Tag Archives: Coming of Age

TV Review: Malory Towers

Malory Towers is a children’s television show by CBBC and is set in the post-World War in Britain. The show is about Darrell Rivers who is sent to the all-girls boarding school, Malory Towers, where she befriends and struggles to learn life lessons with them. She gets into trouble and faces challenges in maintaining discipline but with a group of good company, she and her friends help out each other and grace their younghood.

As it is obvious by the title, Malory Towers is based on Enid Blyton‘s set of six novels with the same title. Each of the books is based on Darrel’s year of term she attended in the boarding school. Therefore, I assume that the first two seasons that are released are based on the first two books because each of the seasons is based on Darrel’s first and second terms. That also means that the show may progress to complete the remaining books in the next four seasons.

And the show has all the qualities to complete six seasons because of its details about the characters, lush camera work, and very thoughtful structure of episodes each focusing on something interesting about the life of the young girls in Malory Towers, the events that may have been traced from the books. The show is a feel-good coming-of-age light-heart period drama. The writing of the show convincingly depicts the problems the young girls face like anger issues, tolerance, manners, etc.

Programme Name: Malory Towers – TX: n/a – Episode: Malory Towers – ep 1 (No. 1) – Picture Shows: Darrell (ELLA BRIGHT), Sally (SIENNA ARIF-KNIGHTS), Gwen (DANYA GRIVER) – (C) WildBrain/Queen Bert Limited – Photographer: Steve Wilkie

The show covers a lot of thought that develops an interest in a coming-of-age children’s drama like the school’s financial crisis, the loyalty of veteran staff, girls being superstitious and getting afraid of scary expectations, silly pranks, care for the animals, girls trying to impress their parents and willing not to disappoint them at all, competing against other schools, bullying, entomophobia, reading private letters, and a few more. In short, the mood or the enthusiasm of the viewers will not get punctured.

Some episodes flourish well. I liked the episode ‘The Slap’ that was carefully written and very much thought was implied on both Gwendoline and Darrell. Darrell is the central character with temper issues, the reason she was dropped from the previous school. Gwen is the bad news, the troublemaker who is always on Darrell’s nerves. Darrell slaps Gwen and their chemistry gets intense. Gwendoline’s character has been well taken care of as compared to Darrel Rivers. As much as the viewer hates the character, her being jealous, rude, and playing politics makes more sense.

I liked how the girls are distinguished with their teenage traits, some are scared, some are superstitious, some are witty, clever, sweet and some are bad news. But being bad news also gives you a good insider about why such girls switched to this behavioral attitude. Where did this jealousy or hatred come from? The introduction of poor Ellen Wilson made a strong case where she was struggling to adjust with the other girls who belonged to financially better backgrounds. Even the girls had a difficult time understanding Ellen’s situation and were quite a scene when they gift Ellen some leftovers.

I must not forget to mention and praise such an impressive performance by Daniya Griver as Gwendoline Lacey. She convincingly made every single viewer hate the character and made us wish to see her expelled from the school once and for all. Her physical, mental, and emotional portrayal was an accurate definition of a jealous, selfish, and mean girl.

I haven’t read Malory Towers but I expect the show does justice to the original work. I binged the whole show in one go because the direction and the continuity were compelling. I felt that the show had the same vibes as the children’s shows like CBC‘s Anne With An E and I was right about it. Watching this show was a delightful experience and now I will wait for the next season.

For the audience that is willing to show their children a quality drama, I recommend them to show Malory Towers.

Film Review: Licorice Pizza (2021)

So I am writing about someone who himself is some institute of filmmaking, Paul Thomas Anderson. Looking at the plethora of critical acclaim his films earn every time his new work is presented, I waited this moment to watch his latest venture, Licorice Pizza. And I knew the spark is there, the spark is just there.

Two hours of beautiful feeling and those instincts of cold whispers amongst young bloods that brood or shroud the gospel of emotions from head to toe. A kind of blue-ish feeling when a young boy Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) and a girl Alana Kane (Alana Haim) meet each other first time and try to reason the birth of those unaccomplished meetings. We have watched trillions of times but there is a way to make young kids take their chances, accept or refuse, make a joke out of it, or make a point out of all seriousness. Paul made us feel that in some boozy vibrance. A magnitude of spectacle.

