Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Albums!!! Exciting Times!!!

So I feel like a giddy schoolboy anticipating Christmas day! I have recently learned that two of my favorite bands are releasing new albums and I cannot wait to purchase the music. In the meantime, it is as if the music is nicely wrapped in Christmas paper and I have quietly stolen away under the Christmas tree to peel back the wrapping to see what is inside--I can thank youtube for allowing me a peak. :)
The first band is my all-time favorite: a-ha. Their album "Foot of the Mountain" has already been released in Germany (they have a German label) and will be released in the UK in just a couple of days. a-ha has always produced excellent music and in my opinion have gotten better and better as the years have passed. Check out the music video for "Foot of the Mountain" (an excellent song from the new album):

a-ha consist of the three original band members and various other musicians that contribute to their work. The three original members are Morten Harket, Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, and Magne Furuholmen. "Foot of the Mountain" is a re-working of one of Magne Furuholmen's songs from his solo project. The original song is called "The Longest Night" and can be viewed here:

The interesting thing with a-ha is that all three members embark on their own side projects and then come back together to create work for a-ha. They often times will borrow ideas and songs from their side work, as is seen from the previous youtube posting. Needless to say, I am super excited to purchase the new album (and if you like a-ha and Magne f, you need to check out Savoy--Paul Waaktaar-Savoy's band--"Whalebone" is an excellent song off of their album "Songbook")!

Another of my favorite bands is Kings of Convenience. They have not released an album in 5 years, which has been driving me crazy as I love their music and style (If they keep produce music over the next 25 years like a-ha has done, they have the potential of one day becoming my all-time favorite, but it will be difficult to unseat a-ha from that standing). What has helped over that period of time is the fact that Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe have both been working on side projects of their own. Best known would be Erlend's work with a band called The Whitest Boy Alive (he has also done some electronic music under his own name). As much as I like WBA, it doesn't touch KOC. Anyhow, KOC's album is scheduled for release this coming Autumn, but once more, youtube has given us a little offering of their new music. This song is titled "Mrs. Cold" (such a great song):

Needless to say, I am bubbling over with excitement with all of this new music coming out (I've heard that Acid House Kings are also supposed to be coming out with a new album--how awesome will that be!). Hooray for a-ha and KOC!

And just to tide you over, here is a song by "The Whitest Boy Alive" called "Figures":

Oh, and I almost forgot, here we can see an example in style and tribute--apparently, Kings of Convenience are also fans of a-ha. Manhattan Skyline was written and performed by a-ha back in the 80s. Kings of Convenience ended up covering it with their unique style. Check out the original by a-ha:

. . . and the cover by Kings of Convenience:

I hope that you have enjoyed these little clips of both new and old music. . . be sure to check out the new albums when they are released! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

First Fruits

It has been two months since I moved into my new house and what I have been focusing on the most is my backyard. The first thing that I had done upon moving in was to rip up a section of dead grass (all of the grass was dead as the home was bank owned--hence no watering since March) on the western wall wherein I planted a garden. I also purchased several fruit trees which I planted along the perimeter. Needless to say, my yard now consists of several fruit and vegetable bearing plants and trees. My vegetable garden consists of the following: radishes, carrots, onions (chives), beets, peppers, basil, parsely, dill, lavender, lettuce, broccoli, beef tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, watermelon, brussel sprouts, beans, peas, and corn. Fruit trees planted on the perimeter include: peach, apricot, pear, apple, avacado, mandarin orange, valencia orange, and lemon. I have also planted berry bushes along the perimeter including: strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry (there are also grapes which were growing from the previous owner). Finally, I have also created an herb garden wherein I have planted: basil, sage, rosemary, parsely, dill, oregano, thyme, chives, mint, and tarragon. Needless to say, I am excited to try my hand in the gardening world. I am learning through experience, considering that I have never gardened in my life. So far, it is working out well. The fruit trees will need a few years to grow before producing fruit and some of the plants are still growing before they will be old enough to produce, but a few have already come to fruition. As such, I have recently had occasion to harvest a little. I have already tried the radish, lettuce, peas, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and grapes. I've also used some of the herbs in various dishes that I have cooked up. It is nice having a little fresh produce right in my own yard. Needless to say, I am hoping that I will be harvesting more soon.
Considering that I would like to harvest vegetables and fruits over a prolonged period of time, I have spent this past weekend preparing some barren ground for a second garden. This area was all dirt and weeds and is located in an area where the sprinkler system does not cover. I spent many hours chopping up the ground with a pick-axe, then shoveling the dirt over before tilling and hoeing it. I then added in several bags of potting soil which I mixed with the original dirt before planting. I am now thinking of extending the original garden to twice its size and beginning a crop rotation. If all goes according to plan I should have an excess of produce with which to share with all of my local friends and family.
Finally, I am thinking about creating a third garden to be used by any of my friends who would like to try their hand at gardening. I would prepare the soil and will take care of the watering. If any friends are interested, they may plant whatever crops they like and would be responsible for weeding and feeding the garden and, of course, harvesting their own crop. I mention this idea only because I have had a few friends who expressed an interest in such before I moved into the home. If anyone is interested, please let me know and I will get started on preparing a new garden asap.
Furthermore, now that I have more or less settled into my new home and the garden is underway, I feel that it is time I start having people over for dinner (I've had people over for bbq on several occasions already, but I'm thinking of branching out into a wider array of dishes). I've always preferred to cook for others rather than just cooking for myself, so if anyone is interested, please let me know and we will figure out some dishes that are tempting to the palette. Simply leave a comment, send an email, give me a call, or fire off a text letting me know that you are interested, when you are available, and what type of dishes you would like to try. . . Once I have mastered it all, perhaps I will have you all over for my own version of Babbette's Feast!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

