout her 3 appearances as the Princess of Themyscira (Batman V Superman and WW being the other two) and I honestly found myself waiting for the next scene featuring her or some other Amazonian entity. I enjoyed Gadot’s performance in Justice League despite there being certain moments where she had a frozen stern look on her face or the instances where an atrociously obvious CG green screen is featured in the background. 

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[Credit: WB] | Tenor
Battfleck was around as the spearheader of the Justice League. Affleck read his lines accordingly and had a few quick quips, he really gave the embodiment of a serviceable performance. The new members of the League, Barry Allen/Flash (Miller), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Fisher) and Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Momoa) were welcome additions. The Flash’s frequent hesitation to enter battle was hysterical, Miller absolutely crushed it in the role. Fisher portrayed the Cyborg with a chip on his shoulder effectively; I don’t want to say it was a “robotic” performance because that’d be too easy but it was relatively robotic.

Jason Momoa + his gorgeous locks appear as Aquaman and while I enjoyed him as the character, there was one specific sequence involving his underwater world of Atlantis wherein he spoke with a fellow Aquaperson that was just… Not very good. Momoa is clearly a powerful presence on screen (as seen during his run on Game Of Thrones) so hopefully his performance is a bit more endearing in his James Wan-directed standalone set for release next December. 

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[Credit: WB] | Tenor
Steppenwolf, portrayed by the fantastically brilliant Julius Caesar Ciaran Hinds, uttered as many generic villainous catchphrases as possible, it became thoroughly entertaining after awhile. I do like how they connected S-Wolf to the other Leaguers(?) Is that the proper terminology? However, the visually muddled vomit that were he and his cronies every time they appeared on screen became a bit tiresome. 

As far as the actual getting together of the crew, I thought it was executed effectively. My favourite getting-a-crew-together sequence hails from the 2001 Steven Soderbergh masterwork, Ocean’s Eleven so when these kinds of plot devices come about, I usually wonder how it would hypothetically stack up against Ocean’s. Of course, I wouldn’t dismiss another film because it doesn’t exactly fit the brilliant mold of what Ocean’s did, I’m not a cinephilic psychopath. Batfleck did his thing, trying his best to monotonously convince other people to save the world (a common occurrence seen in many modern superhero films… JUST HOW OFTEN IS THE WORLD IN IMMINENT DOOM FROM OTHERWORLDLY CREATURES?!) Every character had their respective reservations (or not) and it was satisfying seeing them all ultimately come together. 

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[Credit: WB] | Tenor
I do wish there was more of a dynamic between the crew. Every cast member seems to have a smashing good time together during interviews and such (Sadfleck moments not including) that didn’t really translated within the film. Their chemistry fell sort of flat for the most part. There were definitely sequences, however, where I felt the genuine chemistry/camaraderie building between them – A specific one involving the Lasso Of Truth was frigging brilliant

How Were The Other Aspects Of Justice League

The technical components of the film are where it gets kind of hairy. It’s definitely more aesthetically pleasing than what was seen in previous DC incarnations like Suicide Squad or BvS, however there were glaringly obvious moments where you knew the cast was wandering around a sound stage a la the Prequels. Also… That Henry Cavill upper lip/mustache work. Yowza.

It was nice seeing Cavill’s Superman smile and throw the charm on for just a split second, something I hope we see more of as the DCEU trudges along, ie. Henry Cavill’s Superman actually enjoying where he’s at for a moment or two. It’s been said ad nauseam but Cavill is a remarkably charismatic human being (see: 2015’s The Man From UNCLE) so witnessing the few quips he makes in Justice League was a breath of fresh air in this predominately grim and brooding cinematic universe.

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[Credit: WB] | Tenor
If this film is any indication, future DCEU additions may veer away from its typical darker tone and strive to create a balance between the bleak/dreary and light/humourous. Justice League isn’t as “ha ha!” as something like Thor: Ragnarok but it does know when to hit you with certain quips and when to just let the scene play out. As with any CBM, there are certain jokes you can spot coming a parsec away, not to mention predicting some of the regular dialogue as well.

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[Credit: WB]

If you’ve generally been a bit “meh” when it comes to watching DCEU properties (except for Wonder Woman ofc), you may be in for a pleasant surprise with Justice League 

Justice League receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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featured image credit: WB

Tenor Has All You Need To Satisfy Your Gif Cravings

Like every other real human bean on the planet, I love me a good gif. Tenor.com has virtually any gif you desire at the simple click of a mouse or the touch of your finger on a mobile device.

