Interstellar is a great movie and also one with a disconcerting level of strangeness. We begin with a gravitational anomaly and end with time that can be experienced as a fifth dimension. At sixteen, I took logic and psychology as optionals, see.

So like I said the movie begins *gravitational anomaly* and continues onto more familiar territory with *message in morse code?* and then really takes off from there with “wormholes bend time in space”. At this point I feel a little oversensitive as I notice they take mercy on gormless, drooling Wall-Eesque audiences everywhere looking for that last bit of caramel popcorn, and triumphantly hand us a bit of candy – “What’s a circle in three dimensions?” asks a scientist of an engineer, “A sphere.“, the rest of us chorus proudly and a whole instant before Matthew Mcconaughey,  who is uncompetitive. Well I did do geometry in the tenth. Oh god. Or Algebra, or Trig. –   point is I still remember that (for me) piece of trivia and am now an unbearable companion.

Time as the fifth dimension looks like a tesseract. A tesseract is to a cube as a cube is to a square. So sayeth the Google. You enter the dimension of time by being almost pulled into a black hole (I think?) and ejecting yourself from your little space ship (before that happens?). Here (in the tesseract) is where you tap out messages in Morse code on how to save the world to your brilliant daughter because you can see her and reach out to her at all moments of her childhood owing to the fact that your strong personal connection to her is “quantifiable” (which is kind of  undeniably sweet and made me cry. This happened at least once or thrice.). Thankfully, how to save the world is not gone into in depth and is merely called “the data”. “The data” is typed out in “Morse” (half the definition of which is given around the beginning of the movie in case you hadn’t read the Trivia section of your daily today) and in the next to next scene, Mathew Mcconaughey’s body is floating unconscious in space breathing the last of the oxygen from his tank because the Tesseract closed after he sent out his message. So the Tesseract is entered physically or by the mind alone? Ask me not for I couldn’t tell you. After I was reassured that my favourite wasn’t gonna pull a Gravity on me and die I found and ate the last of my popcorn.

The story does tend to refer to human experiences as performed on a grand scale, well it would have to with a story line pursuing  voyages and discoveries and new planets and new dawns. There is a grand scene on Dr. Mann’s planet where the evil brought in by the humans (or at any rate, Dr. Mann) to a still, remote, lifeless place springs into action and with a camera that pulls out to show us this unpeopled place we can also see attempted murder by an egoistic megalomaniac. Sorry if I seem pedantic but that could be a scene borrowed from Shakespeare or maybe a Greek play. The movie flourishes at moments of mighty ponderings by characters who have to try to be mighty. Or who have situations of weight handed over to them. Will they snap under the strain or take the hero’s part? (Spoiler alert: Mcconaughey is a hero.)

It’s  a gorgeous movie in its themes, while it can be funny in its swings between touching on the vast goals of space research and then harping on secondary school level science as the rationale behind certain important plot points- what is Newton’s third law by the way? Snigger, snigger, snigger. Oh well, I don’t see me making a big banner, large scale, grandiose themed Hollywood motion picture, so I won’t be rude. Go see this picture, folks.


Gone Girl the Movie

Warning! Spoilers!!! Gone Girl will make sure you never trust your spouse again … or your friend’s spouse… or that low life with the sore on her lip. In fact, TRUST NO ONE. You are now Mad Eye Moody. It’s a gorgeously disturbing take on a claustrophobic marriage, the way it begins with two halves of  a whole, church bells and wedding cake, and eventually came down to a marriage between a sophisticated, edjicated big city girl and – a person from Missouri. One year long adulterous relationship, one large scale operation for revenge,one murder and one fabricated story for the press later a new relationship emerges; apparently a marriage, though in a new and highly compromised avatar. Gone Girl cannot take into account positivity but a story has to tell you what it is geared to say. But I wish they hadn’t pinned most of the blame on to the lady wife. She was a brilliant psychotic who twisted laws that protect vulnerable women in order to harass and harm the men who left her. Where have I heard that before? The Missourian husband is just a guy. All guys are just regular assholes as nature intended them. Woman though, this unstable and unknown quantity, real freaks of nature, spin out of control and have to be either feared or used. Except Mom. As a line of dialogue from the movie goes, “Mom would fix everything.” The Mother, the hag, the virgin, the child, the whore, also (in light of this movie) The Twin . Which one are you? Someone should invent a card game. Oh wait. We play that one everyday. There is the character of Detective Rhonda Boney. Reassuring as she is, her character is not enough to sufficiently challenge the plot.

Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs. Oscar Wilde by Franny Moyle

Is a title that keeps up the spirit of its subject’s era but the book is not really scandalous and the tragedy seems to exist in the bare facts of her life (although Constance had plenty of reasons to be sad she tended to be rather a cheerful person) rather than coming through in personal detail because the Wildes’ letters to each other were all (except 3, 3 lousy letters) either torn up or stolen,  People please stop doing  this. If you have an inkling that you are going to be famous preserve everything down to your baby teeth, please. Think of us. Think of Me. Having to go through life Not Knowing.

However that’s not to say that personal detail does not exist in this book. It sure does, since Constance’s 300 or so other letters all  apparently still exist, nicely preserved (because the Universe is kind).

Many people blame Oscar for writing to people for money at the end but I don’t see what else he could do. One poignant statement does exist in one of the last two letters quoted in the book, when Constance says regarding Oscar -she could never lose her concern for him and when she tried contacting him through mutual friends he wrote demanding money outright  (although he had a regular allowance from Robbie Ross, but Oscar must have been crazy unhappy after the hideous Douglas, his love, emotionally kicked him in the guts, not that Constance knew) –  that she “[is] rather afraid of him”, which is indeed quite sad. It seems to me that what Wilde wrote about Douglas – “He understands me and my art and loves both.” would much more appropriately describe Robbie Ross who did both these things. Constance loved Oscar but lacked the tools to understand homosexuality. Indeed, unless you were gay yourself especially in the information dead end that was the19th century, I’m thinking that lacking experience and information it would have been difficult to be accepting of it.

It strikes me that Oscar’s life was the craziest drama with plots and sub plots and who did what to whom-who was doing whom-when, where and why, you have to try to keep ’em all straight in your head. Still, no doubt Oscar enjoyed it.

I think the book is interesting as it gives you a picture of Constance’s interests and the avenues open to young purposeful women in the 19th century (hardly anything). Constance fled from one interest to another and was always looking for something that, in her short life, she eventually did not find. She wasn’t good at being an actress or a writer. She was good at political mobilisation but the candidate she supported wasn’t allowed to take on her democratically elected position because her opponent was a sore loser the Constitution did not specifically say “women”. She was businesslike, good with sorting through legal details, interested in art,photography,travel, socialising,the supernatural (apparently like many Victorians), literature,politics,fashion, interior design,religion, her children, Oscar (all her life, after she fell for him) and social issues. I can very easily see her today, doing an undergrad program in literature maybe and probably going on to a career in social work,journalism or politics. But instead we have this statement, “I can quite easily see that I’m leading the most useless life ever but I cannot see what I can do about it.” becoming one of the many indictments of a complacent,insular,judgmental, insensitive, selfish,greedy and patriarchal time.

I wish the book had followed a more chronological format within the chapters, because to appreciate each story I have to keep the time table straight in my own head. But still, it gives me peeps at Oscar, and his wife’s perspective, which is what I wanted, so it’s all excellent.

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