In Memoriam: Astrid Lydia Stenersen Hall (November 17, 1907-July 11, 2009

Yesterday was quite eventful. I was busy from morning until evening between hiking with a colleague and visiting with a friend who had made a spontaneous trip from out of town. I was so busy that I missed a few phone calls. Having found the time in the evening to check the messages, I discovered the sad and happy news that my Grandmother passed away that afternoon. It is sad that I will not be able to visit with my grandmother more in this life. She was a great woman and I made sure to visit her in Salt Lake City as often as possible (over the past few years I would make a trip each winter and summer--fortunately, this past winter I made the trip and interviewed her both on voice recording and video). It is happy news in that my grandmother had lived a full and happy life--she was one-hundred-and-one-years-old. She had mentioned to me on previous visits that she was happy with her life and that she was ready to go to the next life whenever the Lord wanted to take her. This is quite understandable as all of her family and friends had previously passed away. All she had left was her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. It is nice having a knowledge of the plan of salvation--understanding that through the atonement of Jesus Christ all will live again, being resurrected, reuniting body and spirit, and that in the realm of spirits my grandmother would be in the presence of old friends and family. Also, that one day I, too, will be reunited with them all.
My grandmother meant a lot to me. Many of my friends falsely assume that I served a mission in Norway due to my interest in the language and the country. This is not the case. My interest in Norway comes from my grandmother. She was born in Kristiania, Norway (present day Oslo) and moved to the United States in her late teens. Hers was a busy and difficult lifestyle in Norway, with all her family working at the match factory and with her delivering newspapers to make a little extra money in order to save up to come to the United States. While she did not get to travel much in Norway (spending most of her time in Kristiania with an occasional trip to Kristiansand to visit relatives), she was able to find enjoyment in life and to make the most of her experiences. She marveled at how much of Norway and Sweden through which I have had opportunity to travel. She would often state that I know more of her homeland than she (which may be true as far as seeing the country, but she actually lived the culture, custom, and lifestyle which is an experience that I shall never have--she is truly Norwegian as I am simply an observer of Norway). As a child I enjoyed viewing all of the knick-knacks that she had around her house from Norway and Sweden (her husband was Swedish), and as I grew older I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity that I had to visit with her one on one and to learn of her life, her family history, and her views on the world. I am going to miss those conversations and will treasure the memories that I have of them.
In memory of my Grandmother I should like to include a few journal entries that I have recorded over the years that capture some of the knowledge, information, and experiences that I have had in connection with visiting her in Salt Lake (I will skip over some parts of journal entries when the information is either too private or does not relate to a connection with my grandmother):

