Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Shows and Events, The Blind Reviewer, This Day In Literature

Ahead by a Century (Recap of Anne with an E, Season Three / Episodes Two and One) #AheadByACentury

Ahead by a Century (Week Two):

(Spoiler alert! Read on, however, for a wider discussion of issues from stories.)

I put off writing this second week’s summery of Anne with an E (of Season Three) because I needed time to think about what I’d seen, but I do wish I could go back to find my summaries of all Season One episodes and I wish I’d taken the time to write recaps for all of last season that I missed. I was distracted, but I’m back and ready to recap!

(Either on Facebook, or here, or both.)

Only into episode two and I’m reeling from the sharpness of the storyline in this new adaptation. It’s not what many would want for L.M.’s Anne Girl character and her world, both at Green Gables and out beyond. It’s harshness is what makes it feel authentic and we can’t hide from that which is true authenticity, no matter what year we’re in.

If you want to escape from our world into the world of a century ago, to forget all our modern troubles, this show does that. The characters ride around in buggies, pulled by horses, and homosexuality isn’t spoken of. Perhaps a certain impeachable US pres’s grandfather is across Canada at this time, making money off of the greed for gold, but that doesn’t mean that this storyline isn’t going to be full of the realities of life that made it so harsh at the turn of the 20th century.

Anne is given permission and a blessing, by her adopted family of Marilla and Matthew, to go to Charlottetown and then to the mainland, Nova Scotia, to look for information on her birth parents. She must be accompanied by Gilbert, which she resents, and he is rebuffed by her moments of irritability as she is too preoccupied to see how much he already cares.

She arrives in PEI’s capital city to meet up with her gay best friend who will go with her to the orphanage she grew up in.

While Gilbert goes off and explores newly discoverable romance with another, for the time being, a whole other strange B storyline, Anne is brought back to some of the worst times from her early life. While Gilbert has a date in a tea room with a snooty young woman, Anne tries to find out if the orphanage has any record of her parents.

Again, I watch and wonder what places like that were really like for all the abandoned and orphaned little ones in the world, while wishing places like these weren’t still existing. Anne says that place is better than some and much worse than others of its kind. Sure, I like to see characters in fiction that I can relate to, blind or disabled or writers or whatever, but I’m also curious about the kind of fiction which explores lives I, myself, have never lived for good or for ill.

The woman in charge is cold and of no help at all, sipping her tea with disdain that Anne would even deem to return for anything. The man on his way out, after admitting he can’t take care of his flesh and blood children since their mother died, makes Anne start to wonder if the stories she kept going along with about her own two parents were really that of truth, that they both died of scarlet fever when she was still newly born. Was she really so loved and/or wanted at all?

Cole sees her starting to pull apart all the stories and her imagination that got her through such loneliness, as she finds old pieces of paper with her own stories written hidden in the bell tower of the building. She wonders if it was all foolishness and he tells her how brave she is to him for doing whatever she had to to survive it all those years.

As they head for the door to leave, mission NOT accomplished, Anne is stopped by a young woman scrubbing the floor. It’s another orphaned girl who once bullied Anne for daring to dream or have an imagination of any kind. She recognizes Anne and angrily shouts about how she isn’t still there, but is now paid to work there, but the whole scene is disturbing and ugly as Anne and Cole leave that place behind them.

From orphanage where children are left without love to the ferry back to the island. Cole won’t let Anne give up, but all the work Ms. Stacy and Matthew are doing to repair the old printing press so the children of Avonlea School can print a newspaper is about to lead to an unsettling ending to episode two when Marilla reads Anne’s article about meeting and visiting the village of the young Indigenous girl.

(Oh, what times these were where the fear in a white, Christian community of the “other” is so intense they refer to that other group of people as “savages” when such a term is so horrible to hear now that 2020 is the time we’re nearly living in.)

**Side note – Interfering neighbour Rachel is a woman of her time, thinking she must find the new teacher a replacement after Miss Stacy’s widowhood, whereas Muriel would be just as happy on her own as to receive any match making help from anyone, let alone Rachel Lynne. Once Lynne sees Stacy with a man, all alone in a barn, even if that man is Matthew, all that talk of impropriety gets thrown in Miss Stacy’s face. How dare she be working, out in the barn, like a man, with a man that is not her husband.