I was recently contacted by them to utilize some of their killer Justice League gifs for this review and I’m now officially obsessed with perusing through its vast catalo–

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[Credit: WB] | Tenor

Alrighty then!

As I always occasionally say, why communicate with words when a trusty gif will do the job with pizzazz?! Make sure to check out Tenor for all your gif needs. 


What are your thoughts on Justice League?

Are you intrigued to see more from the DCEU or are you essentially over it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

“We’re Not In This Life For Peace”: How An Episode Of ‘The Golden Girls’ Encouraged Me To Hold On When I Needed It Most

“You wanted me to be here for your death, how about letting me be here for your life?”

Sitcom classic The Golden Girls aired on NBC during the height of the sitcom boom from 1985-1992 and featured the hysterical musings of four stellar women: Dorothy (Bea Arthur), Blanche (Rue McClanahan), Rose (Betty White) and Sophia (Estelle Getty). These fictional characters felt like real, complex individuals with their own distinct personalities, providing frequent bouts of hilarity that kept fans entertained for 180 episodes.

While there are many examples of TV shows that would fall into the discussion of greatest sitcom properties, I would place The Golden Girls in the top-tier realm and personally refer to it as my No. 1 favorite sitcom of all time. Besides the obvious comedic aspects, there were occasional episodes that dealt with the more taboo subjects of the time (and some that are even considered taboo today). From adultery to homosexuality to deportation, The Golden Girls never shied away from focusing on these issues – One particular episode stands out to me the most from its fifth season.

The One Where Sophia’s Friend Wants Her There When She Commits Suicide

Season 5, Episode 7, titled “Not Another Monday” tackled the issue of suicide and what choice one has when a friend wants you there when they take their life. This episode focused on Sophia’s friend, Martha Lamont, a woman who believes that she can no longer stand the pain and loneliness of her physical world, choosing to end her life by her own hand rather than waiting for any more sicknesses to afflict her. In her own words, she doesn’t “want to see another Monday.”

As Sophia struggles with the ethical and moral obligations of her dear friend’s request, the B plot centered around Dorothy, Blanche and Rose caring for a newborn while her parents were away. The episode contains one of the funniest moments of the entire series: the three women attempt to calm the baby down by performing “Mr. Sandman” totally a capella. Watch it below:

(It’s no coincidence the writers decided to place the paralleling story lines of birth and death in this one episode, and I love them for it.)


Let me give you some background of my relationship with the show and delve into some personal territory of where I was in my life a few years back:

For A Number Of Years, I Was Lost

In 2010, my dear grandma passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Prior to her final night, we would visit her on a daily basis, and I would always arrive home just in time to catch a syndicated episode of The Golden Girls. It comforted me watching these older women in the prime of their lives. I needed some sort of escape for that half an hour.

My grandma’s death hit me hard and continued to stay with me even as I entered university – The years spent in post-secondary was one of the most difficult times of my entire life. For the first 4 years of attempting to get my Bachelor’s (I finally graduated in my fifth year with a BA in English) I struggled with virtually every aspect of what was going on in my life at the time:
  • The Financial (“Am I able to afford this class?” “God, I don’t want to look at my financial statement right now… Maybe if I ignore it, it’ll go away?”)
  • The Course Load (“When were we assigned this?” “Is this syllabus for this class or..?”)
  • The Future (“Why am I even in school right now?” “Maybe I can take a year or three off and everyone will forget I was enrolled in the first place…”)

A myriad of personal problems just hovered over me and made me sympathize with Sisyphus (that Greek figure you’ve heard of whose best friend is a boulder for all eternity). I would have honestly done whatever it took to be able to pick up the phone and call my grandmother. Just to hear her voice would calm me down when I needed it the most.

I refused to tell anybody about my struggles; I thought it would be better to keep it in and occasionally have a nice cry in bed at 2am when my hourly you-aren’t-going-anywhere-in-life thoughts popped into my head. While I never specifically had suicidal thoughts, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t sporadic instances where I briefly thought, “I mean, what if I just don’t wake up tomorrow morning? Like I want to wake up, obviously, but… just what would it be like to not have to deal with this anymore?”

Why This TV Episode Means So Much To Me

When I was home alone one night, I suddenly felt the urge to watch an episode of The Golden Girls. There were probably exams or something going on that had me at the peak of my anxiety.