AUGUST 30, 2001
. . . "After hiking the mountain we drove down to Mirror Lake and ate lunch. This is the lake my father would take us boys to go fishing when we were young and up visiting family in Utah. This is the same lake that my great-grandfather Stenersen would take his grandchildren camping (my uncle Einar and my father). Uncle Einar pointed out a lot of the landmarks that he remembers from those days. I even saw a small portion of the old dirt road that they would come in on--it is now covered with overbrush. Einar told me that my great-grandfather used to camp with another Norwegian friend of his his. This friend once pulled Einar aside during one of their camping trips and told him that his grandfather Stenersen is the only human being that he has ever known who he has not heard speak ill of anybody ever. Quite the compliment.
This evening the Hall family got together to have a Dinner. It as good to see everyone. Aunt Judy recently took a trip to Washington and found some Scandinavian shops there. She bought a Norwegian calendar and a cast-iron with which to make Kremkaker. She gave these two items to me.
After the dinner when everyone parted their several ways, I spent a couple of hours talking with my grandmother Hall. She related many events both in Norway and in the United States to me. The following are some of the brief highlights from the conversation:
Great-Grandfather Stenersen--(my grandmother's father)--He supported three families throughout the great depression. He worked on the theater building at the University of Utah (I forgot the name of the building) and constantly kept it in top shape--polishing the brass doors and all. He constatnly stressed the importance of being on time to things and instilled it in his family. He was a heavy smoker and would drink on occasion. He stayed at home while his wife and daughters would attend church in Norway. Eventually he began coming to church, sitting in the back pew. This trend continued in the United States. One evening he came home and told his wife, 'I've done something today that you will be pleased with--I met with the missionaries and got baptized.' Though he was a heavy smoker, he quit cold-turkey and never returned to the habit. His comment on quitting smoking (or anything for that matter): 'You don't wean yourself off of it, you quit. If you make a decision you follow through with it fully committed.' Of course, these aren't his exact words but the general idea. When he died the University of Utah flew its flags half-mast in his honor.
Great-Grandma Stenersen--(my grandmother's mother)--She grew up in Norway and boarded with a family in Oslo (a Lutheran family). She attended church services with the Salvation Army and one day the family that she boarded with said, 'You attend the Salvation Army services. . . you had ought to go to one of the Mormon services and see what they are all about.' She did so and after attending the first meeting she knew that it was the true church of Jesus Christ. She joined the church and immediately began saving money to come to Utah, for she wanted the blessings of the temple in her life. She worked hard and disciplined the children (her husband never raised his voice or uttered a cross word at his daughters--he always turned that over to their mother). When my grandmother married, great-grandma took her aside and explained what was expected of a good housewife and why that was the case. My grandmother treated my grandfather like a king ever since that day. When they were living back in Norway, she was very frugal, yet she made sure that her daughters were the best dressed girls at church.
Judith Stenersen--(my grandmother's sister)--She grew up at home while my grandmother grew up at her grandparents. Their grandparents did not live far away and they all saw each other daily. Judith was out cross-country skiing with a friend once (as they often went skiing) when the two young girls discovered they were lost. Judith's friend said that Judith should pray. She did and a short time later a man appeared and gave them directions as to how to return to their home. After the man had gone they noticed that he had left no tracks in the snow. They arrived home safely.
Returning to my great-grandmother Stenersen--Norway is predominantly Lutheran in their faith. All of my great-grandmother's neighbors were such and they all greatly respected her and her family (especially the religion she was associated with). They used to say, 'The Mormon family can do no wrong.' Once their was a great flu epidemic which passed through the community wherein many people died. The whole community feared contracting the ailment and were fearful of preparing the dead for burial. They asked my great-grandmother to do the job, saying, 'You are a Mormon--you will not get sick.' My great-grandmother washed and prepared the bodies for burial and sure enough, she never contracted the ailment. Such was the respect for the Stenersen family and their religion.
There is so much more to write which I learned from my conversation with my grandmother this evening, but it is late and I am extremely tired. I hope that I will remember the others and find the time to write them down in this journal."

"I attended sacrament meeting with my grandmother and was impressed with the testimonies which were shared. Most of all I appreciated the background noise of children. I observed many children today and was humored by their innocence and joy. The children are so cute and precious, it makes me look forward to having a family of my own. I was also impressed with the elderly individuals in the ward. The service simply had a feeling of being complete. I enjoy the young single adult ward which I attend back home and I truly feel the spirit there, but it does lack that feeling of being complete--of including the whole spectrum of the human experience. It has really made me want to move on with my progression in life and being my own family.
My grandmother cooked a nice Sunday dinner which I really enjoyed. She says it is the first time she has cooked on Sunday since grandpa died. She and Gladys have treated me like a king and have my stay both comfortable and enjoyable. I am indebted to their kindness and love. . ."

