Archive for Movies Posts

published in Change, Courage, Dreams/Goals, Freedom, Inspiration, Movies, Relationships, Travel by Maryanne | July 28, 2015 | 3 Comments


Searching for Shirley Valentine


Shirley Valentine by sea


“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

– T.S. Eliot 

In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Greece, my niece, Emily, and I have watched a few films that feature Greece or Greeks in them, such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and My Life in Ruins (which is why we’re going to Delphi!).

I also just watched Shirley Valentine, the 1989 film that was based on a one-woman play. I’d seen the movie years ago but thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again.

Shirley Valentine is a bored Liverpool housewife who talks to the wall while making dinner for her grouchy, emotionally distant and getting-old-before-his-time husband. Their children have grown up and left home and the empty nest has left Shirley feeling depressed, lost and purposeless.

All she does is shop, cook and complain. She can’t even dream of making a change because she’s forgotten what her dreams even are.

Yet when her friend wins a trip to Greece, she shocks herself and tags along – but doesn’t tell her husband because she knows he will object. He’s just as bored, stuck and stale as she is.

In Greece, however, Shirley begins to come alive again. She has a brief love affair but that turns out to be more of a catalyst for change than a cure for loneliness. She quickly realizes the person she is looking for isn’t a lover; she’s looking for herself.

And when the time comes for her to return to England, she doesn’t go. Instead, she gets a job at the restaurant (owned by the man she had an affair with) and begins the process of becoming the person she used to be, before all the responsibilities of life – and the demands of other people – turned her into someone she doesn’t recognize nor like.

Shirley’s husband, on the other hand, is livid that a) she refuses to come home and b) she had an affair.

But over the phone, Shirley says to him: “I am having an affair with myself. I have fallen in love with life again and I am not coming home.”

And she doesn’t. Instead, her husband goes to Greece to see her. But when he gets there, he walks right by Shirley because he doesn’t even recognize the woman she has become. And then the two of them sit down and finally begin to talk…I mean, really communicate versus just exchanging not-so-pleasant pleasantries about the mundane details of their daily lives.

It’s an excellent film and although I watched it because of the Greece connection, the message I took from it has little to do with Greece and everything to do with finding one’s self – or creating a new one, if need be. For it doesn’t matter where that happens; what matters is that it does happen…before it’s too late and one settles for a life of resigned acceptance versus passionate purpose.

Then, next on my list of Greece-related movies to watch was Mamma Mia. If you haven’t seen it, it is pretty much just fun and silliness set to ABBA music. However, on the ‘searching for self’ theme, there was a strong scene where the sexy young guy tells his sweet young fiancé – who has invited all three of her possible fathers to their wedding – that she won’t find herself if she finally figures out who her father is…rather, she has to figure that out all on her own.

So our countdown to Greece is on (we leave Aug 4)! I’ve got my Mamma Mia Meryl Streep denim overalls packed and ready to go. Now I just need 3 of my old lovers to come out of the woodwork and track me down on a Greek Island 🙂

Related blogs by Maryanne:

The Drowning Scene – What The Hours Film Taught Me About Motherhood

Do You Love Your Life? A Review of Jennifer Barclay’s Book, Falling in Honey; How a Tiny Greek Island Stole My Heart

 Q&A With Falling in Honey Author, Jennifer Barclay

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Courage, Inspiration, Movies, Self Esteem, Self Worth by Maryanne | June 15, 2015 | No Comment


“One reason many of us resist our current situation is that it fails to match our own expectations.”

– Martha Beck, O Magazine, July 2015

I SPY With My Little Eye…


A movie that knows what it is – a spy-spoof comedy – and yet offers viewers much more than that, should one be so inclined to delve beneath the surface a little.

I saw the film, SPY, starring Melissa McCarthy, the other night and it was hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the film.

Now to be honest, SPY isn’t the sort of film I would normally go see but because my local theatre was using it as a fundraiser for a Relay for Life team, off I went. Plus I’d seen the trailer and thought Melissa McCarthy looked like my kind of femme fatale 🙂

And she was.

McCarthy’s character, Susan Cooper, is a deskbound CIA agent. Susan is the behind-the-scenes voice in the ear for the real agents who get to be out in the field, doing all the cool spy work.

But when one of her agents (played by super sexy Jude Law) supposedly dies, she finds herself volunteering for a mission that involves working, at long last, as an undercover agent in the field – after a decade spent hiding out in the basement of the CIA headquarters, in front of a computer screen.

Susan is sweet, timid and a bit of a pushover. But we soon realize she wasn’t always that way. It’s just that 10 years in a support role has worn away her self confidence and now she’s absolutely terrified to try her hand at field work.

And yet, off she goes to Paris – in a decidedly uncool undercover disguise, loaded up with equally uncool (but in the end, useful) spy gadgets.