Marilla is afraid of losing Anne, now that she loves her so much, which will have Marilla acting out in all the wrong ways, but she can hear very plainly how much Anne is praying for word that she was loved by her real parents once upon a time.

To top it all off, we have the character of Sebastian (new to this adaptation) having a not so sweet second episode. He has a step son to learn how to handle, one who feels like his mother has found her do-over in new baby daughter and husband, and this young man sees with his own eyes the farm and house where his mother now lives with her new family, including Gilbert, a white boy…away from the black neighbourhood in the area known as “the bog”.

Elijah is not dealing too well with having a new baby sister and stepfather, bringing all his pain and his coping mechanisms, which primarily include alcohol and saying things he doesn’t really probably even mean, throwing insults at his own mother and accusing his mother’s husband of having an alternate plan to get rid of their new white friend and roommate, to take over the land. Sebastian is disgusted by the suggestion and the two almost come to blows.

By the morning, all Gilbert’s tangible, valuable memories of his dead father have been taken from the room and Elijah is gone. This family stuff is hard in any century.


Ahead By a Century:

I am back with my Anne with an E updates (season 3), after skipping this writing ritual for all of last season’s events.

It starts with a girl and her horse, Anne and Belle riding through the snow. … Pine cones. Silver coins. Anne turns 16 and desires to discover her lineage.

I’ve been long drawn to stories like Harry Potter, Frodo in Lord of the Rings, and Anne of Green Gables because the life of an orphaned character is so far from my own reality.

I may wonder sometimes about my ancestors, though at least I know of them, and I have always had present and supportive parents around. I wondered about those who never knew that kind of security and/or love.

It starts with Anne and Bell. It goes into the theme song for the show, a Tragically Hip hit that denotes the time period of Anne, as I sit here in 2019 and love this adaptation of the classic Green Gables story.

Ahead by a Century – The Tragically Hip / Anne with an E-Theme

One year ago this day I was on Prince Edward Island. I miss PEI in September as I watch this first episode of season three, expecting and seeing ads for Find Your Island with PEI Tourism making me recall it all. What a special place, an island (seen visually in red and green for many) but forever trapped in my head and heart as the setting for tragical events in a beautiful place, surrounded by water.

Sad that time moves on, even after the death of the lead singer of song Ahead By A Century, as I watch this series…from a time more than a century ago and I think of Gord’s work for connection with all who share this land before he died.

Anne and the girls watch the boys play hockey on a frozen pond and soon boys are declaring their intentions toward the girls. This is a timeless ritual, though somewhat changed in 100 years. Anne and Gilbert are meant to end up together, of course (poor Ruby), even if now it’s nothing but misunderstandings and awkward teenage encounters in the schoolroom. They will have their time, but in the meantime, brief interactions that mark a future love.

For now, as a newly sixteen-year-old Anne, she is the Bride of Adventure in her mind and that will and must suffice for now.

When season two premiered, we were introduced to Afro-Caribbean character, Sebastian, a new friend Gilbert has made far from Avonlea. Nothing like this exists in the 80’s series so many worship. I love both now, for different reasons, but Representation matters.

Creator of this update:

“I was troubled by the lack of diversity in the book, especially since Canada is such a diverse nation, both then and now,” she said.

And so, of course the novel was written in a different time, but it’s the 21st century now and the changes have only added to an already rich story with a lovely facelift.

Anne meets a young Indigenous girl and visits her community. The white people (Christians) stay separate from other groups then, but this inclusion started episode one of season three off right. I hope the friendship between the two girls continues.

Anne is open to meeting and making new friends and that’s all there is to it. She is supposed to represent the kind of openness of heart and mind that so many lack, then and now.

The scenes with Sebastian (Bash) and his wife Mary and their new baby girl made an already sweet episode even sweeter. Love scene between the still newly married couple made me grin, wanting love for others, fictional or no.

I have high hopes for this new season on CBC here in Canada, (to appear on Netflix in the new year).

That’s it for this instalment of Ahead by a Century, though most don’t have any knowledge or interest in the world of Anne, either Montgomery’s original creation or this re-imagining for a new century, but I’ll keep writing them anyway.

Here’s to all the Anne and Gilbert fans out there. What will this new season bring in the journey of their relationship?

How to be happy and content with oneself and still the possibility of finding true love with another?

I ask myself those last questions, those I posed after Season Three, Episode One, to myself all the time.