The warmth of the chemistry proceeds like the flourishing pinnacle. The relation leads to thick surprises and their excitement being together is the epitome of the symphony. Even when they are not together, impatience grows. I felt a lot, a bloody lot, when Gary and Alana phone each other and say nothing. The depth of the story surprises and gives its whataboutery of awkwardness. I embrace the entirety of the intense moment when the cops arrest Gary from nowhere; what a spectacular shot when Alana runs and tells him not to worry, and the handcuffed Gary stares at her like a d***head.

Licorice Pizza also tests the complicated relationship in some situational comic moments that also occurs out of nowhere because life is so uncertain. Alana grabs the opportunity to gather with big boys and make Gary feel. The whole change in shift to the restaurant and that silly stunt was necessary as the story assumed that humans, in all complications, can reach different places reasoning and finding their own identity until they slip and realize. A kind of this scene may have never appealed but Paul’s writing about the complicated relationship of two confused kids was berzerk.

How smartly the gas issue was raised?! The film portrays California of 1973 and OPEC‘s oil embargo also occurred the same year. Bradley Cooper as John Peters was so perfect! Very impressive soundtracks were played. The Mikado hotel reference also hints that Paul did this on purpose to show the early years of the first Japanese restaurant in San Fernando Valley that approves meticulous writing. And why not? After all, Paul’s film aesthetics are usually centered around San Fernando Valley.

I loved the onscreen pairing of amateur actors, Cooper and Alana. Looking at their personalities and stature, they do not remind you of some ideal figures but the story of common people. Both made their debuts and how impressive were they. For Paul, this was a friendly project as Cooper is the son of late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Alana is an established music celebrity from the pop-rock band Haim for whom Paul has directed many music videos.

If the audience has ever loved Paul’s Boogie Nights, they will definitely love watching Licorice Pizza. Talk about a coming-of-age, raw buildup of young relations, desperate attempts of making money, and a few more, Licorice Pizza is an exceptional masterpiece.

Ratings: 8.8/10

Film Review: The Tender Bar (2021)

The Tender Bar is a kind of film that has thoughtful elements of good and bad choices, regrets and lucks, learning and yearning, and goes deep to understand why life always entreats you to move on. This film is a subtle approach for a coming-of-age film to fix the equation of a generational attitude towards learning. With a credible narration, remarkable scenes, powerful dialogues, and an astonishing screenplay by William Monahan, The Tender Bar beautifully reflects on our own life and somewhere do we see ourselves there and agreeing with most of the points most of the major characters speak.

The Tender Bar also reflects on a disturbing childhood and we all audience can relate to the incidents happening in the film. The detailing of this film is done with meticulous care, even the shorter portions have your memories boxed somewhere like the elders smoking or using curse words in front of a child, grandpa farting, parents threatening, mama persuading to join the ranks of a certain institution, a conversation with a fellow passenger on the train, etc.

The Tender Bar bites to harsh realities and also hints you to some people who will always be truly yours, your guide, a parental figure under whose guidance you learn a lot of deal. The film is about accomplishing your targets, fulfilling your dreams, falling in love for the first time. The film is about keeping your mom happy after what she has been through.

The technicalities of this film are just excellent. Brilliant direction by George Clooney and he must get the deserving nomination for the Best Director in the Oscar, really fitting soundtracks, and magnificent performances by Lily Rabe, Tye Sheridan, and Ben Affleck. The latter definitely deserves a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Good to see Ben Affleck back in shape.

The Tender Bar is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning writer J. R. Moehringer‘s memoir of the same name easily the best coming-of-age film I have watched since Call Me By Your Name.

Ratings: 8.7/10

Film Review: Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959)

Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) is a genuine storyteller. An apology never heard never accepted. A dark sickening life insisting to walk away from everything.
A young lad Antoine Doinel is a confused puppet in Paris of the 1950s. His parents argue and fight, his teacher punishes and complains. He studies but he cannot make his mind. One day he is so disturbed that he quit home and school, and begins stealing.
This 1959 French film is directed by François Truffaut. The best aspect of the film is the tendency, the aptness, the realism of human behavior. The portrayal of characters and their character descriptions are extremely rich and marvelous (especially Antoine’s parents).
This easily is one of the best writings in European cinema due to the fact that ‘The 400 Blows’ was one of the earliest films of the French New Wave uprising. Legendary filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray have considered the film as one of their favorites.
Another legacy is that Truffaut took the character Antoine Daniel with the same boy (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and made four more films on the character’s first love affair (Antoine et Colette in 1962), then another love affair (Baisers volés in 1968), then marriage (Domicile conjugal in 1970), and then separation (L’amour en fuite in 1979).
Highly recommended to all film critics and sensible filmgoers.
Ratings: 9.1/10

