Sunday, 6 February 2011

"The days of Pearly Spencer" written and sung by David McWilliams

I heard this song discussed on the radio recently, loved the sound of the lyrics and looked it up.  Here is the version I liked best:


I found it unexpectedly moving, and the sight of fresh-faced McWilliams in this very simple and decidedly dated video took me back down the years.  The lyrics describe poverty and loss with care and a degree of tender feeling.  These sorts of ballads keep us awake to aspects of the world around us from which we tend to turn aside.

Later note:
Dear me, EMI has blocked access to the above video from this part of the world!  I hope you can see it from where ever it is that you live!

David McWilliams died in 2002 when he was 56.  My father was the same age when he died many years earlier.  Both died from heart attacks.  What a waste.  Rest in peace, both of you.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

"Lars and the real girl"

IMBD link: Lars and the real girl (2007):
Mental health issues are seldom talked about openly, and it's only when one does so that one discovers how pervasive these troubles are.  In this sensitive movie in which a young man develops a delusion to compensate for a long suppressed overwhelming loss we see how a family struggles to cope with a bizarre and very public display of abnormality: Lars belief that his life-size doll is his real flesh and blood girl friend.  

The pathos generated in the movie is intense, suspending audiences between laughter and tears.  From reviews I have read I see that many people regard it as a comedy of sorts whereas I did not see it that way at all.

Ryan Gosling gives a stellar performance as Lars, which had me in tears a number of times as I watched him stumble his way through his difficulties.  The local doctor persuades his family, and through them the rest of the villagers, to take his delusion at face value, which provides a strange pathway back to a reality more recognisable as 'normal' to the rest of us. 

Emily Mortimer as sister-in-law Karin, and Patricia Clarkson as Dagmar, the local doctor who treats Lars by creative stealth, also give moving performances.  But the movie and Lars revolve primarily around the doll, Bianca, who provides the perfect quiet foil for Lars fiercely guarded inner world.

In this interview on CW11 Ryan Gosling talks about taking on a doll as a co-star and his reaction to Bianca when he first met her. 


For those who have already seen and enjoyed the movie I have included the video below which contains a selection of the movie's poignant moments.  If you haven't seen it you may wish to pass over this treat until you have done so, so that you can enjoy the movie freshly for yourself.


This brief clip featuring the teddy bear scene more fully is an indication of Ryan's acting talent as well as his charm:


My compliments to all the actors who contributed to this special movie.  I award bouquets also to the writer, Nancy Oliver, and director, Craig Gillespie.

Note: I have omitted the official movie trailer as it makes the movie look trashy, a point echoed by each of those people who have posted it on YouTube.