Also, I decided to go from most recent episode re-cap to the previous week’s recap here on the blog. I will return with Episode Three next week, here, but I’ve moved from Facebook to this blog because I want to catalog these and yet most people on Facebook know nothing of Anne with an E and could really care less and won’t bother to read, especially the longer my recaps end up being.

Maybe, after reading my recap here and after checking out the scene from YouTube I included above, both fans of the original Anne story and non fans alike might be curious enough to watch an episode. I say, to Anne fans everywhere, give this new adaptation a chance. I didn’t regret it. You might not either.

Shows and Events, The Blind Reviewer


“Where there is kindness there is goodness…and where there is goodness there is magic.”

I have heard of the many and varied versions of the classic fairy tale of Cinderella.


Truthfully, it was never my favourite Disney film when I was a child. Thus, I did not rush to watch any of the others that have been released since.

I guess I always thought the story to be a bit lacking in any real spark of interest to me.

I was a Sleeping Beauty girl, through and through.

The Blind Reviewer: Maleficent

I don’t know, then, why this latest retelling of Cinderella caught my attention the way that it did.

Actually, I have a hunch and it wasn’t the most solid reason to assume I’d like this new live-action production, directed by the brilliant Kenneth Branagh.

He is a multi-talented man and I felt he would pick the best actors to fill the roles and would present the story in a new and fresh way, just enough that I might come to love the story and see it in a whole new light.


As with all movie reviews I must say here that possible spoilers lay ahead. I would love for you to keep reading, if you can accept those terms.



Why should you see this film?

**There’s the fact that not one, but two of the actors in this film can be seen on the beloved nighttime soap Downton Abbey.

**There’s the fact that Kenneth cast the wildly talented Cate Blanchett (most notably of Lord of the Rings and Elfin fame to me) to play the wicked step-mother.

**There’s the fact that the special effects and costumes were/are supposed to be phenomenal.

Everybody loves the story of Cinderella. As I have stated above, me not so much, but I was soon turned around on the matter, a fair bit at least.

The first good sign was the fact that I went to see this film with DS (descriptive service) and it worked. I had the worst luck with that lately, but as happy as I was when I first heard that voice coming through my wireless headphones, that is not what sealed the deal for me.

It was not one of those times when the basic storyline was taken and changed around, to fit a certain theme or time period.

(Ella Enchanted or Ever After.)

This film sticks extremely close to the well-known story, loved by so many generations.

These most recent of retellings often give background, such as with my favourite Maleficent, and this particular Cinderella was no different.

She is a young woman who suffers a lot of loss, very early on, but she is clearly loved by her parents and has been taught some really really excellent lessons and values from both of them.

It’s hard for any child when a step-parent and step-siblings are introduced into the picture. Cinderella is no exception there, but she attempts, at least, to make the best of her circumstances.

When her father is no longer there to protect her, her home life becomes unbearable, if not for the mice who become her friends.

Banished to the attic and made to wait on her remaining horrible step-family hand-and-foot would be dreadful without the strength her parents instilled in her and her creature companions.

Now I was unaware enough not to have realized, until watching this time, that Cinderella got her name not by any accident.

There’s a really well-done scene where Ella is caught having slept by the fire to keep warm. Her step-sisters call her Cinder-Ella, after cinders from the hearth.

After suffering an extended period of torment and ridicule from the only “family” she’s got left, she retreats into the forrest, on a horse, to get away for a little while.

She comes across a stranger in the woods, teaches him about the value and respect for all living things, and an instant connection is formed between her and this mysterious Kit the so-called Apprentice.

She leaves a lasting impression. They both disguise their true identities, for different reasons.

Will they ever meet again? Of course they will.


There are procedures to follow as a prince when searching for one’s future bride, but Kit isn’t about to let that get in the way, stop him from seeing the captivating girl on the horse, from the woods again.

A royal ball is announced and Ella’s hopes are soon dashed, when her step-mother forbids her from going and posing any competition for her own two daughters, in the hopes that one of them might be chosen by a prince, for a life of luxury and wealth.

All this time, an all-knowing narrator has been explaining what we’ve been watching on screen and I like this element, also used in last year’s Maleficent.

I loved the British feel of this film and it’s splendid acting from all the cast.

I must say that my favourite of them all is Helena Bonham Carter, who is both narrator and Fairy Godmother. She brings a feeling of magic and wonder to this film that I couldn’t get enough of.

