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Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010]
Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Jim Broadbent
Price: £7.00

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking, funny, honest., 16 Dec 2010
This review is from: Any Human Heart [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
I have just finished watching the last episode of Any Human Heart. Like the previous reviewer, I am ordering the book, and can't wait to read it - if William Boyd's screenplay is anything to go by, the book will be astonishing.

This drama, although slow-moving, is utterly captivating. The themes of loss and regret are expertly, effortlessly woven throughout it, and the acting subtle, but moving. Jim Broadbent steals the show; in the first three episodes he hasn't even got a line but still manages to deliver a heartfelt, seamless performance. I will devour the book greedily, and when the DVD arrives I will savour it a second time.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2011 11:10 AM BST


Wife, Interrupted
Wife, Interrupted
by Amy Molloy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.82

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I write this as a fellow widow, 19 Aug 2010
This review is from: Wife, Interrupted (Paperback)
I ordered Wife, Interrupted a few weeks ago, and last night I sat down and opened it. I read it cover to cover in a couple of hours. It is heartbreakingly sad - the wife in question was only 23 when her husband died, and was only married three weeks when she lost him, after nursing him through cancer.

Although it may be difficult for some to stomach the idea that she went out to sleep with random men, it is abundantly clear as you read more and more that she worshipped her husband, and put him on a pedestal, before and after his death. She explains that the sex enabled her to feel something through the numbness - it felt to me that her pain was too much, too hard, so she pushed it down and chose instead to focus on her experiences with other men. As the shock wears off and gives way to her grief, she seeks a temporary solace to her loneliness. I think that it was a brave move to write so candidly about her experiences. She devotes as much time describing her life with her husband as she does detailing what happened after he died. It is, in essence, a love story - her sexual exploits really were just a desperate panacea, something to detract from her immense pain. I think that anyone who reads it will recognise that she wasn't fulfilling sexual needs - she was trying to fill the gaping emotional hole her husband's death left, and she didn't have a clue how.

As a widow, I know that we are expected to act and think in a very specific way. You are placed by society, into a neat little box - grieving, asexual, victim. The person you were before widowhood dies alongside your spouse in the minds of others. That old phrase, ''moving on'' - everyone says you should do it, but are shocked if and when you do. I am delighted that Ms Molloy found the strength to be able to say, do you know what? I don't know how the hell I'm supposed to be, so I'm going to do my best, and if that isn't good enough - well, you're not the one in pain.
A fantastic, emotional and honest read.


After You: Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father
After You: Letters of Love, and Loss, to a Husband and Father
by Natascha McElhone
Edition: Hardcover

83 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Honest, heartbreaking and accurate, 2 July 2010
I lost my husband in February of this year. Like Natascha, it came out of the blue - my husband was young, fit and apparently healthy. I've read several books that deal with grief as a project, but none come close to explaining the panic, the maelstrom of bewilderment, abandonment and chaos that has whipped around my head ever since; and none have thus far made me think - yes, that's what I'm feeling, that's what it's like.

Ms McElhone's book was featured in a Sunday paper last week, and after reading excerpts, I immediately ordered it. When it arrived, I read it in one greedy go. It's a short book, made up of diary entries and letters she wrote to her husband, who died while she was away filming, and while pregnant with their third son.

The first thing that struck me was the style of writing. Ms McElhone's prose is beautiful at times, but it's shot through with anger, panic and frustration. It's jerky in style, seemingly bouncing from one thing to another. At times it numbly describes the practicalities of death - choosing a coffin, where and how to do the funeral - at others, the words howl at you, and you can almost taste her lonlieness, her forlornness and her horror when the realisation of her situation hits her wiith juggernaut force, again and again. I found myself nodding along at times - she describes in one entry trying to get a phone company to switch the account from her husband's name to hers, and you can feel the heaviness in her heart when she tells them, no, he can't come to the phone as he has died, and the grim acceptance of their half-hearted condolences. I have made those calls, heard those words and my heart broke for her.

Another thing that the book highlights perfectly is the juxtaposition between a widow's grief, which is a private, intimate emotion, and the very public way in which one must present it. Ms. McElhone describes having to 'fit in' private grieving time between work and child-rearing, taking a half hour here and there to cry or to remember her husband. I almost shouted when I read this; my own grieving M.O. taking the form of only allowing myself to properly cry when I'm driving alone, so that I don't have to be seen, and I don't have to explain it to anyone or excuse or justify it in any way. A little thing perhaps, but something that distresses me. I was pleased that someone else understood it too.

Natascha describes in stark detail the reality of being widowed. She doesn't sugar-coat it, she doesn't dress it up with cliches, and she doesn't fall into the easy path of mawkish, sentimental memorial. I think that perhaps a person who has never been bereaved might find the book a bit full on - she really lets the reader into her marraige and her grief - but anyone who has lost someone will recognise every tear-stained word. It's a wonderful book, and a very lovely tribute to her husband. Natascha, if you're reading - thank you for putting into words what I never could.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 25, 2014 10:40 PM BST


Michael Jackson's This Is It [2 Disc Collector's Edition] [DVD] [2010]
Michael Jackson's This Is It [2 Disc Collector's Edition] [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Michael Jackson
Price: £3.40

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow., 11 Nov 2009
When a friend of mine announced that he had tickets to the O2 shows, I must admit, I poured scorn on the idea, thinking like everyone else - he's past it, he's addled with drugs, he's desperate for cash. I went to see the movie last week with a non-fan - we went for the curiousity value more than anything else - and I have to say, we were blown away.

Michael moved with the grace and ease of someone half his age, and he showed the young dancers selected for the tour how it's done. His voice was still astonishing. I think his skills as a vocalist were always overshadowed by the dancing and the razmatazz of his performances, but he really was a beautiful singer. If Michael's family's opinion on the rehearsals is to be believed, This Is It shows him performing at 40% - all I can say is, if this is 40%; 100% would have been mind-blowing.

This film depicts a true showman at his finest, his dedication to his craft astonishing. I have no hesitation in recommending it to any music fan. The O2 shows would have been the concert of a lifetime.


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