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Queen to Play: Review

In Movies on October 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Photo by Kent Bartlett

Ah, the rare movie that explores life on many levels and still manages to be magnificently entertaining.  In Queen to Play, a hotel housekeeper is attracted to and ultimately changed by the game of chess.  The sub-plot is about engaging in the game of life.  Entering into truly living.  Also involved is the concept of people being so much more than what they do.  I found a lot of meaning in the French word of the title: “Joueuse.”  Actually translated I think it means just “player,” as in a soccer player, for example.  Like children in a sandbox, enjoying the little things – the feel of the sand; what it does when you pour it over the wheel; the pleasure of exploring and happiness in simple things like fresh air and who you’re with.  Then there’s also the satisfaction of accomplishment, and finding out what you’re good at and intensely enjoy.  Which is a process the character discovers as she learns the game.  The film also gets some into what we as people do with what power we each have.  How we use or misuse it. There is a part where the main character is told that the queen is the most powerful piece in chess, and she smiles in a delighted, “you mean I’m important?” way that stirs the heart and touches on what we all universally want and feel. The pure concept of play, that it means thorough enjoyment and commitment to what you’re doing, was one that I found to be inherent and magnificent in this film. Join the game.  Have fun.  HR

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Frozen River: Review

In Movies on May 23, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Photo by Doug Stutler

There are beautiful, harsh landscapes in this film.  Both internal and external. The struggles and beauty of the Northern environment (a Mohawk reservation on the border between New York State and Quebec) mirror the characters’ emotional and literal journeys.  Two single moms are the main characters, and upon first glance the two couldn’t be more different.  One’s Caucasian and works in a dollar store; one’s Native American and works border-smuggling people.  When they’re thrown together, a lot of inherent tension because of their different backgrounds.  How these disparities are explored and overcome is part of the beauty of this film.  The concept of tribal justice is gently and powerfully portrayed at a crucial point in the story.  I’d heard of the term before, but vaguely thought it meant a vigilante-type system; delivered with anger and unwarranted violence. Turns out it’s instead a simple system of reparation involving tribal members hearing both sides of an issue and applying corrective action on a case-by-case basis.  Enjoy great acting and a riveting plot with this movie.  HR

Photo by Hannah Amodeo