Within the last two weeks I have watched two immensely enjoyable films which although very different, both left me in tears at the end.
The first was I Am Woman, the story of Helen Reddy's rise to fame as a singer in the 60s and 70s. A completely flawless portrayal by actress Tilda Cobham-Hervey of a woman who was both vulnerable and full of gritty determination, was of course only part of the appeal.
Cobham-Hervey was supported by a plethora of fabulous actors who seemed to live and breathe and totally embody the very real-life people who had surrounded Reddy during her lifetime.
And that song! Was there ever a song that could be a better anthem for 50% of the population? I'd heard I Am Woman, growing up in the 70s in Glasgow, but never had I attached so much significance to the song. Before, it had rolled off my tongue as I sang along, attaching my own petty (and sometimes not so petty) problems to the lyrics... but watching the film, seeing Reddy's very real struggles in a world that did not even give women command of their own bodies, let alone destinies, I finally got the real sentiment of the song. Not the easy - we are all equal - but the more complex idea, that women had been equal all along, it was just that men had failed to notice.
And so crying my eyes out, I finished watching the film and gave thanks to all those women, who for centuries have fought oppression, so that I - a woman - can sit here today and push out script after script, novel after novel and not be dismissed as 'just a woman'.
Sadly, Helen Reddy died last September. Not through Covid but through complications of her failing health and dementia. She'll never know the effect her story had upon me. But I know that she was aware of the effect it had already had on countless millions.
So if you haven't watched the film, I urge you to do so.
The second film which made me cry was Anna And The Apocalypse. Another musical, it has however a completely different feel and subject matter of I am Woman.
Hats off to the writers and director of this film. It could have been a fly-away thing, something to watch on a wet Sunday afternoon in lockdown. But actually the film had soul (if you'll forgive the pun, being as the film was about zombies).
This, as they made very clear during one of the many catchy songs, was to have no Hollywood ending. And the film (enjoyable throughout) was strengthened by its non-Hollywood ending. It was a brave move and one which in my opinion paid off, giving the whole film a depth and compassion that elevated it beyond what it would otherwise have been.
Ella Hunt was stunning in the lead role and acted, sang and danced her way through it with aplomb. She's certainly going on my list of actresses I'd like to cast in one of my films.
The only thing I didn't like in the whole of the film was the pram lying abandoned on the road and the zombie attacking it in one of the opening scenes. That in my opinion was a step too far... but otherwise a great film.
Again, if you haven't seen it, make time to do so.
And look out for my big news, coming soon.
Happy viewing! x