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Oscars 2016- Sexual and Gender Variance Films

It’s Oscar season and the #OscarsSoWhite controversy (a very important one) has made this year’s awards ceremony more than just that, calling attention to a much bigger issue of the lack of diversity in the Academy as well as the nominees. However, it’s also worth mentioning that this year two films have called attention to something very important. Sexual and gender variance.

While The Danish Girl is concerned with gender dysphoria and cross gender identification, Spotlight exposes sexual deviance in the form of pedophilia among Catholic priests.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/the-danish-girl/true-story-lili-elbe-transgender/

The Danish Girl tells the story of Lili Elbe, the first to become a transgender woman through a series of risk-ladden surgeries in the early 1900’s. While Eddie Redmayne as Einar/Lili was commendable as was Alicia Vikander, who played his wife Gerda, there was something ineffably missing for me in the film, leaving me with no emotional reaction or connection to it. However, The Danish Girl made me think which is perhaps more important.

Thinking of the risk Einar had taken in order to fully realise Lili’s presence made me question to what extent would you go to be who you really are. It’s terrifying and requires a great deal of courage which Lili demonstrated in a time when there was less understanding of transgender issues.  So The Danish Girl at least works on that level, if not an emotional drama.

Spotlight, however, was the film of the year for me. I was enveloped in the story, having watched it three times in one week. The film portrays the Boston Globe’s investigation on pedophilia among priests and highlights the the fact that, while less common, it is possible for men of religion to abuse their so-called power. When sexually deviant priests molest and abuse children, majority of whom are young boys, not only do they cause psychological damage but they destroy someone’s faith in religion which is inadmissible. This is the one of the most dangerous things because as it was said in the film, how do you say no to God?

Maybe pray you never have to.

I sincerely hope Spotlight wins Best Picture,  having my fingers crossed for it to get it’s well-deserved recognition. Though Revenant is favoured to win big, I hope this film doesn’t get sidelined in the process.

The Flash Review: Speeding through Season 1

With a rapid and viral influx of superhero movies, TV shows and the endless spin-offs, it’s been hard for me to find the ones I actually like. The last one I saw was Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D  and it was not my cup of tea so since then I steered clear of TV superhero adaptations. Yet, I’m glad I didn’t avoid them for too long, because The Flash caught up to me and though I have never liked a spin off in my entire life, this one took me by surprise.

Having just finished the first season, I  may be late in jumping on this band wagon but I’m here for the ride now. Not everyone is though. Someone said to me that it’s predictable in how there’s action and The Flash will always save the day and then there’s some sentimentality thrown in the mix to humanize it but to that I say, welcome to the superhero genre because that’s the formula right there.

However, The Flash is a more fun offering from DC, with great visual effects and action sequences that aren’t mindless flashiness to make up for a contrived plot. That’s what appealed to me the most.  Not only are the sets and the cast brilliant, but the story balances everything pretty well, being enjoyable and serious all at once. Surprisingly, Grant Gustin is great at carrying the show  as an adorkable lead considering tha I first saw him on Glee as the detestable Sebastian Smythe.

Some other people I know who’ve watched the show commented on its unrealistic twists and this I suppose had to do with the time paradox in the second half of the first season, which had the opposite effect on me because I’ve always been fascinated with them. I think the paradox works really well on The Flash. What didn’t work so well was the Grodd story line which was more than unnecessary, in my opinion, and the good thing is that that is pretty much my only major criticism because I am hooked to this show.

Yet, what I liked the most was the diversity on the show and the counter-stereotypes you can see. The captain of Central City Police is a gay Indian, a white kid being fostered by a black family, and then there’s the lovable Cisco Ramone without whom this show wouldn’t have been as humorous. Not only is there no white saviour tripe to roll your eyes at but in terms of parents, fathers are finally given their due. Barry’s relationships with his actual father and Joe, who raises him as his own, are touching and for once, show men having some god damn emotions. Hell, we’ve got a superhero who cries and I like it. Way to challenge the stereotype that ‘real men don’t cry’. Plus, in the love triangle, it’s nice that Eddie and Barry aren’t enemies but rather work together and neither of their characters is portrayed in black and white.

Overall, The Flash deserves a huge thumbs up and if you haven’t watched this show yet, I’d suggest you get right on it. Who knows,you just may binge-watch it in a flash (pardon the pun), just like I did.