The episode was “Not Another Monday” and my jaw dropped when I heard Martha ask Sophia to be present during her suicide. She seemed happy and so sure of herself that she didn’t want to live to see another day. Watching Sophia (who reminded me way too much of my grandma, by the way) reminisce with Martha by pleading for her to “remember life” stung me. Sophia reminded her (and, by extension, me) that “we’re not in this life for peace” when Martha reasons that their departed friend Lydia looked so peaceful at her funeral.

Hard-as-nails and badass Sophia Petrillo had tears in her eyes as she attempted to convince Martha that this wasn’t her time. An exasperated Martha reveals the loneliness she feels on a constant basis, and — after Sophia’s pleas and vow to invite her over to the bustling Golden Girl abode — Martha states, “I don’t know what to do.”

The following line is what stuck with me then, and continues to stick with me now:

“That’s the point, if you’re not sure, you can’t change your mind tomorrow.”

While the entire above sequence makes me tear up, that quote convinced me to keep a laser focus on the finish line regardless of how far away that damn, stupid line seemed to be – “School isn’t forever; these struggles I have aren’t forever; those who care about me would want me to hold on with everything I have because I will come out of the putrid funk I happen to be in at this moment.”

I’m now a university graduate, continuing my writing and gradually dabbling in Toronto real estate (because I just love having clients irritated with me). This is a story and an experience I have courtesy of a TV show from the 1980s.

To conclude in the most cheesy way possible: thank you for being a friend!

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[Credit: NBC]

What TV shows have meant the most to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thor: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Ragnarok (2017) (Review)

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[Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney]
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Thor: Ragnarok follows an imprisoned Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he must battle his way through a gladiatorial competition and Jeff Goldblum’s handsomeness in order to return to an Asgard on the brink of destruction courtesy of his long, lost sister Hela (Cate Blanchett). The film also stars Tom Hiddleston, Tessa Thompson, Mark Ruffalo, Idris Elba and Karl Urban and is directed by Taika Waititi (What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt For The Wilderpeople).


Captain Obvious PSA here: If you have a beautiful, bouncing baby in your possession, for the love of all that is holy please don’t bring it into a movie theatre auditorium. 


My Thoughts On The Characters And Story

Thor: Ragnarok is easily my favourite Thor film out of the current 3, if they somehow managed to include the Queen Natalie Portman (and actually give her something to work with) it could have possibly been my favourite comic book film of the year (I’m still torn between Logan and Wonder Woman on that front). Utilizing the natural charisma Chris Hemsworth has and allowing him to demonstrate it in Ragnarok was one of the best decisions Marvel could’ve made. While Thor has been more of the stern, stoic Avenger for the past few film installments, Ragnarok’s Thor is the embodiment of charm. Hemsworth works so unbelievably well with every single person in this film, it’s such a delight to witness. You can feel the joy of every actor when they appear on screen and when they’re having fun, you’re having fun. Unfortunately, this fun became a bit tedious at times. 

You’ve heard/read time and time again that Thor: Ragnarok is… fun! It’s a fun… fun ride, it’s a whole bunch of fun times at the movies and don’t get me wrong, it is. In terms of the humour component of it, I found myself chuckling at times when the dialogue was written effectively and the delivery was brilliant, however the one type of humour that I feel a bit of disdain for is when the prolongation of a joke occurs. By this, I mean a joke that is said and then the next 15 or 20 solid seconds are spent with the characters remaining in silence, looking around at each other and/or the room they’re in- I hate this shit. There are always exceptions to every rule so of course there are one or two examples in the film world where this is executed hysterically and it’s the funniest moment of the respective movie, in Ragnarok, certain humour components went on for so long it became eye-roll inducing at times. The entire cast is thankfully blessed with some wickedly smaht charisma so it wasn’t a torturous experience, however it definitely felt like everyone was anticipating the next ha ha! moment. 

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[Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney]
Tessa Thompson was the biggest standout for me besides Hemsworth. From the moment this powerful entity drunkenly staggered onto the screen (and that GLORIOUS Valkyrie flashback, oh my word) I was infatuated. I felt the strongest emotional connection with her and the other Queen of the screen, Cate mf’ing Blanchett. After learning about her through every one of  her expository moments, I sympathized with her. Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins) was a jerk. She may have had violent tendencies in her youth, however she contributed to the formation of Asgard because she is a dominating force on the battlefield. Hate the player, do not. Hate the game. She can terrify the God of thunder and demolished Mjolner, a notion that is unheard of from any villain in the MCU thus far. While I would’ve liked to see more of her – preferably not monologuing her background – everything she did, I loved. 