Helena Bonham Carter Talks Cinderella

After myself only seeing her as the supremely evil Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series of films, it was sweet to see her as the ultimate embodiment of goodness and generosity here.

The continual theme throughout this movie is what Ella’s mother taught her before she died and Ella never stops honouring her mother’s memory by finding the good in people and making the best of her bad situations.

The Fairy Godmother appears on the scene, just as Ella is at her lowest point, believing the ball is going on somewhere and she is missing her one chance for true love.

Fairy Godmother pops up and brings her own sprinkling of magic by waving her signature magic wand.

A pumpkin becomes a coach. Mice, a goose, and two lizards are transformed into the driver and horses. Ella’s mother’s dress, now in tatters but of which means so much to her, is altered into the most beautiful gown in all the land.

Of course she is presented with her famous glass slippers (almost as famous as the ruby ones from another famous tale) and off she goes, left with a warning to return by the stroke of midnight when the spell will be broken.

These elements of the story are at the core of what Cinderella is supposed to be about.

I’m simply putting it out there that Helena is the best thing about this film. She’s charming and witty and the mother figure Ella so badly missed and needs.

She is the kindness that shows up at just the right moment. This, going to show Ella that such kindnesses do still exist.

Of course I missed out on the stunning visual effects of orange vegetables and animals turned into royal transportation. I don’t see the visual beauty of the costumes.

And yet, I still lapped up every last feeling of magic and goodness that I could find.

The prince resists all advances from the many royal females and dolled-up girls, including wicked step-sister number one and number two, never losing hope that his dream girl would show herself.

They present her, in style, just her alone making her grand entrance into the ballroom.

Prince Kit and and Ella have their long awaited first dance. Jealousy boils up between all the other girls. Of course the step-sisters and mother have no idea who this mystery usurper is, not as of yet.

The prince and Ella sneak away and have a special evening, before the clock chimes twelve and she rushes off, losing one of her glass slippers in the process.

I followed along with the plot and story arc of course, but I knew what to expect with both. Any predictability, the bore I’ve thought this tale to be in the past, and all feelings of the poor damsel in distress and having to always wait to be rescued by a man were pushed to the back of my mind while watching.

It was the wonderful casting of characters and the themes of jealousy, cruelty, resentment, all balanced out by Ella’s never-ending compassion that drew me in.

Kenneth takes his time to present all of this and I didn’t mind. I followed along, loving the intermittent narration and the morality at the heart of the tale.

Things like status don’t matter. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

These are the truths at the centre of Cinderella, in the year 2015.

This was no Brothers Grimm ending, bloody and hacked off heels or gouged out eyes, in spite of the horrible way Cinderella is treated for most of the story.

Without spoiling the ending (come on though because you should already know this) and without giving away a whole lot more unnecessary details, I leave off my review right here.

Happy endings and all that jazz. It was heart warming to see that this is a film for all ages.

I must admit that at times I grew slightly irritated by the amount of people in the theatre, both children and adults, making noise and filling up the seats.

It was March Break after all. What was I expecting?


There are so many lessons for all ages to be found in this film. The themes of kindness, compassion, and forgiveness made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. I readily admit.

The star of this film, I will say again was not Cinderella herself (Lily James), at least not in my humble view. She was good and all, the perfect essence of all that is good and kind.

It’s the Fairy Godmother who steals the show and none of it would have been possible without her.

If I had to say, I would have to rate this film as being Four Stars.

In spite of an overly sappy line here or there, I was pleasantly surprised. Even as I entered the theatre with hope that I might just might like this version more than any other that has come before it, I wasn’t so sure at first.

Go see it for Helena’s performance alone, along with the other excellent actors that make up the other roles as simply an added bonus.

Go see it if you enjoy visual effects, or so I hear.

Go see a classic story, retold by a genius like Branagh and let the magic, enchantment, and spells draw you in and hold you there for a little while at least, even if only until the clock strikes midnight and the spell is broken.

Happy Hump Day, Shows and Events, The Blind Reviewer

The Blind Reviewer: Maleficent

I was so excited, waiting nearly a year for this particular variation of my favourite Disney story to come out, and all ready to review the film here. So what happened?

(Warning: possible spoilers ahead. Don’t get mad at me if you have not yet watched and you learn things you don’t want to. You have been fairly warned. In that case, move along and stop reading, but make a note to return after you’ve viewed the movie.)


