Gifted – featuring Chris Evans #MovieReview

This is a mini-review, that will not contain any spoilers.

Firstly, when did Captain America become cute? Tip: Add designer stubble!

gifted movie poster

But I digress, this is a movie about a Frank (Chris Evans) who takes guardianship of his niece Mary (McKenna Grace) when his sister dies. At first they seem happy and a good team, but cracks start to show when you realise that he gave up a career as a Professor, he was perpetually single and Mary only had one friend – a c30 year old neighbour (Octavia Spencer from Hidden Figures). When Mary went to school her teacher quickly noticed that Mary was gifted (can you multiply 127 x 13?). This 7 year old girl could do math that most human beings could not do, so she was not just advanced for “her age” she was a genius! Her mother, too, was a genius, who tried to take on one of the Millennium Problems (unsolvable math problems) but suffered as a result of her genius, something that Frank wanted to avoid with Mary.

But what would you do in this situation? Send your child to a regular school so she can make friends with kids her own age and develop social skills? Or do you send them to a special school for the Gifted where she will be challenged but not necessarily developing relationships with normal kids of the same age? And to make the decision even harder, she appeared to love Maths and read Algebraic Geometry like bedtime stories! As a parent I can tell you that would be no easy decision to make.

The uncle thinks one way and the rich grandmother thinks the other and they go to court to fight for her.

The movie is powerful and sad and effortlessly funny throughout. The acting feels really natural, particularly between Frank and Mary, who steal the show. It was a great movie and had a few twists I didn’t expect. I would definitely recommend this movie for ease of watching and gentle comedy.


Have you met “Miss Sloane”? (Movie Review)

So, this movie reminds me of another reason why I’m glad I don’t live in America, the first reason is sitting in the White House and the second are Guns!

miss sloane movie film review

This movie was so under the radar I just have to draw your attention to it. I go to the cinema weekly and never saw an advert or poster for it. I’m so glad I decided to watch it.

This movie is so compelling and the largest reason was the actress Jessica Chastain. She was astounding, powerful and came across as a complete power hungry, I will step on your toes if you get in my way, B****! That being said, even though she was about as likeable as root-canal, you can’t help being on her side because her cause was gun control. What a great idea to make everyone in the US go through a 2 week check before they are allowed to buy a gun, rather than being able to pick one up at their equivalent of Tesco! The whole movie is about Jessica who is a Lobbyist, try to get a bill passed that will allow for this type of gun control. The team work together to “turn” as many Senators as they can to their cause, using every means possible.

There are more than 350 mass murders by gun in the USA every year, every year! Guns held by regular citizens kill more people than wars and terrorist attacks. It makes me so glad I live in the UK!

There was a big twist mid-way that made my hand fly to my mouth in shock and then a lovely twist right at the end. The only thing I kept thinking throughout was why is this so important to her? I kept wondering but you never really find out.

Such a fantastic movie, go and see it!


Inside Out (and above all the rest)

inside out movie poster

Just want to say up-front that I believe this movie is probably not suitable for 2, 3 or 4 year olds. My 3 year old has seen many movies at the cinema and enjoyed almost all of them, and even though he enjoyed parts of this movie he also found it a bit scary and hard-going so we didn’t quite make it to the end. Mummy came back to see it again though because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would suggest perhaps 7 years and above would gain the most from it, and I can see how it would be the ideal opportunity to explain and help children to open up more about their feelings, and have definitely seen inside out type activities popping up all over pinterest already.

The movie centres on Riley as she quickly grows from a baby to age 11, who is perfectly happy with her family in Minnesota, playing hockey and with her friends etc. until she has to re-locate to San Francisco, where everything changes…

3 year old with inside out characters

I really loved the emotions in her head being characters, it is so witty and clever, so well thought out, in fact it is pretty ingenious and definitely one of the best Disney movies I have seen in a while, and perfect for the older tween audience. I loved the little details, the fact that her “train of thought” was an actual train (clever), and that there are islands of personality.

The only let down for me is that, although all the emotions were amazing, and how they interacted, it could have been so much funnier, but in fact half of the movie just features Joy and Sorrow and them trying to get back to HQ, which is a bit of a downer. The best bit is the end when you see inside the head of other people and even dogs, and see what the emotions look like, they had border collie version of anger, sorrow and joy and then ones with beards etc, it is very funny, the funniest bit of the movie, I wish there were more of those, but that is probably just me, I’m a sucker for a kids comedy.

