Julianne Moore Oscar Won She Now Delights As “Gloria Bell”

via https://bust.com/movies/195736-gloria-bell-review.html

 

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Gloria Bell
Co-written and directed by Sebastián Lelio
Out March 8      

It’s rare to see a movie with a middle-aged woman as its protagonist, much less a joyous, hopeful one who laughs and dances and has hot sex with other middle-aged people—but Gloria Bell is here to fill that gap. Julianne Moore stars as Gloria, a bespectacled office professional who can’t resist a dance floor, a dinner party, or a date with John Turturro’s Arnold, a tender fellow divorcé. That’s not to say that Gloria’s life is all wine, roses, and laughing yoga. But Gloria is trying really, really hard, and you have to admire her heart even when she stumbles.

At first, it’s unclear whether audiences are supposed to be laughing at or with Gloria, but soon it becomes clear that co-writer/director Sebastián Lelio (A Fantastic Woman, Disobedience) and Alice Johnson Boher (who wrote the adapted screenplay) have nothing but love for their heroine. Moore is endlessly watchable, and she’s joined by a veritable who’s who of supporting talent, including Rita Wilson, Holland Taylor, Brad Garrett, Sean Astin, and Michael Cera, in addition to Turturro’s fantastic and infuriating Arnold. Ultimately, it’s hard not to sing and dance along with Gloria, not despite her struggles, but because they make her—and all of us—gloriously human. 5/5

By Jenni Miller
Top photo via FilmNation Entertainment
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

 

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Ellen Terry and Edith Craig – Mother-Daughter Duo who Challenged Ideas About Women In Early 1900s

via https://bust.com/entertainment/195735-ellen-terry-edith-craig.html

 

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Here at F Yeah History, we love women who boss at everything. Be it literature, politics, art, employment, activism – the two women you’re going to read about next had it ALL.

Star of the stage Ellen Terry and her thespian daughter, Edith Craig, were two of the jazziest, energetic, and engaging characters of the early 20th century. From defying social norms to sticking it to theatre censorship laws, Ellen and Edith shook up the world they lived in, and everybody they met along the way.

Hooked? Good. Let’s start with the mother…

IF YOU’RE A FAN OF SHAKESPEARE, YOU’LL KNOW HE WROTE SOME CRACKING LEADING LADIES. PORTIA, KATHERINE, VIOLA, SYLVIA, AND WHO COULD FORGET BEATRICE, QUEEN OF WIT AND SASS?

They’ve been portrayed on stage and screen over the past five hundred years, but never with quite as much wow factor as when Britain’s best loved stage actress, Ellen Terry performed them.

ellen terry as lady macbeth 0d79dD-R-A-M-A: Ellen as a stonkingly scary Lady Macbeth, painted by John Singer Sargent

And if you want a quick summary of how much Britain loved Ellen Terry, then here it is in a little poem written for her:

‘Britain’s pride,
The genius of the stage personified,
Queen-like, pathetic, tragic, contemporary, merry,
O rare, O sweet, O Wondrous Ellen Terry.’

Ellen Terry lived a dramatic life on and off the stage. Born to a family of performers, she became a child actress and grew up on the stage, before joining the Theatre Royal at Bristol and becoming famous for her depiction of Shakespearean heroines. 

BUT it all went a bit wobbly when Ellen turned sixteen, and married George Fredric Watts, a renowned artist, for whom she had once modelled. Watts was 46 at the time – 30 years her senior! – and the marriage was doomed (again…she was 16!), lasting less than a year.

Ellen returned to the stage, often alongside Henry Irving (who apparently inspired the looks for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, don’t you know). Henry and Ellen’s relationship was intense, and passionate; they partnered in productions for decades. 

Ellen was also close to George Bernard Shaw, exchanging letters with him for most of her life. There was even a play written about their letters! Shaw referred to their relationship as a courtship by letters, and wrote to her, in one:

‘Do you read these jogged scrawls, I wonder. I think of your poor eyes, and resolve to tear what I have written up: then I look out at the ghostly country and the beautiful night, and I cannot bring myself to read a miserable book…Yes, as you guess, Ellen, I am having a bad attack of you just at present. I am restless; and a man’s restlessness always means a woman; and my restlessness means Ellen.’

I’d say I felt sorry for his wife, but their relationship was pretty weird already…

But enough about the men. Ellen loved a romance, yes, but her career remained extraordinary. 

She was unable to resist stage life, though this was sometimes for financial reasons.

Even after giving birth to her two children with Edward Godwin (who she had eloped with but didn’t actually marry), she returned to acting and slayed across theatres in the U.K., U.S.A., and Australia.

picture 1 25552The Terry/Craig/Godwin fam: Terry and her children, Edward and Edith

Ellen was adored by legions of fans, and became the muse to many directors and playwrights. Her performance of Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice was world-renowned, and in her later years, she successfully toured the U.S., delivering lectures on the Bard himself.

