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Author: Diana Paul

Woman in the Wall–Imprisonment in  the Magdalene Laundries

Set up as a six-episode thriller, Woman in the Wall is based on the horrific exploitation of teenage girls and young women in “the homes for unwed mothers” in Ireland.  The scandal of the Magdalene Laundries has damaged the Catholic Church for over a century and a half.   This fictionalized account focuses on Lorna Brady (Ruth Wilson of “The Affair”, “Luther”, “Saving Mr. Banks”, “Dark Materials” among many others) and her determination to find her now thirty-year old daughter who was taken from her at the Magdalene Laundries....

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The Abyss–Going Down a Rabbit Hole

The Abyss, while a fictional narrative, is nonetheless based upon a real town, Kiruna, Sweden and the mine located beneath it.    First and foremost, The Abyss (2023) is a disaster film  about one woman superhero’s mental and physical strength in saving the lives of her friends and her teenage son. Frigga (Tuva Novotny) is in charge of safety in the mine, and has learned the skills of her father who died there.   Her two teenage children, Simon and Mica) are rather clueless about how important their mother is to the safety of Kiruna.  Her ex-husband (David Franzén), and...

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Saltburn–Class Wounds

Saltburn is a 2023 highly original indie psychological thriller written, directed, and co-produced by Emerald Fennell (creator of “A Promising Young Woman”, see my March 25,2021 review).   A brilliant middle-class Oxford student with  few friends (except for one rather sadistic roommate), Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan from “Banshees of Inisherin”) has little appeal with women, but outsized ambitions to be popular with his fellow aristocratic students. A coming-of-age film this is not! Supernaturally handsome Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), befriends Oliver after  Oliver...

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Mr. and Mrs. Smith–Trust Issues

The mini-series, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which premiered in February of this year on Amazon Prime, is much more than a remake of the popular 2005 movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  While still  anchored in a main plot of espionage hijinks, now the drama has been embedded within  a rom-com  infused  by the chemistry between its charming leads, Donald Glover (John Smith) and Maya Erskine (Jane Smith).   As two lonely, unemployed millennials, they  independently agree to become secret agents for a mysterious organization requiring them to go undercover as a married...

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You Hurt My Feelings–Something to Think About

You Hurt My Feelings, a psychological family saga with humorous overtones, was released in May 2023.  Directed and produced by Nicole Holofcener (Last Duel, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Enough Said), the opening scene is of the mildly successful memoirist, Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Seinfeld” and “Veep“)  who is working on a second book, a novel,  without much interest from her agent or prospective publishers.  In her daytime job  as a creative writing professor, Beth  encourages her students not to be afraid of writing what truly inspires them, without fear or...

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Echo–Maya Lopez is Back

Guest reviewer:   Lora Chilton, author of 1666 : A Novel The character of Maya Lopez was introduced in the Marvel television series, Hawkeye (2021). Now she is  back in the spin-off series, Echo. Played by the captivating Alaqua Cox, Maya tells her story in a series of flashbacks involving  her childhood and trauma. Maya, of course, has the superpowers of a Marvel hero,  but this time, passed down through her matrilineal Choctaw heritage from Chafa, a Choctaw leader.  Focusing on the Choctaw nation,  Echo is a Marvel series with a  fresh and highly original cultural perspective. ...

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