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[Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney]
Is there ever a time when Mark Ruffalo isn’t an unbelievably endearing presence on screen? Ragnarok did a terrific job in making me hyped to see more Thor in the upcoming Infinity War because I really wasn’t a big Thor fan in the past. As Phase 4 (this is four, right?) slowly concludes, hopefully we see more of Thompson in the MCU future within Phase # Whatever-Phase-Marvel-Wants-To-Shoot. 

How Were The Other Aspects Of Thor: Ragnarok?

As someone who could listen to anything synth-related for the rest of my life, I cannot commend Ragnarok enough for its absolute killer soundtrack and score. Firstly, I consider using Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” as kind of cheating because that song can make even the most mundane of activities seem remarkably epic but I digress, the utilization of this song is virtually perfect. There is also a “Pure Imagination” sequence that is… SO. GOOD.

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[Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney]
I avoided as many trailers as I could have for the film (except for that initial spectacular teaser trailer) and following my watch, granted myself the opportunity to check them all out. I’ve been listening to the following tune that was used in another trailer and it is an incredibly enjoyable experience watching these other worldly beloved characters having space battles while the pulsating synth booms in the background. 

The film’s aesthetic is gorgeous and offers a ton for the audience to feast their eyes on. The colourful garbage planet of Sakaar is run by Goldblum’s streak of glittery blue lipstick and is home to many interesting-looking characters who are probably descendants of the “Dink Dinks” from Spaceballs

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[Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney]

Thor: Ragnarok receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.

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Labyrinth (1986)

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Didymus: Well, if that’s the way it is done, then that’s the way you must do it.


Starring: Jennifer Connelly as Sarah Williams, David Bowie as Jareth, Toby Froud as Toby Williams, Brian Henson as Hoggle & Goblin, dir. Jim Henson.

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Cinematographer: Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim)
cinemagraph source: orbo
Labyrinth Distributor: sony pictures

‘Alias Grace’ Is A Must-Watch For Fans Of Complex Protagonists & Compelling Storytelling

With the state of the world being what it is today, escapism through Margaret Atwood television properties seems to be the only form of solace we have.

This year’s spectacularly executed The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu recently swept at the Emmys and another Atwood adaption is on the horizon at another monstrous streaming service. Alias Grace is the novel every high schooler was tasked to read and its small screen adaptation shares a similarity with its Hulu counterpart in that it’s one of the best executed shows you will watch this year. The six-part miniseries aired weekly for Canadians on CBC and is currently available for a 6 hour binge globally on Netflix.

Alias Grace tells the story of Grace Marks, a young, poor Irish immigrant and domestic servant living in Upper Canada during the 19th century who finds herself accused of murdering her employer and his housekeeper. Grace insists she has no memory of the murders, however she is ultimately convicted and imprisoned at Kingston Penitentiary. The miniseries features American doctor, Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) who is commissioned with writing a report on her following a sequence of interviews where she shares her experiences leading up to and following her conviction.

Producer and writer of all six episodes, Sarah Polley, has been a fan of Grace Marks since the novel’s original release over 20 years ago and describes why she views her as “endlessly fascinating“:

“She conveyed her experience with this gallows [humor] and ladylike poise at the same time. You could never figure out how aware she was of herself; whether she was a brilliant mastermind or completely innocent was always a mystery.”

 

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[Credit: Netflix]

This underlying question of deception is exactly where the intrigue of this slow-burning series flourishes – is Grace Marks an innocent pawn suffering at the hands of those around her or is there a more insidious part of her we’re not seeing? As Grace relays the memories she chooses to relay with Dr. Jordan and the viewer sympathizes with her plight, there is still an inkling of suspicion present because of the doubts of those around her… Not to mention, the double murder conviction doesn’t really help her case.

Everyone’s favorite narrative technique, the unreliable narrator, is implemented brilliantly in Alias Grace as you’re given the word of a murderess in the eyes of the law to progress the story. You’re occasionally reminded that a proper investigation with science and hard facts were simply nonexistent during the time so although that label of “murderess” is hung over her head, as a viewer in 2017 you’re somewhat conflicted as to whether Grace is the criminal many believe her to be. This back and forth inner struggle is only heightened by the spectacular performances by virtually everyone in the series and gorgeous Canadian landscape that makes Alias Grace a must watch.