I need to give a very special mention to the Pixar short film “Lava” which they show before the movie as that was one of the best Pixar shorts I have ever seen and as amazing as the movie. The music was so beautiful that Nate and I were singing along to it by the end, it was so clever and I have to admit to a tiny tear! Absolutely beautiful.

What do you think of the movie? and the short film?


Don’t Micro-Manage your Minions

Wanna see bald, jaundiced children (aka Minions)? I took my 3 year-old son to see the Minions movie and we all absolutely loved it, he sat through the whole movie and laughed so hard it made my heart full. We have seen both Despicable Me movies, the second one was far superior because the minions played a larger part, I’m so glad the creators realised the minions were the reason the movies were so good and decided to see if they could stand on their own, well they did, the Minions are awesome, so funny and so cute.

minions movie poster

The story-line is Continue reading


Oh… another Disney Movie – HOME Review

On Mothers’ day, I selflessly (along with many other mothers) watched a movie that I knew my toddler would enjoy. It was the new Disney movie called “Home”.

The main character is called “Oh” he is a colour-changing alien from another planet who invades earth with all the other Boov (alien race). I so love how he got his name, check out the trailer below:

Oh is on the run and bumps into a remaining human (all the others are whisked off to Australia), a 10 year old girl called Gratuity Tucci, or Tip. (Seriously who comes up with these names?!) Both on the run, they work together to find Tip’s mother. I was pleasantly surprised that Rihanna played the voice of Tip, as she is one of my favourite singers, and she played a tween very well, it sounded believable. Tip is pretty realistic, unlike many Disney movies which are usually full of beautiful princesses.

home oh and tip image

It was pretty enjoyable with some laugh out loud moments, my 3 year old sat through the whole movie so he must have enjoyed it. I found it funny enough – mostly because the Alien couldn’t talk properly so that was pretty funny, the strange phrases he would come out with e.g “Can I come into the out now”. It does have some important messages that older children should pick up such as ‘it’s ok to be different and to make mistakes’ and home is not a place but the people you care about.

It’s not the best Disney movie I have seen, but if you have a spare few hours and get a good price, go for it.


Still Alice Film Review

Julianne Moore finally won an Oscar, and it was definitely worthy for her role as Alice. This movie is sad but very watchable, I’ve seen it twice and would be happy to see it a third time. Trailer:

Review without spoilers

Alice Howland is a 50 year old Professor of Linguistics at Columbia University, she has a loving, and equally busy, husband, played by Alec Baldwin as well as three grown-up children, one is lawyer, one is a doctor and the youngest is a struggling actress (played by Kristen Stewart or better known as Bella from Twilight). Just after her 50th birthday, she starts noticing that she is forgetting certain words, and one day after getting lost she goes to see a neurologist. He diagnoses her with early on-set Alzheimers Disease.

Review with Spoilers (Don’t read if you intend to watch the movie)

At the beginning of the film you are shown Alice giving a lecture at UCLA – she is so articulate and poised, it really contrasts to what happens to her by the end of the movie. I like how her relationship is portrayed with Lydia her youngest (Kristen Stewart), they seem really natural together and have good chemistry. I don’t really feel the same way with her older children, they feel very stiff and cookie-cutter, however that does not detract from the movie, and I probably only noticed that the second time I saw it. Julianne Moore gives a superb performance, but I am sure that goes without saying as she has an Oscar to prove that. The way she depicts the struggles, isolation and fight is amazing.

I thought the way she handled her neurology appointments, leading up to her diagnosis and afterwards seemed very in-keeping to the personality of Alice. Alice is a high-flying college professor, constantly on the go, very cerebral, playing word games on her iPhone etc. The way she was trying to test herself, using her iPhone, testing herself with questions, making a video for herself it seemed reminiscent of what I would expect from a person like that, it was well-written.

When she had to tell her children that not only was she about to get very sick, but that they could develop the disease too (what a horrible thing to have to say to your children) that really pulled at my heart strings, she blamed herself even though it’s not her fault, no one can control their genes.

It’s very sad how young she was and how quickly she deteriorated. It seemed like she went from seemingly normal, able to hold conversations and even work, to not being able to dress herself, speak properly or take care of herself in months, although the time frame isn’t completely clear. It is very sad when she says that she would rather have cancer because people go on walks for you and wear a ribbon (less of a stigma), but in fact the Alzheimers Society do “Memory Walks”.

alzheimers disease still alice

My favourite part of the movie was the speech that she gave to the Alzheimers Society, which was directly in contrast to the lecture she gave at the beginning. This time it took her 3 days to write, she had to use a highlighter so that she knew what words she has already said or ‘yellow thingy’ as she called it, she drops her notes and fumbles over words, but wow! She actually made me cry, not that its hard to do that, but it was very moving.