APRIL 14, 2002
"I drove from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City yesterday, arriving sometime after nine o'clock in the evening, local time. I was amazingly exhausted, yet made a few phone calls before chatting a bit with my grandmother and aunt Gladys. I then descended to the quaint room in the basement which I love so much--it has a fascinating character all its own which seems to transport me to another time and place. I feel at home with wood paneled walls and the old photographs, ceramic and copper artifacts (many of which are from the old homeland) and the books whose mysterious pages beckon to me. The foreign words I trip my tongue over like a small boy pretending to read and to comprehend. I spent a short time perusing through these articles, reminiscing and longing for that which haunts me with its ever elusive nature. I quickly read my scriptures and offered up a prayer to my Father (who, might I add, has been extremely patient and long-suffering with me) and straightway climbed into that most inviting bed.
I attended church with grandma and Gladys. I laughed inwardly as the words of many speakers from my home stake who have visited the Claremont 3rd ward resounded in my mind: 'It is so quiet here--I love the sound of silence and the reverence associated with it that is found in a young single adult ward such as this.' I laughed inwardly, for I felt exactly the opposite as I sat in the midst of this family ward, with all the sounds of babies crying children talking, parents shushing, and elderly people coughing. yes, it is so noisy here--I love the sound of noise which represents the whole human family, the whole spectrum of mortality, the whole of human experience. It was truly a joy to my ears and to my heart. . .

APRIL 15, 2002
"I arose this morning with the hopes of going for a ride on my mountain bike through the majesty of Utah's nature; however, Utah's nature had something else in mind. Ominous clouds blanketed the sky and rough winds raged through the valley so I opted not to go biking. Instead, I spent the morning conversing with my grandmother. She did most of the talking and I did most of the listening, which is just the way I like it. I already know my thoughts and am far more interested in what other people have to say--especially my grandmother with her ninety-four years of experience. I learn a lot listening to her--not only of family history but concerning life in general.
I went downtown for a couple of hours this afternoon and did some shopping at the mall. I purchased a new cd-tape convertor for the car to play my walkman on, some new shoes for formal occasions and a few reading books for young shcool children in Norwegian titled, 'Lesaboka for Grunnskolen.' One day I will learn Norwegian and what better place to start than with children's literature. I've already skimmed through them and am able to comprehend the gist of a few of the poems and stories, but for the most part my understanding is lacking.
I returned to my grandmother's house and descended into my basement room where I began grading some of my students' papers. After an hour of so doing I became restless with the thought of such a perfectly good storm raging outside while I sat comfortably indoors. I was reminded of this as the wind suddenly blew open one of the windows in my basement room and went howling about the contours of my surroundings. Startled, i arose and closed the window tightly. I then grabbed my jacket, ascended the stairs and took leave of the house so that I might enjoy the mighty winds. I climbed atop the old chicken coupe and faced the wind allowing it to slash all about me. It was wonderful at first, but so much dust had been kicked up by the winds that its sediments lodged within my eyes. I had to turn my back to the wind for this purpose. The sky was black with dust and the mountain peaks which stand so close to my grandmother's house were not at all visible. I could see small speckles of sediment falling like raindrops from the sky, The trees whipped wildly about, thrashing their arms through the air and wires wobbled like angry jump-ropes bent on snapping a child. I could feel parts of the old coupe rumble from under me and many times the gusts knocked me off of balance. there I stood, then sat for some twenty minutes. No rain. It would have been better had there been rain--less dust and dirt to be reckoned with and more of nature. . .
I then went to dinner with grandma, Gladys, Judy, Erin, Danny, and Danny's friend. It was an enjoyable meal at the Olive Garden and an interesting group to interact with and to observe. It began to rain at this point, starting with mud droplets which plastered my coat. Finally, regular rain came down, the winds subsided and the temperature dropped.
I spent the evening watching an old black and white film with grandma and gladys, I was strewn comfortably across the couch, After the film I called Sanna and we arranged to go to dinner tomorrow night at 6 p.m. despite her busy schedule and finals."

