Monday, August 15, 2016


I usually reserve this space for movies I've really enjoyed and want you to enjoy as well. But today I want to share with you my disappointment in a movie, and how this relates to the writing/reading life.

I loved the trailers for FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS. I was interested in this woman who sang, in public, even though she wasn't any good at singing. I love that idea: doing something for the joy of it, not for any other reason.

But that's not what this movie is about.

This movie is about money. Money, and our relationship to people who have money. How that money might benefit US. And if we want to continue receiving the bounty from a person with money, we should be insincere.

People were constantly asking Florence for money. And she generously gave it, underwriting many music events for many many years. Perhaps people were charmed by her -- it's hard to tell. But in order to protect their own interests, and any future funds that might come their way, they sat through Florence's concerts. They wrote glowing reviews. They cheered. When what they wanted to do was snicker and cover their ears.

What does all this have to do with writing/reading? Well. Don't we go into books with a set of expectations, as I did with this movie? Don't we generally crave a certain reading experience? And then, even if the book is well-crafted (as this movie is well-crafted), do not come away with a favorable opinion?

It's not the movie's fault it wasn't what I wanted. It's not any book's fault either. But it IS an important reminder that message matters. For me, that means a message that is somehow affirming of the life experience.

Where is the art/beauty/love/hope in a movie that celebrates superficiality and insincerity?

Give me depth and authenticity, please!

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