My least favourite part of the movie was when she asked her husband to take a sabbatical, to spend time with her while she still knew who she was. He refused and then later takes a job in Minnesota and moves away, leaving the youngest daughter (Lydia) to look after her mother, who at this point required constant care. He says to Lydia: “You’re a better man that I” and I would have to agree with that. I know it’s harsh, I can’t even imagine how people get through these things, but I really don’t like that he put his job first – even though she probably would have done the same. I did love the irony though of the fact that the older two children were very critical of Lydia, said how flighty she was, never reliable or around for important occasions and yet she was the one out of them all that stepped up to take care of their mother.

I would have liked the movie to have been slightly longer to show more of the later disease, as you only really see a glimpse, I believe in the book she moves into a nursing home/assisted living, it would be interesting to see that transition, though terribly sad I am sure.

The release date of this movie was actually in December, but it is back in Cinemas, no doubt due to the Academy Award.

Lisa Genova is the author of Still Alice, which was based on her grandmother. She is about to release a new book called “Inside the O’Briens” which is about a cop who develops Huntington’s Disease. After watching the movie I will have to read both of these books.

Have you seen Still Alice? What did you think?


When everything breaks…

This week has been particularly trying, so, to sum it up quickly: toddler had Diarrhea (on Mothers Day no less), our Fridge-Freezer broke, and the car needs the cambelt changed – very expensive. So when I was looking through my Bloglovin feed, I was particularly inspired by the Happy Days Linky over at What Katy Said. Her idea is to appreciate the small things and appreciate everyday. I think I really need that this week.

Fun at Home

On Mothers Day I was awoken by a crying little boy, which is unusual. When I rushed in, I could see why, the poor little man had Diahorrea and it was everywhere, all the way up to his neck, in his bed and soaked through his clothes. I think this was the universe’s way of saying – it may be mother’s day, but its not really about you. I think this is what “Oh” from the movie “Home” was referring to when he said – I need to do a number 3! Nate definitely did a number 3!

Husband and I both work full-time, so we both had to take time off this week to take care of the little man as he had to stay off nursery. We both had to use up our annual leave – that’s the nature of parenthood, but at least it is happening less now that he is getting older. When he first went to nursery he caught everything and we hardly had any annual leave left to take a family holiday.

Apart from the first day, he didn’t actually have it very bad, and he was in very good spirits all week, so it was a joy to be spending time with him.

On Friday morning, on our return from the library, Nate and I played superheroes, and at one point I had to stop playing to take some pictures of him because he was so happy, I wanted to capture those moments.

toddler playing with spiderman toyspiderman cycle toypre-schooler running like batman

Out and About

We managed to go to the library and get some new books, as well as a “TMNT – Turtles” DVD that Nate was very eager to watch. I took him to our local play centre and met up with some of my NCT friends, which was a real treat, because they all work part-time and I work full-time so I rarely get to see them mid-week. Nate is becoming more and more independent, and was quite happy to run off and play, leaving me some time to talk. Obviously mummy just had to go on the big slide with Nate (which is so fast it actually takes my breath away) and play in the construction zone.

Time for Me

On Mothers Day hubby encouraged me to go out while he took care of our sick little man. Obviously I felt terribly guilty, that’s what mothers do best right? But ultimately I relented and watched “Still Alice” at the cinema.

My happiest moment

Was when Nate came running off the slide, jumped down next to me and said “Mummy can I lie on your lap”, this appears to be his new favourite thing to do, and it makes me so happy. He put his head on my lap and I stroked his hair, it lasted for about 5 minutes before he ran off to play in the ball pit.

Next Week I would like to…

I would like to have a well little boy, that is more important than anything.

I would also like for the company that sold us the American Fridge-Freezer, to pay for it to be replaced. I have to tell you how stressed I was this week when, not only did I have a sick child, but our fridge-freezer just stopped working, with no warning. I came home from work to find everything in the freezer defrosted and a warm fridge – now, I’m no engineer but I am pretty certain they are supposed to do the opposite to that! We looked online, tried a couple of “fixes” but nothing worked. We had to throw almost all of our food away – and we had just done our monthly shop! Then later that night my sick little boy asked for a yoghurt and then his night time milk – I had to tell him no and he proceeded to cry – which broke my heart! I was so upset that he was being affected too. Do you know how hard it is to be without a fridge when you have a toddler? Everything he eats is from the fridge!