Ellen’s children travelled with her as she toured the world, and as she grew older, her daughter Edith managed her career. 

Born Edith Godwin, she was keen to distance herself from her illegitimacy…and thus, Edith Craig was born! 

Ellen’s star may have eclipsed all others, but her daughter lived an colourful, unique, and inspiring life equal, if not greater, than her mother did.

terry craig 237b9The ultimate stage parent!

Starting on the stage at a young age, Edith acted, like her mother, with Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, and in the plays of her mum’s pen pal, George Bernard Shaw. 

But she wasn’t going to be an actress, oh no! Edith took a very different theatrical direction. Inspired by the radical movers and shakers that surrounded her, Edith set up a new theatre company, the Pioneer Players. 

In a move to end censorship in performing arts, Edith and the Pioneer Players, well, did what it said on the tin. They put on plays that had been previously banned – plays about social reform, humanists; and, unsurprisingly, feminism.

Because what cause was flourishing at the time of the Pioneer Players? Women’s suffrage, of course!

Now, Edith was already pretty indoctrinated into the women’s suffrage movement, having attended a forward-thinking school with a pro-suffrage teaching staff, as she said:

“When I was at school I lived in a house of Suffrage workers, and at regular periods the task of organising Suffrage petitions kept everybody busy. Perhaps I didn’t think very deeply about it, and my first ideas of Suffrage duties were concerned with the interminable addressing of envelopes; but I certainly grew up quite firmly certain that no self-respecting woman could be other than a Suffragist.”

Edith was a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, but soon left in protest at the Pankhursts’ autocratic rule and joined the Women’s Freedom League with other suffrage bigwigs, including Teresa Billington-Greig and Charlotte Despard. 

As theatre became even more prolific in the suffrage world, with plays by Ciecly Hamilton and Elizabeth Robins depicting pro-suffrage and feminist narratives, in 1908 Edith became instrumental, along with her fellow actresses, artists and playwrights, in forming the Actresses’ Franchise League. 

Apart from bearing one of the most gorgeous suffrage banners of all time (don’t @ me), the AFL didn’t use tradition campaigning tactics, but used performance as propaganda. The organization grew and got stronger, thanks to Edith’s strong, organizational mad skills.

Edith dedicated her life to challenging, questioning, and fighting social norms. With the drama and passion that her mother applied onstage, Edith applied it to fighting injustice and inequality. 

She openly lived in a ménage-a-trois with playwright Christabel Marshall (known as Christopher St John) and artist Clare Atwood, to which her brother said was a result of her “hatred of men” (really original, Edward, round of applause to you). 

Edith was a wee bit of a battle-axe; she was hard-faced and uncharismatic, unlike her mother, who once said she was too afraid to kiss her own daughter, she hated affection so much. 

Despite this revulsion for PDA and hugs, Edith was absolutely dedicated to her mother. 

She lived next door to Smallhythe, Ellen’s country house – although out of hatred for Ellen’s third husband, she built a hedge between their houses so she never had to see him, quite literally.  

When Ellen died, she transformed the house into a museum so that her mother’s memory would be preserved forever, and the story of her stardom would shine on. Though she was estranged from her brother (who was the father of Isadora Duncan’s daughter…), she continued to share the story their family’s life, dominated by their mother, by going into partnership with an organization dedicated to saving stories of then nation…the National Trust. She died in 1947. Right up to her death, she flaunted social conventions, and lived life the way she wanted to. 

Just like her mother.

This article originally appeared on F Yeah History and is reprinted here with permission.

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“Gingerbread” By Helen Oyeyemi – Review of a Sombre Story of Family, Community, and Quality

via https://bust.com/books/195723-gingerbread-is-a-deliciously-dark-tale-of-family-friendship-and-class.html

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Gingerbread: A Novel
By Helen Oyeyemi
(Riverhead Books)

In her six novel, Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi finds inspiration in fairy tales, as she did with her 2014 novel, Boy, Snow, Bird, and her 2016 short story collection, What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours. This time, we follow Harriet, a beautiful woman in her 30s with a teenage daughter, Perdita. Both mother and daughter are prematurely gray, and both find it difficult to make friends. Harriet still feels tied to her childhood companion, Gretel, and Perdita’s main confidants are for dolls who have sprouted plants from their bodies and learned to speak. Harriet was born in the mysterious country of Druhástrana, and fled for Britain when she was a teenager—taking nothing but a possibly magical gingerbread recipe. As Perdita grows, she yearns to visit Druhástrana to solve the mystery of who her father is. The gingerbread may hold the answer.

Oyeyemi incorporates fairy tale elements, magical realism, and multiple framing devices to draw readers deeper into her story, building up the mysteries of Druhástrana and taking the plot through unexpected twists. Fans of Oyeyemi’s work won’t want to miss it, and first-time readers will become fans, too. (5/5)

By Erika W. Smith
Gingerbread was released March 5, 2019
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2019 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!

 

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