AUGUST 23, 2007
". . . Sunday was a day full of visiting and fostering relationships. I spent time visiting with my grandmother and aunt Gladys, Ardis Penrod and his family, the Stirlings, and Valarie and her husband. That evening I went for a walk through various neighborhoods. Upon my return I climbed up on top of the chicken coupe and enjoyed a strong, warm breeze, the view of the stars and clouds, and the sounds of cars, crickets, and the wind. I spent a good half an hour simply discovering shapes in the clouds. Among other things I saw a troll, dragon, dinosaur (which was wearing a party hat and eating stars), and alligator, alien, dog, lizard, skull, man, shark, dolphin, and a sea-horse. I am easily entertained.
I shall like to shift my subject from what I did during my trip to what I had learned. What I had learned falls into two categories: first, what I have learned through discussions and observations, and second, what I have learned through my own thoughts. I shall begin with the most important discussions that I had had--those with my grandmother, Astrid Hall.
My discussion with my grandmother focused primarily upon life in Norway and gradually spilled over into life in America. I learned that my great-grandparents and their peers enjoyed going for walks through the forests and would take buckets and scoops along with them, whereby they would scoop up wild blueberries and bring buckets full home. The kids would then separate the blueberries from the leaves in the buckets and the families would make jam. I also learned that my great-grandfather loved to go for solitary walks in the forest before church. Additionally, it was customary for young adults to go for walks as dates, I found all of this quite fascinating and rather revealing of my own character. I love solitary hikes through nature, long walks through the city, and my favorite thing to do on dates is to walk and talk with my date (whether it is through a park, by shops, or at a museum--it is the walking and talking that fascinates me the most). I suppose it is simply in my genetic make-up to be predisposed to such activities. I also learned about the first time my great-grandmother Stenersen saw a car. Apparently it came speeding around a corner and my great-grandmother was in the middle of the street. Amazed at the sight of such a thing, she did not know what to do. The driver of the car noticing her confusion yelled out, 'Stand still' and simply swerved around her. I also learned of some great advice on healthy living from my great-grandfather Stenersen which I really need to learn to apply. So as to avoid overeating, his motto was 'Stop eating when the food tastes the best.' I had also learned that my grandmother had a strict upbringing and that she and her sister loved it when their mom was away and dad alone was left to watch them. At such times he would lighten up and play with the girls. My grandmother's fondest such memory was of how he would make the girls laugh by impersonating Charlie Chaplin.
Once in the United States my grandmother found work as a maid for one Mrs. Reynolds who my grandmother greatly respects and admires. Mrs. Reynolds was very kind to my grandmother and taught her what true equality means as she stated, 'If you earn your money honestly you are as good a person as anyone else.' As Mrs. Reynolds was wealthy, she thought herself no better than my grandmother who worked hard for an honest living. My grandmother (Norwegian) met my grandfather (Swedish) at a dance that was a part of a Scandinavian conference for the church. They were introduced at the dance by a mutual friend and began their courtship shortly thereafter. They dated one another for about a year, at which time my grandmother grew impatient with his having not proposed marriage, so she tole him, 'Either you marry me or I am going to move to New York with some of my friends' (they were living in Utah at the time). My grandfather thought about it briefly, then retrieving a wad of money he had been saving, handed my grandmother the money and told her to go buy a ring. . . "