It has been several months since that time and I am just getting around to writing this, but not because I hated it so much I backed out. I will explain below, now, finally with the release of Maleficent on DVD (or in whatever the hell form movies are coming out these days) I will try not to spoil the story too much. This is part movie review and part movie comparison.

Sleeping Beauty was my favourite fairy tale Disney cartoon as a child. I loved the fairies, Princess Aurora, and even the wicked Maleficent herself because she was just that frightening and evil, but what made her that way? That’s not really the sort of thing you look too deeply into as a child.

I didn’t know what to expect from this live-action movie. It’s been years since Sleeping Beauty and finally we were getting to hear the story from Maleficent’s point-of-view.

Angelina Jolie is the star of this movie, as it should be and as the title suggests, but she totally steals the spotlight.

In the movie trailer she seems just as evil as I’ve always known her to be. She made me tremble with just a few words, but there is a lot more to this version of the Disney villain.

The narrator helps to set the scene:
Let us tell an old story anew and we will see how well you know it.

Two kingdoms live side by side, a human kingdom and a fairy one, but not harmoniously.

The Moors is the home of all number of mythical, magical creatures, but a young fairy, Maleficent flies over it all, with her giant, powerfully strong wings.

She lives in a tree and hears of a human boy trying to steal from the Pool of Jewels.

She pities him and seeing something in him, lets him explain himself and the border guards back off. She has never seen a human up close. An unlikely friendship begins between the two.

She takes back the jewel the human boy was attempting to steal, tossing it back into the pool: “I didn’t throw it away. I delivered it home, as I’m going to do for you.”

She spares his life and saves him. They are both orphans and find something in each other. He risks danger to return to the Moors, just to see her again. He tosses away a ring made from iron he wears when he hears that iron burns fairies, just so their hands can touch.

He compliments her: “I like your wings,” as any boy might compliment a girl he likes. He came to the Moors, was about to steal a jewel, but ends up stealing her heart, something much more precious.

All the signs point to a love story between these two different races. Perhaps the old war between the two kingdoms is forgotten, but like most stories, the reality of life, the greed and ambition of man gets in the way.

Stefan’s desire, as he grows, grows too. I never would have considered, watching the Disney version as a child, any backstory between Maleficent and King Stefan, but it works well I think.

These two teenagers have had their own perfect version of true love’s first kiss, but the temptation and ambition have grown in Stefan. Maleficent has lost her own chance for any possibility of that iconic first kiss leading to a happy ending and they both lose out on everything they could have had together.

Maleficent is the protector of the Moors and must do so when the king and his army attack, envious and fearful. She is just a winged elf to him and he is no king to her.

He demands her head, but is wounded in battle. This is the perfect opportunity for the increasingly greedy young Stefan to show his loyalty to the kingdom of men. This is where things turned uncomfortable for me.

He uses the history between them to fool Maleficent. He can’t bring himself to kill her, but he does knock her out, using the dreaded iron against her, cutting off her precious wings.

Angelina spoke in interviews of the connection between this act in the movie and the invasion of sexual assault and rape. Of course this doesn’t have to be how this scene is read, but for me this is where the film took on a darker adult meaning, so different from the simple, innocent evil of the classic Disney film.

Angelina moved me, showing her truly perfect casting for this role, when she awakes as Maleficent to find that she has been robbed of her wings.

I could hardly even stand to listen to the scene. Her sounds of pure agony and despair on learning of her loss were difficult to get through. Although I could not see, I found it a hard scene to watch.

Stefan has his proof to present to the dying king and takes position as the newly reining King Stefan. He marries the dead king’s daughter and they have a child: Princess Aurora.

Back in the Moors Maleficent has no way of flying over her land to see what’s going on. One day she comes across the character of Diabal and saves his life. He pledges his loyalty to her from then on.

The pet raven Maleficent has as her loyal companion in Sleeping Beauty becomes a real man at times. Then, as a raven, is able to fly and find out what has become of Stefan.

Upon learning of the birth of the princess Maleficent feels betrayed all the more by Stefan and the well-known evil, hatred, and vengeance grows in her. She uses her magic to put up a wall of thorns around the Moors, just like the wall she puts around her heart. This is more reminiscent of the darkness of Maleficent’s castle in the 1959 film.

