Thursday, December 31, 2015

"Spotlight" - must see

Is there anything better than your own bed? As I burrowed under the covers last night, I thought more than ever of immigrants and refugees, with hopes that everyone, one day, will have a safe, warm, comfortable bed.

I know, dream on. Well, it's New Year's Eve, a day made for dreaming, so I will, okay?

We made it home, the flight delayed not quite an hour by de-icing. But it's a hurricane, travelling with a baby and a very determined 3 year old and a lot of stuff - car seat, booster seat, bags of snacks and books and everything else - I'm amazed we made it in one piece, to tell you the truth. But with my extraordinary daughter in the lead, we did.

I have a week and a bit before work starts, both courses a go, time to sort myself out and do my own work before I start to focus on my students. I'm going to give myself the treat of seeing some of the movies I've been desperate to see, starting, today, with "Spotlight." I expected it to be a tired retread of stuff we already know - pedophile priests, what's new about that? My God, this is a superb film - I cannot recommend it more highly. We forget there was a time when we did not know about the rot at the core of the Catholic church, and we watch as these Boston Globe reporters - in 2001, so recently! - begin to put the pieces together, as they realize it's not one priest but several, and then not several, but a lot, and then the incredible scope of the story, that the highest levels of the church were involved in the cover-up.

I have to say that I cannot understand how anyone can remain a Catholic after seeing this film or acknowledging what it portrays. But then, as a former priest says in the film, the church is an institution for the centuries; a believer can focus on the future and try to forget the past. And there's a mighty fine Pope, mostly, in power now. But what the film shows of the damage caused by lack of accountability, the corruption of power and cronyism and an inflated sense of entitlement, is stomach-turning.

Just as a film, it's fantastic with 100% superb, no, perfect performances, including, I'm happy to say, Rachel McAdams and Len Cariou, two great Canadian actors. But every actor is first rate - nothing overstated, just honest film-making and performances, superb. Go see it. Go see it. Because what it told me, most of all, is that nothing is more powerful than the truth-telling of good journalism - and good writing.

Speaking of writing - I have failed in my resolve not to blog. Failed dismally. C'est la vie.

I've just had leftover Christmas dinner and a few glasses of wine. I may watch a movie on TV and I will certainly read; walking home from the cinema, I went into the great used bookstore BMV on Yonge St., could not resist buying a book about William Morris, one of my heroes. And then I will go to bed. A sane, quiet New Year's Eve.

I wish all of you a joyful new year, a wonderful 2016, healthy and productive with good friends, good food, a sense of accomplishment. Here's my new year's gift to you - Macca's isolated vocal track for O Darling - what heaven to hear that incredible, powerful voice.
Do yourself another favour, watch Aretha Franklin sing "You make me feel like a natural woman" at the Kennedy Centre honours recently. Shivers down the spine.

Thank you for music. Thank you for writing. Thank you for breath. Thank you for home.

Here's Britannia Park, a playground where Eli played in the summer, yesterday morning. O Canada.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. And I have miles to go before I sleep. And so do you.


  1. I, for one, am glad you failed to stop blogging. As are, I am sure, all your peeps.

  2. Thank you, dear friends and fellow bloggers. How wonderful it is that we can follow each other's lives this way. Hooray for 2015. Onward!

  3. Hi Beth. I hope that the film, JOY, is on your list (with Jennifer Lawrence) because it is phenomenal. And I'm dying to see Spotlight. Have a happy, healthy, prosperous 2016.

    Juliet in Paris

  4. Same to you, Juliet, and thanks for the recommendation, I'll put Joy on the list - along with Carol, Brooklyn, Suffragette and several others ... Today a documentary about a Canadian poet, nothing better than that.

  5. And The Big Short - a scathing indictment of capitalism, just for fun.