Hedda Gabbler

Some 15+ years ago, when I was living with my parents, I decided to rummage through my parents' bookshelves in the front room to see what I could find. I came across a book full of plays by Henrik Ibsen. I knew nothing of Ibsen at the time--I had never heard of him or any of his works. I thumbed through the book and the title of a particular play captured my attention: Ghosts. Hmmm. . . that is an interesting title for a play, I thought, so I began to read. I was intrigued. It was strange how I could not seem to put the book down. Was I actually enjoying reading drama? By plays end I was hooked on the content and style of Henrik Ibsen. Since that time I have read and seen many of Ibsen's plays and I can honestly say that he is my favorite playwright. I have read eleven of his plays and have seen several of his plays in live performances. Anytime I learn of an Ibsen play being performed somewhere near where I live I absolutely must purchase two tickets--one for myself, and of course, one for a date. Needless to say, I was bummed about a month ago when I discovered that there was a performance of Ghosts in Los Angeles, but that the production had just run its course the week before I had learned about it. Needless to say, one might imagine the excitement that I had this past week when searching the internet for plays, to discover a small theater in Los Angeles performing Ibsen's Hedda Gabbler!
Hedda Gabbler, like many of Ibsen's plays, is a dark psychological study in character and circumstance. One may learn a lot about self, others, and society at large through Ibsen's works. Because of the "heavy" themes that course their way through Ibsen's plays, I have to be careful as to who I decide to take out. To take a woman to an Ibsen play who is neither educated nor well-rounded would be a mistake. Apparently, I made a wise selection with whom I had invited out as I discovered afterward that she both enjoyed the play and had intelligent insights concerning the plot and characterization.
I have seen Hedda Gabbler performed before--ten years ago to be exact, at the Geffen Playhouse staring Annette Benning. Friday night's performance was done well, but was quite different from the Geffen performance (I actually prefer the Geffen as it remained more true to the original whereas Friday's performance was placed into more Modern, American times). That is not to take away from the performance at the Ark Theater--it was well done and well worth the money spent. It was simply different. The Geffen performance was more subtle in its troubled portrayal of Hedda whereas the Ark performance was more pointed. Both approaches have their strengths, but from my perspective their is something more pressing upon the soul and psyche when subtle nuances reveal disturbing characteristics. Regardless, the Ark performance was a success and I rather enjoyed the experience.
I would take the time to offer some analysis regarding the themes, plot, and characterization from the play, but that I shall save for anyone who would like to discuss it in person. Besides, it may not be a bad idea for whomever may be reading this post to pick up a copy of Hedda Gabbler and read it for oneself, to form one's own opinions, and to grapple with one's own interpretation of meaning. Then a discussion would be much more intriguing. Of course, if you haven't read or seen any Ibsen before, then I suggest looking into some of his other plays first. My favorite are: An Enemy of the People, A Doll's House, The Wild Duck, and Ghosts. Any of these would be a great introduction into the style of Ibsen. What I shall leave you with is a poem that I had written some ten years ago, following the Geffen performance of Hedda Gabbler.


The human art of suffering,
The art of the repressed
Appears upon the stage before my sullen eyes caressed.
How great the inner struggle of a strange, diverting mind
That thrashes through the inner soul, that thrashes now through mine.
Ah, I see the charact'ry,
The strong and the naive,
The base, the cunning, and the fool, each wanting to believe
In something grand and distant,
Something more--
And in pursuit what we abhor
Emerges from the great abyss
Of want and lonely longingness.
O, the passion! O, the rage!
O, the cunning of the sage
Whose dream and vision of these lives
become our own. . . become our own. . .
To laugh, to cry, to love, to hate,
To act in reason, to act irate.
Is this the span of misery, of life of longing to be free?
Free of vain society?
Free of one's propriety?
Free of cause and of effect?
Free of personal regret?
Freedom in the soul discrete saved from
A blinded longing
Is found within obedience,
No want of a belonging,
Nor in pursuit of a revenge, nor in a mended dream,
For all in life when viewed ideal
Is nothing what it seems.
And how the course of mad pursuit
Is stocked within the raging heart,
Unyielding to reason's request,
But trusting vain passions, no less,
That inward are unbridled.
And how this course, a darkly sight,
Leads to a morbid ending
When actions thought to hide the truth
In death prove a pretending.

--Brett Hall (April 4, 1999)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Remains of the Day

Yesterday I had a couple of hours between church and a family dinner at my house so I decided to put on a movie and relax. I looked through my collection and decided on a film of which I had never before heard before I had purchased it but that looked interesting (it helped that it is a double feature dvd, the second film being Sense and Sensibility--one can never go wrong with a story by Jane Austen). So I put "Remains of the Day" into my dvd player and began an unheard of film. Wow!!! I was riveted by the film. It is a hauntingly beautiful and sad story. I imagine that the film moves much too slow for most of my friends to enjoy. Most guys would be bored by it as it contains a love story with no action or comedy, and most girls that I know would be frustrated by it as the love story proves tragic and perhaps distant from their own life experiences--but so as not to ruin the movie for anyone who wishes to watch it, redemption may take place at the end after the long drawn out tragedy. . . maybe. . .
Needless to say, the film contains superb acting by both Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. Seriously, I've always liked Emma Thompson, but I believe that her acting in this film has just boosted her into the category of my favorite actress--she is nothing less than amazing! I don't believe that I have ever seen two actors who are able to capture such believable emotion (the kind that is deeply felt and steadfastly restrained) in their dialogue, facial expression, and body language. Even though the lives and circumstances of the characters are so far removed from my own, I could not help feeling for them. . .
Great acting and a great film. It is too bad that most of you will not appreciate such a film, but to the few of you out there (and I do have a few friends that I know would really appreciate this film) who love good stories and great acting, this is one that you must place on your list to see.