Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)
This is a very bizarre movie about a woman accused of insanity after her cousin dies on their vacation. You can tell it was based on a play (by Tennessee Williams) due to its being composed mainly of very long monologues (the highlight being a trippy speech given by Kathrine Hepburn playing a crazed Miss Havisham-like character). The ending is extremely macabre, but it stuck with me and carried with it the closure of a sinister poetic justice. There is a lot of Freudian stuff in this one which makes it feel dated, but honestly, I didn’t hate it.
A Patch of Blue (1965)
Sidney Poitier plays a compassionate office worker who befriends a young blind woman at the park on his lunch breaks. Little does he know that Selina (Elizabeth Hartman) suffers more from her abusive family than her lack of sight, and when her trauma meets his kindness, she has a hard time letting go. I couldn’t give this film less than 5 stars. While parts of it were a bit 60s-dated, nevertheless it was a painfully beautiful film from start to finish, albeit extremely depressing. It ought to be seen once, but maybe not again.
The Letter (1940)
I was excited to watch this movie because it is based on a story by W. Somerset Maugham, who wrote the wonderful The Painted Veil and The Razor’s Edge. Alas his brilliance doesn’t quite shine in this film, which is a scandal-mystery that takes place in Singapore, with all of the cringey portrayals of Asians and Eurasians you might expect from this time period. On a happier note, Bette Davis was excellent in the leading role as a woman who claims to have shot a man in self-defense. Still, I didn’t particularly enjoy this and spent the latter part of it hoping (guiltily…) that a certain character would also meet their demise so it could all be over with.
My Neighbor, Totoro (1988)
Totoro was my latest Studio Ghibli viewing. It is a simple story of a family moving to an old house and the children exploring and making friends with ghosts. Not much in the way of plot compared to some of the others. I would rank it somewhere in the middle of what I’ve seen so far… it’s not bad, it’s just not amazing. Very much geared towards younger kids, although it does have some Shinto themes in it (praying to forest spirits). I did think the cat bus was awfully cute!