Is anyone watching “The Young Pope”? I wasn’t initially going to watch it — a drama about the Vatican sounds like a bit of a sausage fest to me, which isn’t my thing. But I caught the first episode and was mesmerized by it. It was genuinely filmic, with superb lyrical camera movement, cinematography and composition, complete with a rare sense of craft, especially on television. And I thought the performances were odd and intriguing — overall they’re a little mannered, but in a way that seems absolutely germane to the stylized milieu, and Jude Law is at his very best here. It’s very much Fellini makes “House of Cards,” but at the Vatican. I’m a little behind on the episodes, but I’m looking forward to keeping up!
I’d been wanting to watch The Lobster for some time, but as I’ve mentioned before, watching a two-hour movie is a commitment when you work, have kids and generally have an overpacked schedule. But I had really admired Dogtooth, the director’s earlier movie, and I had heard good things about The Lobster. It’s a very dystopian, almost sci-fi film — but not gadget/tech sci-fi, more like if someone had completely taken certain unspoken rules about society to a literal extreme. In the case of The Lobster, everyone in society is required to be married, and anyone without a partner is rounded up, sent to a “hotel” where they are indoctrinated into heteronormative norms and then must find a mate in 45 days or else be turned into an animal. Sounds weird, but believe it or not, it’s a comedy, and quite funny in a dry, misanthropic kind of way. I wouldn’t say it’s a date movie — although I watched it with my sweetheart — but it’s really excellent, artful and well-done. Plus, it features French actress Lea Seydoux, who has probably the most glorious resting bitch face in all of international cinema.
I’m reading The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016 and quite enjoying it. All the short stories I’ve read so far are incredibly well-written, beautifully constructed and surprising. It’s a nice transition after reading all the Harry Potter books. I’m not sure what to read next, beyond re-reading The Happiness Project. (I enjoyed it when I read it earlier but found it oddly fussy and pedantic. But a friend of mine suggested to read it again after being in the trenches of parenthood for a bit and discover some new level of subtext to a lot of Gretchen Rubin’s “controlling” resolutions.) But after that…? Any recommendations for good fiction that is both complex yet hopeful?
I’m very, very appalled by what is going on in the U.S. now — it’s going to be a very long, very exhausting, very disheartening four years — but seeing the spontaneous protests erupting in U.S. airports is making me very happy, and so is the important work that ACLU is doing.
I’m doing something different and recording my favorite outfit of the week (well, that I also managed to photograph) for my Friday Five. This week’s is basically a hoodie dress, a fleece moto jacket layered over it, leggings and ankle boots — all Fabletics, all really solid items — worn to an afternoon out to meet friends. I felt comfy, relaxed, tomboyish but still kinda punky, but also able to keep up with a crazy active toddler and, oh, life.