Movie Review: Boyhood (2014)

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Breathing of childhood, softening of adulthood… Attempt of torture, remedy of nurture… Breaking of bond, Road to abscond…

A haunting image of child which theoretically distracts your wonders of grippiness and merriness. As the time goes by, the pursuit of happiness goes astray. You grow up with melancholy with alcohol supposedly a perfect substitute of water which may quench your soulless thirst. Dramatic and pragmatic!!

Boyhood is an absolute drama with 12 years of shooting on merely a $4 million budget!! By production, it is one of the longest movie ever shot by during of time. Most probably the holder of this unique movie-making record is by Jim Jarmusch whose ‘Coffee and Cigarettes‘ was shot in 20 years.

Coming of age, inking of page!! Lavishly simple study of a boy’s 11-year life. Beyond your expectations and approximations. The movie covers almost every major aspect connected or indirectly connected with life e.g., religion, music, camping, parenting, domestic abuse, teenage sex, breakups, cycling, use of telephone to cellphones or Apple computer to laptops, job complications, preaching, sports, or alcohol etc.

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Boyhood is like a diary of an innocent child or a ladder not built on basis of success but upon hope and expectations. Those tiny ears which desires to avoid shouting of parents, those eyes which all his 11 years anxiously wait for one eventual hurrah… Boyhood is a journey of a brother and a sister and their sibling-hood, who take emotional steps in coming years. It is an original screenplay to an utmost height that the tiny lil brother and sister actually grows up with the pace of movie from boyhood to adulthood.

The only surprising minus of the whole movie is is truly is ————— the PLOT. I am sorry to disappoint you but yes, the only thing which do not impress me is the story itself. There is nothing fresh in the story. It is daily life experience of almost everyone, some of the stories tragically reach to the lowest point but story has nothing new to tell. The plot sums up to ‘I Know Right’.

So with such an ordinary story, what is so special about the movie to invest your 165 precious minutes of life on it? Is the actual growing of kids in the movie the biggest ‘vow’ factor? Is the movie overrated with the nature of its now being the highest rated movie in metacritic with most no. of critic (49)? Why has Boyhood won 110 awards worldwide so far??

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I asked myself such critical questions and without being Newton, I realize that it is all about magnificent balance of technicality of 11-year movie-making and wonderful depiction of natural human life and behavior. The director Richard Linklater is like a philosopher and psychologist equally altogether because with every inch of grown-up scene, he defines the age of character in naturally creative and acceptable way. The mother of siblings gains and loses weight by time, even with time her breasts are augmented *oh my eyes*. Make-up, hair-styling and selection of dresses are fantastic. Dialogues have no limits, the lines vary with the situation and sounds the fittest on character of every age. Those scenes explains you life where drunk father-in-law emotionally tortures, where real father has embarrassing sex-talks with growing daughter in front of her brother, where mother breaks in tears and admitting to her son that her life was a failure, and many many more.

By cast, Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette put a heavy-muscle of acting under their belt to beautify the characters and help the movie look more palpable. Growing up kids Ellar and director’s daughter Lorelei are the soul of movie with enough credit to their acceptance of change and growth of mentality over their roles. Judging their acting skills will be naive but plotting their lifetime one-role work towards heavy pull for any nominations will equally be wrong. Background score and selection of soundtracks and their filming is journey like a walk with a whistle.

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As far as direction is concerned, I guess every award function should ignore recalling the nominations for ‘Best Director’ and blindly call Linklater’s name to the stage. To me this easily is one of director’s finest work ever. You hardly will see an inch of difference in 12-year direction as the movie was shot with an incomplete plot. The script was written every year and inspired from life experiences of participating major actors. Ethan Hawke’s character was based on his real-life father and Patricia’s role was inspired from her real-life mother. 

Boyhood reaches to viewers of all ages and is unanimously acceptable to almost every viewer. Like I said above, the movie is a study of boy’s 11-year life. It is a must-watch and coming of all ages a generation-periodic movie. The movie is a wake-up call for parents and awareness-alert for the growing and grown-up kids.

Ratings: 9.3/10

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