Final Notations | By: Adrienne Rich
I fell in love with Adrienne Rich after reading Dream of a Common Language. Her poetry makes me feel alive. She writes in a way that consumes your entire being when you read her words. I love Final Notations in particular because the "it" in the poem in indeterminably vague. It could mean so many things. It could mean exactly what you want it to mean, but it could also mean something that could break your heart. Poetry can be interpreted in so many different ways, and I appreciate that tremendously about this format. I chose to interpret the "it" in Final Notations as love. I've never been in love, and because of that, I saw this "it" as love. I imagine it being so many things. It could be everything and nothing all at once. "It will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart." I imagine love taking everything from you, every single thing. So you have to decide how much you're willing to give, and how much you're willing to give up. If I find love, I want it to feel like someone touching through my ribs. I know that I'll understand that feeling.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl | Directed by: Marielle Heller
I thought about watching The Diary of a Teenage Girl for this month's media companion a little while ago, then on Saturday I watched Marielle Heller win Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards and heard everyone saying again to watch out for Bel Powley, calling her one to watch. After finally seeing it, I can definitely say that I'll be watching. The movie is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Phoebe Gloekner, and it incorporates some of the novel's artistic style. There are surrealist sequences where the protagonist's drawings walk down the street with her and where her narration is accompanied by vibrant doodles. Our teenage girl is Minnie Goetz (Bel Powley), a fifteen year old living with her mother (Kristen Wiig) and younger sister in San Francisco in 1976. We meet her on the day that she first has sex, and the guy she had sex with, was her mother's boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard). This is the beginning of an affair that lasts the duration of the movie, but I'll let you watch for yourself and see how it plays out. Minnie spends the movie wading through thoughts and decisions involving sex, intimacy, love and relationships. She spends some time standing in front of the mirror, debating the merits of her body. She's under the impression that she isn't very attractive, but that her youthful appearance is what makes her attractive to men, particularly older men. Minnie narrates the majority of the movie, mostly by recording her diary onto cassette tapes (the biggest guns Chekov ever had), so we really get to follow her through what she initially believes is a grand transformation. By the end of the movie, some of her opinions have changed, and some of them haven't. She's left wondering whether or not having someone to love you is as important as she thought, or if loving yourself is what really matters most.
Frances Ha | Directed by: Noah Baumbach
I wanted to watch Frances Ha for two reasons. First, aesthetic. I am visual person and it is a black and white film which is a very interesting choice for a 2012 film. Second, I'm intrigued by Greta Gerwig's acting and writing. I was unaware of the plot going into this film. I assumed it would fit this month's theme of love, sex, and relationships because it is a story about a woman and most stories about women (basically all of them) focus on those subjects. What was such a wonderful surprise was that the theme of relationships went so much deeper than the relationship between a man and a woman. Frances (Greta Gerwig) is not only trying to figure out her love life, she searches for peace with her friendships (between both men and women), finds significance with co worker relationships, and looks for her purpose.
I related to this film so much. I care so deeply about my best friends because I feel they are the most important relationship in my life after family. Frances and her best friend Sophie (Mickey Sumner) mirror my friendship with co founder Natalie. "We are basically the same person just with different color hair." Like us, they sleep in the same bed often, have the same weird sense of humor, cry together, help each other format text messages, sit in the same room for hours without having to say a word. It's refreshing to have a film out there with a genuine representation of female friendship. I also related to Frances' desire to have a deeper relationship with herself. She often lies about what she's doing with her life to make herself feel better about her "failures". In this world of competition we find ourselves trying to keep up with everyone around us instead of finding our own way. We get so caught up in our pride rather than focusing on our happiness. Thank you Frances for reminding me to remember my happiness and for inspiring me deeply. I could not recommend this film more.
My So Called Life | Created by: Winnie Holzman
When we decided that this month's theme would be Love, Sex & Relationships, my first thought was "I need to write something about Jordan Catalano". I didn't meet Jordan Catalano until I was in college, but it didn't matter. He was beautiful, he was mysterious, he was illiterate. He made me wish that I was Angela Chase. My So Called Life aired between 1994-1995 and only lasted one season, albeit one groundbreaking season of television. The show follows the life of teenager Angela Chase (Claire Danes) while she tries to figure out her life. She's trying to understand her friendships as she breaks away from her childhood friends and starts hanging out with an edgier group. Her new friends Rayanne and Rickie land her at a party where she meets our teenage heartthrob, Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto). Angela's relationship with Jordan becomes a through line in the series, but it's definitely not the central plot point. It helps her find out more about the kind of person that she wants to be, what she is willing to put herself through, and how much of herself she is willing to compromise for the people around her. She encounters peer pressure, temptation, and choices that she isn't used to making. One of the first choices she makes is dying her mousy brown hair a bright Gatorade red. This helps her grab Jordan's attention. But as you can see in the clip above, teenage romance isn't all flowers and chocolate. In fact, most of it isn't, even when you're being courted by Brian Krakow (you're going to love him). This is another push from a TV junkie to watch a truly incredible show. You won't regret it, and you'll fall in love in the process. Not with Jordan Catalano, not with Brian Krakow, not even with Angela Chase, but with yourself.