I know I definitely say this every month but I really can’t quite believe that we’re in June already. The last few months have gone very quickly – probably because everything’s so much in the air.
Here’s some of the things I’ve been loving in the month of May…
I had really wanted to watch Misbehaviour at the cinema but then everything happened all at once and the cinemas were closed and we were no longer allowed to go out. When I found out that it was being put online, I was very excited. It follows a team of women as they hatch a plan to disrupt the 1970 Miss World beauty competition in London. I loved that the film didn’t just focus on the women who were attempted to disrupt it, their stories and their aims for doing so, but it also focused on the competitors lives, why they needed the competition and what it meant to a lot of them. I think too often that feminism can become very much centred around eschewing beauty standards and vilifying any woman that chooses to follow that path (such as entering a beauty competition, being a stay-at-home mum, caring about the way they look…) so it was really eye-opening to see both sides of the story and offer a commentary on how to use feminism to understand other women rather than beating them down because of their choices.
How To Build a Girl
Another film I was really excited to find out was being streamed online was How To Build a Girl starring Beanie Feldstein (I’ll be honest, I will genuinely watch anything with Beanie in. I think she’s fab!) The film is set in the 1990s which made the fashion and music in the film really fun. It follows Johanna Morrigan, a working class girl from Wolverhampton who lives on a council estate. Johanna wants more from life and follows her dreams to become a music journalist. The screenplay was written by Caitlin Moran and, as such, is incredibly funny and honest. I loved that the monotony and insecurity of being a teenager was very well explored.
This Oscar-winning 2018 film is directed by Spike Lee and follows Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police detective in Colorado Springs. who sets out to infiltrate and expose the local Ku Klux Klan group. What makes this film plot sound even crazier is that it’s based on true story and Ron became the first ever black Ku Klux Klan member. I loved the performances of John David Washington and Adam Driver and thought the relationship they developed worked well together on screen. I also really loved the contrast between the adrenaline you felt watching Ron’s adventure, the horror you felt at the insight into the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the deep political polemic. It’s because of this balance that the film doesn’t come across as completely bleak and I found the final few scenes to be inspiring.
Rewatching the Hobbit trilogy
If you read my May TBR you might know that I planned to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien this month for a bit of escapism and magic. I thought it would also make sense to rewatch the films at the same time! So far, I’ve only been able to rewatch the three Hobbit movies (I say “only”, they’re all very long!) I really enjoyed reading a section of the book and then watchig the film of that section. It helped me to put faces to the names of the characters because, as with The Lord of the Rings, I find there’s so many character names that are quite similar and it can be quite confusing to remember everyone. The films definitely helped in this case and I think the films are great regardless! My favourite is the second: The Desolation of Smaug.
Frankenstein (National Theatre at Home)
As was the case when this production was performed back in 2011, there were two different versions of Frankenstein shown on the National Theatre at Home Youtube Channel. Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his monster. I watched the version where Cumberbatch played Franenstein and Jonny Lee Miller played the monster as I had heard that this was the better casting. Looking back, I wish I had watched both versions to be able to compare them.
Frankenstein is one of my favourite books so I was very excited when I found out the National Theatre would be showing this. The play was directed by Danny Boyle (so you just know it’s going to be good…) It was a visceral, fast-paced and deep-look at such a well-known story. I’m always intrigued to watch different productions and adaptations of Frankenstein because it is so well-known and beloved. I enjoy seeing what different directors and actors bring to the characters and how they interpret it. In particular, I really loved how Jonny Lee Miller brought an element of childlike innocence and vulnerability to the role of the monster that I’ve never really seen before however I definitely picked up on this when reading the book.
A Streetcar Named Desire (National Theatre at Home)
Just as Frankenstein is one of my favourite books, A Streetcar Named Desire is one of my favourite plays having studied it at school. This production was filmed live back in 2014 at the Young Vic starring Gillian Anderson as Blanche, Vanessa Kirby as Stella and Ben Foster as Stanley. For me, both Gillian Anderson and Ben Foster were massive standouts in this production. I’d never seen A Streetcar Named Desire performed so it was such an experience to be able to visualise words and passages that I’d read and re-read throughout my school years.
Hay Festival Digital
Because of everything going on at the moment Hay Festival became digital. From 18th to 31st May, over 80 digital and interactive events took place featuring some of the best authors, speakers, commentators and personalities. I signed up to around five of these events and enjoyed them all immensely. It was great to be able to experience something in lockdown that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to (Hay Festival normally takes place in Wales and that’s quite far away from me!). The talks were illuminating and there was such a range of topics being spoken about. Some of the talks were so popular they had to be streamed on their Youtube channel too!
I used to be obsessed with playing Sims when I was younger (and clearly also now that I’m older too). I have had Sims 4 for quite a while and have played it already however, I have to try and let myself not get obsessed with it otherwise nothing else will get done. Now that lockdown has meant that nothing else really needs to get done, I’ve fully embraced playing the Sims 4 and it’s definitely made the time pass quicker.
When I go out for a walk I really like to listen to a podcast as I find it less emotional than listening to music (which seems to make me randomly cry a lot these days). One of my favourites that I have discovered is called Biographics (I listen to it via Spotify but I’m pretty sure it’s available all other ways you could listen to podcasts). Each episode follows the life of one historical figure – from their childhood, their education, their family life and what made them who we see them as today. My favourite episodes so far have been: Boudicca, Joan of Arc, JRR Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway and Marie Antoinette. There’s such a range of historical figures on here from authors to rulers to inventors to scientists.
Finishing Couch to 5K
This month I have finally finished Couch to 5k and it feels like such a huge achievement for me! Considering that before I started I wasn’t even able to run for 30 seconds down the end of my road and halfway through I really struggled to even run for 15 minutes and considered giving up, but now I’m able to run for a full 30 minutes! Not very fast I might add… It feels great to finally be able to reach that 5k milestone and has definitely helped me a lot during the lockdown.
What have been some of your favourites this month?
Thanks for reading!
Love, Zoë xx