Water Movie Review

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One of the most horrifying films I’ve ever seen. I saw in an arthouse theater soon after it came out in 2005 and haven’t seen it since, but I still feel physically ill when I remember certain scenes.

Water was written and directed by Deepa Mehta, a native of Amritsar, Punjab, India who now lives in Canada. It is set in India in 1938, during the rise of Gandhi, but mostly follows the life of a 7 year old child bride who is widowed and sent by her family to live for the rest of her life in an ashram (house of prayer) with other widows. The women are desperately poor and survive by begging and, it turns out, by prostituting the younger and prettier members of the ashram to wealthy men. Starting in childhood.

It does end on a slightly more hopeful note than most of the rest of the film, but overall, it is very hard to watch. Nevertheless, I do recommend watching Water if you can safely do so without triggering yourself. Not only is it a beautifully made and well-acted film, it’s also a very powerful and important one. Call me a bleeding heart, but I think it’s important for those of us with comfortable Western lives to be aware of the struggles of people in general and women in particular in more superstitious and unforgiving times and places. The plight of poor widows in India remains dire. If you feel inspired to try and help, check out The Loomba Foundation and similar charities.

Les Miserables (2012) Movie Review

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A more successful film adaptation of a Broadway musical than The Phantom of the Opera thanks to excellent performances from a much stronger ensemble cast, but still vocally disappointing. (I know it’s not really fair to compare the voices of non-musical theater actors with those of musical theater stars, like those who filled the cast of the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert, but I can’t help it!)

At least they were smart enough to cast a bona-fide Broadway star (Samantha Barks) in the role of Eponine. (“On My Own” being the showstopper song you really don’t want to mess up.) I was also impressed by Anne Hathaway’s rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream,” which was too quiet and broken to work on stage, but fit the character at that stage of her life perfectly.

My rating: (3 / 5)

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