It is her rendition of the famous Christening scene that caught my attention with its power and the big way in which she plays it.

Angelina plays this with the right amount of resemblance to the original movie, but with her own spin on just the right touch of evil glee to be heard in her voice as she curses Aurora.

“My my…what an awkward situation.”

Maleficent: Awkward Situation Comparison.

When she pledges to curse the princess to death on her sixteenth birthday by the prick from a spindle of a spinning wheel, it is clear Maleficent wants to hurt King Stefan as much as he has hurt her.

When he begs her to spare his daughter, she says:

“I like you begging. Do it again.”

At first she feeds on his desperation and it makes her feel a little better, but then there is a sudden turn and she seems to soften a little then and reduces the outcome of the curse to only a deep sleep until true love’s first kiss.

It is a scene full of tension and anxiety. Maleficent wants to make Stefan suffer for what he did to her, like a victim of sexual assault who might want the same thing from their perpetrator, no longer believing that true love exists.

“This curse will last until the end of time. No power on earth can change it.”

The fairies aren’t like I know them and love them in Sleeping Beauty. Their names have been changed. They were always a bit useless once they were made to live without their magical powers for the sixteen years it takes to raise Aurora, but although still genuinely good and kind, they have been reduced to something farcical.

They are known, not as fairies, but as pixies. The blue one always reminded me of my grandmother, but in this telling of the story, the pink, green, and blue pixies (one played by the evil Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter), they come across as bumbling, foolish, ridiculous creatures. They have a fluttery wispy sound that grated on my nerves every time I heard it.

The scene where the baby is left crying and they discuss that she must be hungry, yet none of them do anything about it. This is where Maleficent comes in.

In the original film they would never have been so thoughtless. It appears as if they don’t really care for the child very much, not one of the three feeding the poor baby. Maleficent and her companion step in, Maleficent starting with resentment, referring to Aurora as “Beastie”, but she saves her life, more than once.

From then on she is a shadow who is always following and looking over Aurora as she grows. She tries to remain cool and detached, but slowly grows to care for the girl. This is a definite departure from the Disney classic, but it adds a level of depth to the story that nobody would have predicted.

As Maleficent’s heart thaws, it is King Stefan whose heart hardens as the years pass by and he is determined to find Maleficent. He slowly loses touch with reality.

All throughout the omniscient narrator speaks lines about the life Aurora lives, such as:

“Far away from the lofty palace that she remembered not.”

During one particular conversation between Maleficent and Aurora:

“There is an evil in this world, revenge, and hatred.”

Aurora asks Maleficent why she does not possess wings like the other fairies and Maleficent hesitantly explains that she had wings once, but they were taken from her.

She speaks of her long lost wings with wistful sadness. That they were stolen, but that they had been big and strong, never faltering, she could trust them.

These wings were a part of her and it was a terrible violation, what the now king had done by stealing them, removing them like he did.

As for true love, both the king and the “evil” fairy no longer believe.

True love does not exist.

I suppose I found the emphasis on this topic in this version to be the most interesting part.

Perhaps it is the guilt of this act that has eaten away at the king ever since. Perhaps he has blamed himself for the whole mess, for what has happened to his daughter and to the wild fairy he once loved.

As for his daughter, she is a princess, but she does not know it, until the day before her sixteenth birthday. She has confronted the shadow and is not scared of what she discovers. She has developed a strong bond with Maleficent, happy until the pixies inform her who she really is and that she must return to her father, the king.

The scene where Aurora meets a stranger in the woods isn’t at all like the key scene in Sleeping Beauty, but it still leads you to believe he will be the true love who will break the inevitable curse.

Once Upon a Dream, Sleeping Beauty

There is no magical moment when Aurora and Prince Philip dance in a woodland glen, with all the friendly woodland animals watching. It feels like this handsome prince is merely a background character in this updated adaptation. Any feelings of love are slow to grow, unlike the sudden realization of feelings that is a naive idea of love from a child’s point of view in a Disney movie.

Aurora is disillusioned with Maleficent and the pixies and runs to meet her father in the palace, which feels a little unrealistic, but it has gotten her back to where the danger really lies.

Even King Stefan’s insane order to lock her in her room does not prevent the curse from taking effect. She pricks her finger and Maleficent is determined to break the curse, but can it be done?

Does Maleficent really believe she will be able to lift the curse by bringing the prince to the bedside of her darling so-called daughter?

