Are you in the mood for a little G. K. Chesterton? I enjoyed reading “The Man Who Was Thursday” a few years ago (see my book review here), but I am enjoying Geoffrey Palmer’s reading of it even more! For a limited time, you can listen to it for free on BBC Radio 4.
Tag Archives: suspense
Version: 2012; Daniel Day-Lewis; Tommy Lee Jones; Sally Fields; David Strathairn; Lee Pace; Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Genre: historical drama
Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] “As the Civil War continues to rage, America’s president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.”
My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not be comparing it to that work. Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.
I remember reading high praise for this movie when it first came out. Actually, I believe I had my eye on it when it was first announced it was in the making, and Daniel Day-Lewis was cast in the role of Abraham Lincoln. The similarities between their looks are amazing, but would the movie do history and the man himself justice?
Oh wow. I can’t begin to tell you about the amount of research that went into the creating of this film. I would love to know more about the ‘making of’ it. I do know that the actors and actresses really gave this one their all and went into full-depth character to accurately portray these historical people. Day-Lewis in particular researched Lincoln’s mannerisms, way of walking, speech, and voice in order to become him.
I am not so steeped in Civil War history as to know how many facts in this movie are correct, but I do know that it was inspired by the thoroughly researched book, “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The author worked closely on the making of the film as well.
Acting is top-notch. I really felt as though I were viewing a fragment of my country’s history, and that felt exciting. Even though I knew how history played out, this movie caused me to doubt for a little bit what would happen. The behind-the-scenes politics of history made for a tense plot and kept me on the edge of my seat. In fact, it was so identifiable in this day and age and maybe that’s why I felt nervous for what would happen.
One drawback of the film is that many of the historical facts presented escaped me in one viewing. I will definitely need to rewatch it to glean more from it. Because of this, I felt somewhat confused and didn’t understand some of the plot structure.
However, I did learn a lot about the genius of Abraham Lincoln. I’ve always had the impression that he was so morally simple as to be sort of uninteresting. Not so! This man had a talent given to him by God that he used in the time and position he was placed in. He was an absolute chess-master at politics, but had a core of integrity that kept him straight and true. I believe watching this shed some light for me in deciding how to vote this past presidential election. It also caused me to love a person I’ve never met, and left to wonder why God would allow such a man who did so much good and suffered greatly for it, to die at the hands of an assassin so soon after victory was achieved.
My favorite scene is near the end, with the singing of “Battle Cry of Freedom.” It was so inspiring, and caused me to be grateful to God for His working in our country’s history. When’s the last time you felt excited about history?
A new year; what will it bring? Curiosity, intrigue and surprises are in store for us this winter with these books!
Escape from Colditz, by P. R. Reid ~ This book has long been on my mom’s shelf. She and I share the same interest in stories of WWII, including POW experiences and especially escape attempts! I remember the Steve McQueen film The Great Escape was a favorite of mine from around age 8. So of course this was on my reading list! The problem was that I was confused because it goes by several different titles, has different editions, sequels, compilations—which do I choose to read? As it turns out, I wish that I had gone with Reid’s later edition, “Colditz: The Full Story”. His first history of Colditz was written a mere few years after his experiences and he did not have more details until much later. I will be getting my hands on that version [as well as several films on it], but yet I can recommend these books by Reid because they make for great reading. Reid appears to keep a light “stiff upper lip” attitude toward his captivity, yet I’m sure things were rougher when suffering the reality. I originally thought this would be a detailing one large escape attempt, rather like the one from the famous Stalag Luft III (The Great Escape, by Paul Brickhill). Instead, I quickly found it to be a narration of the author’s experiences at the fortress Colditz and the numerous failed and successful escapes made from there. More like Hogan’s Heroes though much more serious, real, and dangerous. The prisoners’ innovativeness, and ability to laugh and create entertainment even in a sparse atmosphere was enjoyable to read. No matter how many avenues were thought of, tried, discovered, foiled and so on, they could always come back with another idea to escape. Reid said there were basically two types of prisoners—those who succumbed to their imprisonment, and those who could deal with the depression that accompanied it and so put all their energy toward escape plans. Which one would you be?
A Curious Faith, by Logan Wolfram ~ I’m still finishing up the last chapters of this book, but it certainly has come to me at the right time. I’m immediately drawn to any book with the word ‘curious’ in the title (for obvious reasons), but add the topic of Christianity on top of that and I’m all in! I have been gleaning so much from it and copying out large passages of quotes. This definitely is a great book to start the new year off right. Worry, waiting, fear, control, decision making, spiritual dryness, and disappointment are a part of every human’s life. But in the context of a curious following after God, how do we deal with these everyday things well? How do we endure and trust with joy and childlike faith? I think if you have these questions, you will enjoy author Logan Wolfram. She writes simply yet eloquently. She has really helped to make has certain Scripture come alive for me. I can’t wait to finish this and highly recommend it to my sisters (or even brothers) in Christ!
Version: 2008; starring David Suchet.
Plot Summary: [from IMDb:] “A pair of photographs are the only clues that Poirot has to solve the murder of a village charwoman, and to prove the innocence of the victim’s lodger.”
My Review: To be honest, it’s been a long time since I read this particular Poirot mystery. I remember it had a lot of female characters, and it was the first time I had read anything where the character Ariadne Oliver made an appearance. I also remember I enjoyed the mystery a lot, because it featured a common storytelling technique of Christie’s, which is to involve a mystery with roots beginning far back decades ago and the detective must piece together how the current generation of characters are affiliated with the past. I couldn’t recall the details, however, such as who was killed, who had done it or why.
This is one of the more recent Poirot productions starring David Suchet, compared with when they first started filming them in the 1980’s. The quality of it is very good, and I loved the creepy atmosphere of the film! The period set contributed heavily to this, along with a swirl of yellowed dead leaves, and the signature Poirot music. Love, love, love it!
Another thing I appreciated was that this murder mystery wasn’t gorey and it didn’t make me feel too uncomfortable. On the flip side, it could also be considered predictable. I cannot verify if it stayed true to the book, but to the best of my memory I believe it was for the most part. Poirot was his lovable old self, and the new role of Ms. Oliver (played by Zoe Wanamaker) was totally convincing as the Agatha Christie-herself-inspired character.
This movie makes for great autumn entertainment, so grab a comfy blanket, slippers, and hot cocoa, and have fun some evening! 🙂