For quite some time I attempted a 7-movies-in-7-days challenge. What's challenging about that, I hear you think, but I am talking about 7 movies at the cinema and the real challenge is that, so far, I did not get 7 I wanted to see one after the other. I got close at some point in October, after a tragic summer, and once again this week I am failing after a mere three. But the third one I watched last night, Whiplash, truly is worth telling you about.
It is one of those rare movies that, while tackling passion, rolls naivity, excess, commitment, maturity and immaturity all into one. The last one to do all of this to any degree of depth was Walk The Line, it too, and I find this significant, on a musical backdrop. Say what you will my reader, no book will make you feel as good as fast as a wonderful piece of music can. It's its immediacy above all that hits heart and soul at the same time and that sets it apart from all other art forms.
But interestingly, I found that Whiplash isn't strictly a movie about music. It's a movie about the burning desire to be great, for sure, but mostly it's about our need for self-validation throughout life which, and this is the crucial, painful point, depends on others. It is not enough to know of your greatness, it must be recognised by others. In fact, some would say that it is impossible to self-validate without others' recognition of our abilities.
Of course, I did think in places that no school on earth would allow Fletcher's behaviour for a day, let alone for years, and that was probably the only strident element of this movie, but I found it easy to suspend disbelief on this element, for it was overshadowed by Andrew's sickening idealism and, up to a point, self-centredness. It was quite wonderful to witness his explosive mix of immaturity and passion and I felt that the movie ended not simply on the right note but at the right time too because, quite frankly, I don't want to know what happens to Andrew when he hits the real world (and vice-versa). Go and see it; as enriched as it is by the wonderful perfomances of J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller, I know you will love it.
There is a lot I am looking forward to in 2015 but I've now lived in London for long enough to know that unless you book way, way, waaay in advance, you don't get anywhere. And that includes restaurants as it does plays and exhibitions. So here's my round-up for this year in no order whatsoever.
If you haven't got tickets for this... well, good luck my friend. I bought mine in August 2014, a full year and a few days before the first preview. And I've bought two nights as well, just to be on the safe side. My favourite play and my favourite man of the moment, can you think of anything better? I cannot. Cumberbitch alert level 5. Opens August.
Silver screen, fashion and humanitarian icon, this wonderful lady comes to life in an exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery that is expected to trace her entire career. I cannot wait already. Opens July.
A bigger and, it is rumoured already, better retrospective than the one which graced the Met in 2011. You are still very much missed bro! Opens March at the V&A.
The 4 copies displayed side-by-side on the 800th birthday of the charter of civil liberties. Thrilling stuff. Opens March.
Movies I am really looking forward to:
The Theory of Everything
but the one I am looking forward to the very most is The Walk, written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, who finally dramatises Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of August 1974. Already the subject of the wonderful, gripping, exceedingly moving documentary Man On Wire, I cannot wait to see what promises to be a poignant dramatisation. Coming October.