She tries to take back her curse, no longer only two options, good and bad, that are so simplistic, through a child’s eyes; black and white turns to grey.

She has found the stranger from the woods and brings him to the castle and to the sleeping Aurora. The scene builds to a climactic moment, after the more modern hesitation from the young prince, questioning whether he should kiss a girl he has just met.

Everything has been leading up to this. HE finds himself by the sleeping princess’s bedside. They wait with bated breath and you think this is the moment of the movie, the whole point.
Kissing someone without their consent, having not met more than once as he points out, suddenly also becomes something else, becomes more, like an invasion of personal space.

I won’t spoil the next part, in case I have, invariably, convinced you to watch this movie, because in spite of the issues I have with it, in case you couldn’t tell, I think you should.

Maleficent does feel the sorrow of what she has done to her precious Aurora. She admits that she can not be forgiven for it, because what she has done to the poor child is unforgivable, all that time she was so lost with seeking revenge and in hatred. This, perhaps, is the repentance you wouldn’t expect from an evil power like Maleficent, the kind of repentance the king can not realize.

By her bedside she declares:

“I swear no harm will come to you as long as I live and not a day shall pass that I don’t miss your smile.”

The epic climactic battle does not happen in the way you might remember it. It’s the heart of King Stephan, once touched by his feelings for the young Maleficent, that has turned cold and hard. He is beyond all help or hope. He has grown mad in those feelings of hatred and revenge, the same ones Maleficent fought so hard against, they have won out in him..

There is one final, dramatic point, a battle between Maleficent and King Stefan, involving a dragon, and true love does win out, but at a cost. The characters you might expect to end up happily aren’t necessarily the ones who do, but this story is a fairy tale, still grounded in reality and with a more modern touch.

The narrator, which I like very much because she has helped me to understand the story, sums it all up in a beautiful and satisfying manner. All along this invisible voice of the story is someone you may not have guessed.

Angelina Jolie is the star of this whole retelling and her role of Maleficent is one of the best of her career, in this lowly reviewer’s opinion.

This is no longer the sweet little fairy tale of my youth. The lessons are plentiful, on greed and envy, jealousy and revenge, true love and cruelty. The two worlds are so different and it is a constant struggle, a battle at times, to see if the two worlds can get along and live happily side by side.
Like most stories, the humans are the greedy ones, fearing magic and seeking to take its power.

Good and evil, black and white are no longer at the heart of it. This is a nice follow-up piece to the original Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, made fifty-five years earlier.

The three good fairies I loved so much, the pixies of this film, are the things I like least in this version. The one whose supposedly evil and her bird/wolf/man are my favourite characters.

My feelings were constantly on a roller coaster, from start to finish of this film. I hurt and I smiled. I would give Angelina’s performance a 5 out of 5, while the rest of the movie I would give a solid 4 for its fairy tale style, mixed with its modern-day themes.

In the end, it’s the true love in the unlikely relationship between Maleficent and Aurora that is the nice surprise of this film, true love between the two you never, on watching the original, would have guessed. This alteration in this updated version was a bewildering one and yet, a sweet change in direction of plot and story.

The true love of a man does not always have to be the answer, but it still ends up rounding out the story rather sweetly.

For you true love fans, you romantic fairy tale lovers who cling to childhood ideals like myself, it is nice to see.

So apparently we did not know this particular favourite of mine quite as well as we, or at least, as well as I thought I did. This was an unexpected surprise, and a mostly pleasant one at that.

It ends happily ever after, as a fairy tale is supposed to. The Moors become a bright beautiful place once more.

The kingdoms unify and Princess Aurora is crowned Queen, having been the narrator all along.

The two kingdoms are at peace with one another, in the end:

“Brought together not by hero or villain as legend predicted. But by both.”

That is what makes Maleficent and indeed the actress who plays her so spellbinding and what made all the other little annoyances I felt throughout worth watching.

Of course I can’t write this review without highlighting the musical tone provided for this film, by the haunting voice of Lana Del Ray:

Once Upon a Dream

It’s a lesson in growing up and learning about the good and the bad in people. It totally changed my perspective on this most famous of Disney tales, but in a way I won’t soon forget.

If you are a fan of the 1959 film Sleeping Beauty or even if you are not, go see Maleficent. Rent it. Watch it. Download it. You will have a good time.