Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I celebrated the Missouri connection to Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech on the 75th anniversary. Tina liked Mike Biles book A Bit About Britain’s History and wasn’t as interested in Clanlands by a couple of actors from Outlander. Mike sometimes links his A Bit About Britain posts on #BriFri, especially when he has one that relates to something one of us has written about. Heather participated in a blog tour for The Hat Girl From Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson. Carol joined us with a novel written about WWII during WWII: The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge.
I’m unusually annoyed that the critics didn’t agree with me about a couple of films.
W./E. is about a young woman named after Wallis Simpson, the divorcee that King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry. The modern story takes place in 1997 when the Windsor’s furnishings and personal items were sold via auction at Sotheby’s, New York, for charity.
Many scenes show Wally Winthrop visiting Sotheby’s to look at the items on display before the auction. As we see objects, we are whisked back in time to when they were in use by David and Wallis, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. We see them when they meet and fall in love and when that causes turmoil in their lives and in British politics.
The two stories were cleverly intertwined with Wallis becoming a kind of mentor to Wally.
The critics hated it. W./E. gets 12% on Rotten Tomatoes.
By itself, that wouldn’t bother me. But, we also happened to see another film in the same week that also has some creative story-telling that blends past and present — Tesla, a 2020 biopic about Nikola Tesla, an electrical engineer who contributed to the design of our electrical grid.
For us, however, the mix of past and present, while visually interesting, made no sense. In fact, the whole film of Tesla did very little to illuminate the life and work of the man. I barely understood what was going on and thought it was my lack of background. But Rick didn’t understand it either and he’s read multiple biographies of Tesla and Edison.
The critics didn’t exactly love Tesla, but it currently has a respectable 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.
What’s up with that? Could it be that critics don’t like Madonna, a woman, stepping out of her lane? That’s what it feels like to me.