Novels and Films that have had meaning in my life.

I was recently asked by a friend in my writers’ group for a list of novel, films – stories that have made a difference to my life or that I loved. I thought I’d share them on my blog.

My early favourites:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest. Emotional, mavericky. Plus I learned about how people can enjoy or get used to a repressive institution, even prison. How freedom can be frightening for so many people.

Rosemary’s Baby. Always remember the characters, the twists and turns of plot. And Rosemary seduced by her own baby while knowing it is the devil reborn.

The Odd Couple – the play, well and the film. I used to be able to quote too much of this.

Plays: Strange Interlude and Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill. I was stuck to my seat after seeing the latter.

Queen Christina – Ah, the times I’ve settled down to watch this film and weep over Garbo yearning to be free, free of her duties and a chance to sit in the warm and eat grapes, I think it was.

Catch 22 and the Major, Major chapter.

Fast forward to:

Thelma & Louise. If I could feel that high after coming out of seeing this film because the girls had a gun and shot up a nasty trucker and burned his truck, no wonder some guys think nothing of killing when they see it all the time.

When Harry met Sally by the talented Nora Ephron. A film about relationships and amusing too. And that scene…the fake orgasm scene that has been copied and repeated since in drama and commercials. “I’ll have what she’s having.” But, I also liked the line made by Harry near the beginning when he put down Sally’s boyfriend. “Nah,” he said, “sock it to me Sheldrake. Give it to me Sheldrake – a guy with a name like that is never going to do it.” Words to that effect.

Black Widow. Emotional ranglings, manipulation style.

Shawshank Redemption, based on a short story by the great Stephen King.

Misery – again by Stephen King. How can a writer manage this tension…all in one room?

Sleeping with the Enemy

American Beauty

Les Mis – the film (not seen stage musical) Couldn’t walk straight after coming out of seeing this film.

Animal Farm. One of my greatest of all time reads. A short book too. Who can not cry over the little horse that leaves the farm and the new freedom ways to return to a master who will whip and beat her, all for pretty bows in her hair. Nearly crying now.

Antechrista by Amelie Nothomb and most of her writing.

The English Patient. Seen many times and will again.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and her subsequent book about marriage.

Yes, The Da Vinci Code. Read in Florida along with Eat Pray Love and managed to heal my cancer, first time round.

The Testament by John Grisham. Loved it.

Virginia Woolf’s letters.

The Talented Mr Ripley book and novel. Gripping. Why do I want the murderer to get away with it? In the film seeing those scenes of Italy as perhaps we always dream of it, kind of 50s post war. The idle rich. Fascinated by Patricia Highsmith and her life.

The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte made into the 9th Gate by Roman Polanski. Mesmerising.

E=mc2 David Bodanis. Explains it simply and interestingly.

BABE – a little pig goes a long way. Love this film.

Walk the Line – surprisingly uplifting and I never used to like Johnny Cash’s music until I saw the film.

Black Swan with the lovely Natalie Portman. Who is also in one of my other favourite films, Léon: The Professional (1994)

French film – Untouchable – After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the slums to be his caretaker. The best film I’ve seen in recent years – great laughs you’d be surprised to hear.

So, there they are in no particular order.

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