So you wanna watch something…
The Wonder: Florence Pugh plays an English nurse, Elizabeth Wright, in Sebastián Lelio’s 1860s period film ‘The Wonder’—an adaptation of an Emma Donoghue novel set in Ireland. Wright is charged with examining the puzzling case of an 11-year-old girl, Anna, who has not eaten in nearly four months—but is nourished instead by “manna from heaven”—a claim readily accepted and championed by the men in the village. This is a story of the age-old clash between science and religious belief—and also of gender. Who has the power to speak for whom?
Mashable calls the film an “intense, poignant, and deeply moving examination of faith, science, grief, and the dangers of extreme piety at a terrible cost.” Wall Street Journal, says it is a “fresh reminder of the power of visual storytelling.” To the Independent, it is “a reminder that the only truths to exist are the ones which we construct for ourselves.” The movie released on Netflix on Wednesday.
1899: This is a highly anticipated thriller from Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar—the creators of the popular German sci-fi series ‘Dark’. The series follows the journey of a steamship, Kerberos, across the Atlantic—carrying passengers and crew, divided by class and hiding dark secrets. In The Guardian’s words, there is almost everything here—”travel through time and space, secret portals, creepy children and a light sprinkling of pro-immigration politics.”
Not everyone is sold on its mysterious charms. Variety sums it up as “‘Lost’ on the high seas”—with plenty of mind-bending puzzles for fans to solve—but complains “the prevailing humorlessness becomes wearisome after a while.” The Guardian gives it a hard pass, calling it a “painfully slow sci-fi show” that is “absolutely agonising.” The series dropped on Netflix on Thursday.
Wonder Women: Best known for her film ‘Bangalore Days’, director Anjali Menon brings us a slice-of-life film that follows the lives of six pregnant women—Nora, Gracy, Mini, Veni, Saya and Jaya—who meet at a prenatal camp called Sumana. Other than their pregnant state, these mothers-to-be don’t have much in common—with diverse beliefs and backgrounds. Shot in just 12 days, the plot of this film appears to be a very fairly straight-forward story of sisterhood among women. There are no reviews, so we’re not sure if it will be annoyingly sappy—or a breath of fresh air. The film premieres on SonyLIV today.
Mister Mummy: Genelia D’Souza makes a comeback to the big screen with her husband Riteish Deshmukh in this comedy-drama. Amol is a PT teacher married to Gugloo. And they’re dealing with a slightly odd situation: Both of them are pregnant! We can’t figure out how Anmol managed to get knocked up, but it’s clear he hates every minute of it—and isn’t fond of kids either. Of course, his wife is exactly the opposite. There are no reviews of the movie—which looks like mainstream Bollywood fare. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be funny. The movie hits the theatres today—but we might just wait until it drops on streaming.
A list of good reads
- The Guardian has a must read on the North-South divide over India’s burgeoning population.
- Also a very good piece in The Guardian: the fiercely divided debate over the exclamation mark.
- Don’t like the taste of wine or, maybe, cilantro? New Yorker has an excellent essay on ‘supertasters’ that might explain why.
- Indian History Collective carries an essay by Bhagat Singh as he weighs the differences between Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhash Chandra Bose. A must read for history lovers—and anyone who is interested in the debates that shaped the birth of our nation. (h/t founding member Basreena Basheer)
- Indian Express investigates the links between the makers of ‘Kantara’ and the BJP—which has widely praised the film. FYI: the company is also behind the KGF franchise.
- MIT Technology Review has a fascinating behind-the-scenes report on a conference for billionaires who want to live forever.
- BBC News explains why indecision makes you smarter.
- ‘Buzzfeed’ was once the symbol of great business success and trashy clickbait. Today, it just doesn’t seem all that relevant. The Verge traces the rise and fall of the news site’s cultural cachet.
- The News Minute looks at the increasing numbers of domestic violence survivors on the big screen.
- John McWhorter raises a thorny question in the New York Times: when is racism not racism?