Monday, 16 April 2018

Film Review: Mary Shelley Trailer

Something exciting dropped on the 12th of April, 2018 — a movie trailer of a film that I having been greatly anticipating since becoming aware of the production and its immense cast of American/British talent: Elle Fanning, Maisie Williams, Douglas Booth and Bel Powley. With the exception of Powley, I have been an avid fan and follower of the aforementioned actor's and their careers to date. Thinking about it now, maybe that makes me more biased to the film as a whole. Really though, I just like to think that the cast itself makes me all the more excited for it.

Yet, when scrolling through Youtube comments and online articles, it becomes clear that there are people who seem dubious over the clear feminist agenda made apparent throughout the trailer. Lines such as 'The woman is not intelligent enough to form ideas of her own' have heavy connotations of feminist criticism. When I learned that this is truly what Lord Byron felt at the time, however, I couldn't help but be glad that the film wasn't sugarcoating the feminist issues at the time. Shelley's mother was, of course, an avid member of the feminist movement. Besides, if a movie such as I Love You, Daddy can be cut from airing due to its poor taste and obvious anti-feminism, then why can't a film celebrating the achievements of women just be celebrated as they should be? As the old saying goes, it seems that to some people you just can't win either way.

One of the beginning lines of the trailer comes from Maisie Williams. When Fanning, as Mary Shelley, asks her "Who is that?", she replies with "Shelley — beautiful, isn't he?" Instead of continuing the love story between the two as many archetypal period dramas would (we already know from Mary Shelley's namesake that the two inevitably get married), the story shifts into a feminist lens that is highly palpable throughout the rest of the trailer. These feminist overtones are, of course, what the haters are hating, but if done with more subtly throughout the film itself then I don't see it as a blinding problem at all. 

What are your thoughts? The mixture of feminism and great casting simply makes me all the more excited to go out and see this film. Of course, as with anything including feminism, the reactions are polarising. Let me know what side you're on.

Mary Shelley is due for release from May 2018.


Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Fresher's Week

Fresher's week. What a terrifying concept — literally a whole week of awkwardly attempting to socialise with people that you've only just met. An even more terrifying thought when you consider that I had the social ability of a teaspoon before university started. Luckily, I like to think I've come a long way since then, and so I'd like to offer what limited tips I can share...

1. Please do yourself a favour and damn sOCIALISE.

I know it's hard, especially if you're awkward like I was at the start. Know that it's easier to put the effort in early on than it is later down the line. Don't let that scare you though — be an open book and actively want to get to know everyone, even if it's just casual conversation that feels a bit dead. We all have to start somewhere. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find your true friends (it's just, like, statistics or something, right?)

2. Don't feel or be pressured

Don't be pressured to do ANYTHING that you don't want to do. I didn't drink or go to any parties before uni, so I stuck to that routine during fresher's week. The closest I came to was joining some of my new-found friend group's pre-drinks before they all went out until whatever hour and guess what, I didn't drink there either! Awkward was definitely my name and game, oops. But it was perfectly fine, because I was still accepted to this new environment and by these new people, so I felt relatively at ease and non-pressured. When you do decide to follow the crowd, ensure that it's 100% your decision and your decision only. Saying that, fresher's week is where you're expected to most exceed your comfort zone, so remind yourself of this and know that it's the easiest time to get involved with things even if you feel like a total new-comer. (Heads up: everyone is!)

3. Join societies and stick to them

Societies are so much fun but unfortunately as a first year, things got on top of me and I decided to drop out of them (whilst missing them terribly). Luckily I recognised my mistake, and here I am telling you not to make the same one (unless you really hate everything about it I guess). Now in second year, I have quite important roles in a couple of societies and I feel so much more fulfilled that  I'm able to maintain a society/workload/social life/uni balance. It's given me incredible opportunities and experiences, some of which are the definitive part of overall university experience and ones that I will never forget.

4. Be realistic

If you're still feeling uneasy in your new environment, I urge you to understand that this is totally normal. For the first month I felt like a total fish out of water, but I kept telling myself that this was only the beginning, that it could only get better from here. And that's so true; this is one week out of your entire university experience. Don't drop out at the sound of a warning bell, be steadfast! You can totally do this. And if you really feel that you can't...

5. Find support

Confide in a new friend, a member of staff you trust, a friend from your home or even your family. Let them know how you're feeling emotionally, academically, and in every other way.
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