Saturday, March 25, 2017

Several US news outlets cover the American premiere of To Walk Invisible this Sunday:

Gail Pennington in the Saint Louis Dispatch is all for the mumbling-conspiracy (aka the Brontë contribution to the post-truth era: mumblelievers). Regrettably, this is not the only problem with her... erm... peculiar opinions:
Wainwright’s treatment of the subject is eccentric, shifting from surreal childhood scenes to stifled adult life in the claustrophobic parsonage.
The sisters — Finn Atkins as Charlotte, Charlie Murphy as Anne and Chloe Pirre as Emily — are cranky, chilly and generally unlikable.
Much time is spent on brother Branwell (Adam Nagaitis), around whom the women’s lives revolve, making the triumph of their talent even more unlikely. (Jonathan Pryce is sweet but distracted as their father.)
When it aired in England in December, “To Walk Invisible” was acclaimed by critics. But the movie was also sharply criticized by viewers for its sound quality, a problem that will be even more extreme for Americans who watch.
The Yorkshire accents are only the start of the problem. Low-talking and a loud music track conspire to make much of the dialogue unintelligible.
Needless to say, we agree much more with Maria Walley on Verily:
It’s raw; it’s heartbreaking; it’s fresh; it’s poignant; it’s inspiring. In short, dear reader, even if you’ve never picked up Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, this BBC movie is worth your time. (...)
As they hopefully plot out their course for publishing, and go about their daily lives with their brother’s addictions and violence becoming just another thing they live with, I’m struck by how real it all seems. And not just how the actors work together, but of the real Brontë sisters’ descriptions. In particular, Chloe Pirrie plays an incredible eccentric and moody Emily, while Finn Atkins plays her perfect business-minded, earnest counterpart as Charlotte.
But the biggest shout-out goes to Adam Nagaitis, who plays the tormented brother Branwell so well that you’re just as torn as the sisters. Viewers experience half-pity, half-anguish and are entirely blown away by his demise. I was with the sisters: I found myself loving him but also resenting him and the chaos he wrought on upon his family.
So, whatever your Sunday night plans: Consider this. Or watch it later online. Either way, it’s two hours you won’t regret.
Also on TV Insider:
Where would Masterpiece be without the Brontë sisters? Their enduring novels have been prime fodder for the British anthology series for years, with Emily’s Wuthering Heights adapted twice. In To Walk Invisible, from the prolific Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax), the sisters’ own compelling story is the stuff of grand drama. They toil in obscurity in a Yorkshire parsonage (Jonathan Pryce is excellent as their doting, doddering father), the sisters cloaking their identities with male pseudonyms to get their passionate manuscripts published. Finn Atkins is especially memorable as dour, diminutive Charlotte, bristling with ambition and anger over 19th-century gender inequities. Their triumph is laced with tragedy as they cope with a dissolute yet beloved brother whose unhappy fate would inform their works. (Matt Roush)
Mike Hughes in The Lansing State Journal is another mumbleliever:
Here's a fascinating, real-life story – strong enough to overcome poor film-making: Overshadowed by their clergyman dad and alcoholic brother, the Brontë sisters still managed to make literary history.
The problem starts with the script, which gives way too much attention to the brother and too little to the women who mattered. A bigger problem is the direction: “To Walk Invisible” is visually drab and much of its dialog is rushed or mumbled. Despite the flaws, a great story shines through.
Brief reminders in The Georgia Straight, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer...

Corriere della Sera (Italy) reviews Elizabeth Brundage's novel All Things Cease to Appear.
Ma L’apparenza delle cose è anche qualcosa di più di un noir. Ha una forte coloritura letteraria, e prende a modello di stile grandi opere della letteratura. Una fra tutte, Cime tempestose, evocata dalla scelta del nome della signora Clare, Cathy, lo stesso della protagonista del capolavoro di Emily Brontë. (Nel 1978, nelle hit parade mondiali furoreggiava Wuthering Heights di Kate Bush: «Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy, come home, I’m so cold!»). (Ranieri Polese) (Translation)
The Business Desk recommends '6 things to do on Mother’s Day' in Yorkshire, one of which is
Head to a show
There are loads of incredible shows to go and see in the area right now. Even if they’re not on this weekend, we’re sure your mum will love to have something to look forward to. Lord of the Dance and Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine are both taking to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre over the next few weeks and The Full Monty and Jane Eyre are soon to be taking to the stage in Sheffield. (Bethan Tolley)
The Yorkshire Evening Post describes North Yorkshire as
that vast wind-scoured hinterland where the ghosts of the Brontë’s roam amid purple-flecked moorland.
Even though the Brontës lived and wrote in West Yorkshire.

Greenwich Time also looks North in a description of the view from a local house.
Looking out over the red roof tiles, the kind that Jane Eyre might have gazed over in northern England, Kencel said, “There’s so much value here. And the architecture is so right.” (Robert Marchant)
DesiMartini reviews the Hindi film Phillauri:
I like the fact that Anoushka as a producer uses her movies to also talk a bit about women’s roles in society. Here, Shashi is a widely-read poet but she writes under a pen name as girls from good families don’t do such things to entertain audiences. History is replete with exams of women who used pen names to gain wider readerships, such as Emily Brontë, Jane Austen and J.K Rowling. All the female characters here are strong and sensible and perfectly capable of taking care of themselves and I like to think this is Anoushka’s stamp as a producer. (smitavkumar)
The Ecologist mentions Anne Brontë's reference to wild pansies in Agnes Grey:
The mention of flowers in literature gives some indication of their decline. In the 1930s, the canal enthusiast and author of Narrow Boat, LTC Rolt, records ‘a boatman's wife, Mrs Hone', telling him: ‘In the Spring up ‘leven mile pound you can smell the violets in the banks something lovely as you goes along.' That eleven mile pound (a distance between locks) is not far from here. I wonder if it still smells of violets in the spring?
In the 19th century, Anne Brontë, in Agnes Grey, writes about wild pansies. Like wild crocus, I wondered if there really were such plants. It turns out the wild pansy, Viola tricolor, has a starring role in Shakespeare's A midsummer night's dream. "The juice of it on sleeping eyelids laid will make man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees." I will look out for wild pansies more keenly now I know this magical association with the flower commonly known as Love-in-Idleness. (Paul Miles)
StarNews Online reports that 'Local author Karen Bender was added to the New York Public Library's list of women authors', joining the ranks of writers like Charlotte Brontë. English LiTeaRature posts about Jane Eyre as does Random Thoughts of a Girl in NairobiBritMums has compiled readers' suggestions of '40 ideas for family getaways inspired by books', one of which is 'Howarth' (sic).  Critics at Large posts about the recent exhibition Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York. The York Press presents the York Literature Festival performances of Jane Eyre. An Autobiography. Scriven Books reviews Wide Sargasso Sea. Eloise is Reading posts about the Emily Brontë poetry compilation, The Night is Darkening Around Me.

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