Can You Trust Grace Marks? Sarah Gadon’s Perfect Portrayal Makes It Difficult Not To

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[Credit: Netflix]
Fellow Toronto-native Sarah Gadon has been in the acting game for years, most notably starring alongside James Franco in last year’s Hulu miniseries, 11.22.63. She has also starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy and is a frequent collaborator with David Cronenberg, appearing in such films as A Dangerous Method, Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars. While she’s appeared in a number of mainstream flicks including Dracula Untold and The Amazing Spiderman 2, Gadon has seemingly excelled in smaller, more intimate roles that require her to test out every facet of her acting capabilities.

“Gadon further cements her place in the club of Canadian royalty”

With her phenomenal portrayal of Grace Marks under her belt, Gadon further cements her place in the club of Canadian royalty which boasts an impressive list of names including the Goddesses of music, Celine Dion & Shania Twain, and our 2 favorite Ryans, Gosling & Reynolds.

Legions of novel fans may already have some kind of idea as to who they believe Grace Marks is and what her live-action portrayal should contain. In my humble opinion and as a fan of the novel, Gadon excels at whatever preconceived beliefs one may have about the character. Her keen ability at expressing the most subtle of nuances is simply mesmerizing, particularly during the sequences where there is only Grace and Dr. Jordan present. As she rarely blinks when discussing her experiences, the audience is left with feeling a sense of entrapment because you are fixated on her eyes. No matter how much you try to look away, you are locked in completely which is a major testament to Gadon’s ability.

The importance of featuring the perfect Grace cannot be overlooked, if the audience doesn’t believe they are watching Grace Marks, everything will fall apart. Gadon’s performance captivates you from start to finish and working alongside a roster of talented costars is certainly a huge plus.

The Various Familiar Faces Are An Added Delight

Throughout Alias Grace, I found myself occasionally thinking “wait… is that who I think it is?” The inclusion of the following famous faces only enhanced the enjoyment of my watch particularly because they were doing such a fantastic job in their respective roles.

Zachary Levi as Jeremiah Dupont

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[Credit: CBC]
Best known for his role as Chuck Bartowski in the NBC series Chuck, Zachary Levi stars as Jeremiah Dupont, a handsome peddler who has an affinity with carrying around enormous trunks. As a huge fan of his geekcentric series (during Halloween when I was in grade 11, I came to school dressed as Chuck in full Nerd Herd gear), seeing him with a beard initially threw me off. He portrays the travelling salesman with such charisma, you’re left wanting to go on adventures with him yet remain hesitant because this is clearly not a feasible way of life for a family.

Anna Paquin as Nancy Montgomery

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[Credit: Netflix]
Anna Paquin portrayed the sweetly Southern, vampire-loving Sookie Stackhouse on HBO’s True Blood for seven seasons. Paquin manages to possess the perfect amount of friendliness with ruthlessness in her role as Nancy Montgomery, the woman whose bonnet is full of secrets. You’re constantly wondering what the nature of her relationship is with the Master of the Household, Thomas Kinnear, and are left fascinated by the various revelations made by Grace.

Paul Gross as Thomas Kinnear

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[Credit: Netflix]
Every Canadian mother’s hunk o’ burnin’ love, Paul Gross, has matured into a silver-haired fox who, like virtually every other character in the series, harbors a sinisterness about him that makes it difficult to trust his hunky wiles. Just as needing a credible actress to portray Grace Marks is crucial for the success of the series, Thomas’ relationship with Nancy is integral to its believability factor. Thankfully both Gross and Paquin work incredibly well off each other, ultimately adding to what is already an incredibly enjoyable watch.

Margaret Atwood’s Cameo

And, of course, the Hitchcockian-esque cameo made by Queen Atwood herself. She also appeared in the pilot episode of The Handmaid’s Tale so she clearly can’t stay away from the recent adaptations of her brilliant works (not that we’re complaining). For those wondering which episode of Alias Grace the veteran author makes a brief appearance in, look no further than below:

Atwood is spotted in Episode 4 as an “outraged” church-going woman who is clearly not a fan of Grace and co.

Ensure Alias Grace Is On Your Must-Watch List

With some undeniably brilliant talent both in front of and behind the camera, Alias Grace is the perfect watch for fans of character-driven stories that want to be challenged by these complicated characters. As a Canadian and lover of fantastic TV, I consider it my patriotic duty to suggest works that tick those specific boxes, something this miniseries accomplishes and then some.

Every episode of Alias Grace is available to stream on Netflix.

Will you be watching Alias Grace? Let me know in the comments below!