We only purchased this fridge freezer 18 months ago, so it was just out of warranty, the company said there is nothing they can do, even though we paid almost £600. I know it’s sad of me to admit this, but I have wanted an American Fridge Freezer with a water dispenser for my entire adult life! It took me years to convince the hubby to spend so much on one, when we had a perfectly fine fridge-freezer (that incidentally lasted us for 12 years), and then when I finally convinced him, did a lot of research and purchased what I thought was the perfect one, with good reviews, it breaks after only 18 months – that is a shockingly short period of time for something that is so expensive, plus everyone around me was telling me how long they should last for – “Yours broke? Oh no, wow ours lasted for 25 years” – thanks I feel so much better now!

What I’m Grateful For

The lovely lady at work (whom I had never met) that gave us her old fridge freezer, for free, when she heard about my predicament. I am also grateful to have an uncomplaining husband who loves spending time with his son and was more than happy to take time off to look after him for a few days. I am grateful to my best friend who reminded me that a fridge is just a possession. I am also proud of my boy who took himself to the toilet in the middle of the night, pulled off his nappy and did his business, for the first time.

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American Sniper Film Review

I have to make it clear that this movie is not for mums and it is not fun. Mum for fun found this movie hard going!

Synopsis without spoilers

Chris Kyle is a cowboy in Texas until 9/11, then he feels the urge to do his duty and signs up for the Navy SEALS. During his training he meets a beautiful woman whom he marries and is then sent off for his first tour in Iraq. Chris is a particularly skilful sniper and quickly earns the reputation of ‘legend’. Though a legend in the field, he is anything but at home with his family, struggling to switch off when at home, which pushes his family life to the limits after several tours.

Continue reading


The Theory of Everything Film Review

Went to see The Theory of Everything recently and really enjoyed it. A great reminder to us all, especially on those hard days when our children are waking us up in the night, not eating their food, having tantrums in the middle of the supermarket and generally testing our limits, this is a great reminder to keep on going, keep pushing through the hard bits and live life.

Synopsis with no spoilers

This movie details Stephen Hawkings’ early years from when he begins his PhD at Cambridge, in the 1960s, shows how he met his (first) wife, how he dealt with the overwhelming news of his Motor Neurone illness (ALS) and being told he only has 2 years to live…

I love this quote from Stephen (he has a lot of good quotes):

whale picture and quote about not giving up

(c) Brigitte Werner

Synopsis with Spoilers (Read no further if you intend to watch this movie)

I thought the acting was utterly superb, both Eddie Redmayne who plays Stephen and Felicity Jones who plays Jane ( his wife) were amazing, their relationship, their love and all of the hardships they had to endure. It was very sweet, especially at the beginning. It is so visceral, so you can really feel the struggle that Stephen is going through. When he struggles up the stairs whilst trying to re-assure his toddler, I thought this was very moving.

I thought Eddie Redmayne looked like I pictured Stephen Hawking, and even his mannerisms and his cheeky smile, it was so believable.

I really felt for Jane and her struggles as a care-taker of not only Stephen with his disability but her three children too – she is a super-hero in my mind. I can barely take care of my small and healthy family of one toddler, husband and dog.

I did feel really uncomfortable though when Jonathan came onto the scene, as it was obvious straight away that Jane and he were into each other, plus it just looked, as an outside observer, very odd, but maybe I am being too cynical. I am not a religious person so I don’t understand the ‘calling from God to help others’. However, in a way I was right, they were into each other and they do end up getting married, so it obviously was inappropriate. It is very sad when she and Stephen both decide their marriage isn’t working. Her line to him is very revealing…she said something like “you were only supposed to live 2 years and you have had many more”. I cannot imagine going through something like they had to go through, I am sure anyone who lives like that is a saint.

I have to admit, I didn’t realise that Stephen Hawking was still alive, and it looks like I am not the only one, when I Googled “Stephen Hawking” the alternative searches said “Stephen Hawking death” and “is Stephen Hawking dead”. How tremendous that he was only given 2 years to live and he has fought through adversity, written at least 8 books, including his most famous book “A Brief History of Time”. All these books were written by the clicking of a mouse, which meant he could write 4 words per minute – how amazing, and that’s why the quote above is so poignant, and so inspiring.

To lighten the mood, whilst looking for images relating to the movie, I am came across this, and decided to share this instead of a movie poster as my son is a lover of Lego:

stephen hawking fun lego image

Image rights: Iain Heath.

Has anyone else seen the film? What do you think?
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