Monday, May 11, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire


In many words: This is one of the best movies I have seen all year. In fact, this movie is easily in my top 3 favorite movies (The Last Samurai, Lord Of The Rings, and Slumdog Millionaire). Slumdog Millionaire is a story about an orphaned boy who made it onto the T.V. show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. When Jamal is 1 question away from winning 1 Million Rupee's he is arrested and charged with cheating. The police interrogate him (Jack Bauer style) but find out that he knew the answers not because he went to school and had knowledge, but because of where is life led him as a young orphan. The movie flashes back to his youth as he explains how he knew each answer.
Slumdog Millionaire left me feeling sad, happy, entranced, angered, compassionate, free, stunned, delighted, smiling and uplifted. I have not stopped thinking about this movie all weekend and plan on purchasing it soon. I will be watching it often and I look forward to the day when I can share this movie with my kids. The music defiantly helped sell the movie for me, we purchased the soundtrack and have listened to it all weekend.
This movie is rated R because of torture and violence. However, after telling my kids the story of the movie there were 3 scenes I let my children see. I believe that the story was told so beautifully I wanted to share that with my kids. I would not let my children watch the entire show, just enough for them to get the point. My husband and I did have to turn on the subtitles after about 10 minutes of trying to decipher the English. I am glad we did, it really helped us with words we would have otherwise missed. I recommend this movie to any adult who wishes to be inspired.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Jodi Picoult

April was the month of Picoult for me. I started listening to My Sister's Keeper on my iPod while reading The Pact without considering what my mental state would be at the end of the month.
I will start my reviews with My Sister's Keeper. It is a book about a family with a child suffering from leukemia. Because of this, Anna was conceived as a "harvest child" and genetically engineered, through in vitro fertilization, so that she would be a genetic match for her older sister Kate. When Anna was born, her cord blood was donated to her sister, but when the leukemia returned she then had to donate blood and bone marrow. Kate's kidney's fail when she is sixteen and Anna is thirteen. Kate's only chance for survival is a kidney transplant. Because she would be a closer match than an unrelated donor and no other family member is a match, Anna is expected to donate one of her own kidneys to save her sister. Anna decides to hire a lawyer to become medically emancipated from her parents in order to gain the right to make decisions about her "donateable" body parts. Her parents, mainly her mother, fight her every step of the way refusing to see Anna's or Kate's needs over the need to have a child live.
This book was a soul searching journey for me. I do not have a terminally ill child, but I do have a child with a disability and he needs a lot of extra love, care, money, and time. As mad as I was at Anna's mother it forced me to my knees when I thought of what I would and DO do for my child. I realized how much my other children suffer at the face of H. This book made me look hard at the deep love I do have for my 2 older children. I see the pain in their eyes every time we have an "unfair" moment at our house, while simultaneously seeing the pain in the eyes of H because his LIFE is "unfair". I am a mother stuck between a rock and a hard place which, much to my displeasure, made me identify to the mother in this novel. I hated her but I understood her. At one point in the book Sara, the mother, has no sympathy for Anna (who is in pain after donating marrow to Kate) when Kate has pain every day of her life. The realization made my toes curl and my fists clench...until I remembered the lack of empathy I have for my 2 children. Painfully I remembered thoughts such as: "I expect this from H, I should not have to deal with it from you" or "you have no right to complain about how hard your life is...have you seen your brother's lately?". I was horrified at the face in the mirror.
This book had me in tears daily, mourning their sick daughter, their "not sick" daughter, and "not there" son. I looked into my heart and saw how much each of my children mean to me individually and am trying to express that to them. I believe reading this book has made me a better mother and person. I recommend this book to anyone, yet I have no desire to re-live it through the movie coming out in June.

Now, onto The Pact. One word: Haunting. This novel terrified me, angered me, stunned me (as in taser-stunned). Here it is in a nutshell: A suicide pact between a boy and a girl. One dies, one lives.
If you are a parent continue reading at your own risk...For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born. So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There is still a bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. After an autopsy Chris is taken into custody and a trial takes place.
This book for me was like driving down the freeway and seeing a horrible car wreck. You know that whatever you see will haunt you forever, yet you can't look away. Both sets of parents dealt with the tragedy differently yet horribly. The raw fact that your child could be suffering for YEARS and you, as the mother or father did not know it, was too much for my heart. Micheal, Emily's father, took the stand and said something to the effect of: it is easier to point the finger than to admit that you did not know your daughter was in pain, that you failed her. (And the tears for all the wrongs you have done as a parent start to flow). In my mind there was no good way to end the book, too many lives were shattered by horror to pick up the pieces and go on. This tragedy is truly the definition of hell for a parent. Even so, the actual ending was very very disappointing more so because of the authors admission to "not wanting to get hate mail". I think Picoult knew how the book needed to end, but took it the other way and I was not impressed. I would not recommend this book and pray they do not make it into a movie!
Both of these books really made me look inside myself and face the demons that we all have. My best friend once said, "It is the realization that hurts the most". After reading these books I understand what she means I have always known-but facing them hurts worse than the knowledge of them.
Now that I have finished these 2 books I will be taking a couple weeks to recover in the sun thinking happy thoughts of my children's future before I start 19 minutes, another one of Picoult's books that is sure to throw my emotions into a tailspin...I know, I know, gluten for punishment.