The scene where her cab driver takes her from the Paris airport to her hotel is classic because we get to watch Susan’s reaction as she looks out the window in excited anticipation to see which of the famous swanky hotels she gets to stay at.

But the cab goes right on past all the nice hotels and we can see her expectations get lower and lower, as the cab continues on through the less-desirable part of town – and then past that into the really seedy area…and there, of course, is where Susan Cooper’s hotel is.

Although not quite what she was hoping her spy accommodations would look like, she rises to the challenge.

Now the older I get, the more I realize that this is the way real life rolls most of the time: reality doesn’t often match our expectations. But the sooner we can let go of how we thought something was going to be – and accept how it actually is, the sooner we can get on with the business at hand…which may involve actually changing a few things.

Unfortunately, however, what we actually tend to do when our reality – be that our looks, career, marital status, spouse, kids, financial situation, etc – doesn’t match our expectations, we either resist it…or worse, we deny it.

I suspect Spy works so well as a comedy because Susan Cooper represents the vast majority of people. Susan started out with big dreams but somewhere along the way, she lost her mojo and began to settle for a pretty good life instead of a super-cool one, where she’s the heroine of her own story – not the supporting role in someone else’s.

But by muddling through multiple failures, flops and faux pas’, our meek and mild Susan somehow does find the courage to become the rough and tough and take-no-guff Agent Cooper…and because of this, she is indeed my kind of gal. In fact, she’s a pink gazelle 🙂

Related blog:

The Danger of Comfort – Lessons from the Cubicle

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Climate Change, Environment, Inspiration, Movies by Maryanne | June 8, 2015 | No Comment

What Does the Bahamas Beach in Tomorrowland Have to Do With Our Future?


Tippy's Beach
Tippy’s Beach, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

– Eisely, 1957

June 8th is World Oceans Day

Okay, I am concerned…not just about the state of our oceans.

I saw the film, Tomorrowland, a few days ago – and honestly, I was more excited to see a glimpse of one of my favourite beaches (Tippy’s Beach on Eleuthera in The Bahamas) on the big screen than I was to see George Clooney’s mug.

For me, this is quite something 🙂

Now don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed seeing (and hearing) George Clooney. But perhaps due to the fact that he’s now a married man, my heart simply didn’t swoon like it used to.

But boy did my heart beat faster when I caught a glimpse of Tippy’s Beach on the big screen!

Funny how we can fall in love with a place

Now the first time we actually see the beach in the film, it’s in the distance – seen through the portal of a spaceship (at least, I think it was a spaceship but by that point, I’d kinda lost track).

Anyway, there was a whole bunch of fighting going on in the foreground and I remember thinking, “Just go through the portal, dammit! Let’s get to that beach!”

So when the two fighting characters, played by George Clooney and Hugh Laurie, finally went through the portal and ended up on the beach, I was in Heaven…for approximately 17 seconds, during which there was another fight scene (with much sand flying).

And then before I knew it, the beach scene was over. But it was a neat experience, seeing a much-loved, familiar place on the big screen.

As for the film itself? Well, Tomorrowland was very entertaining and highly creative, even though I was kinda confused in places (but that might just be me).

And I certainly resonated with the film’s main message of how the future belongs to the dreamers. As a dreamer myself, this is good news.

What I didn’t resonate with, however – much to my surprise – was the film’s other main message about how important it is that people have a positive attitude towards the multiple environmental and societal issues we collectively face.

Although I am a very positive person with a positive attitude towards my own life – because I am blessed beyond belief – I do not have a positive attitude towards the future we are all rapidly hurtling towards.

From a climate change perspective, we are in serious trouble and if we want the land – and sea – of tomorrow to be anything less than a catastrophic nightmare, the window of time in which we have left to act is closing fast.

“In Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything, Klein quotes eminent climatologists who worry that even the best efforts to prevent global warming from rising to an intolerable level may come too late if not launched very soon. They differ on when we’ll reach the tipping point but agree that even the year 2020 will not be soon enough. According to Klein, the International Energy Agency warns that if we do not get our emissions under control by a rather terrifying 2017, our fossil fuel economy will lock-in extremely dangerous warming.”

– Ed Finn in his article, Klein has shown us Goliath – Is our slingshot up to the task?, published in the CCPA Monitor (pg 42), Feb 2015

So perhaps what is needed most right now is some serious negativity towards the reality of our collective future, in order for us to get motivated enough to actually change course?

For even the positive dreamers won’t be able to change the planet’s destiny, once the point of no return has been crossed…which is in 5 years, if we’re lucky.

On a lighter note, please click here to see more photos of beautiful Eleuthera, including where George Clooney & Hugh Laurie stayed while filming Tomorrowland 🙂

And this link will take you to a few more stunning snapshots of Eleuthera…enjoy!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here.