Sunday, May 19, 2013


Twice last week I missed parts of a movie and a TV show, because I'm visually squeamish about scenes that are too violent, too bloody, or too frightening.  Obviously, my aversions rather limit what I watch.  I read about the movies I select for my Netflix queue, and sometimes when the films arrive in my mailbox several weeks later, I wonder why I chose them.

Recently, I sat down to watch Inception, and, after 20 minutes or so, I could not work out what the story was about, so I quit.  When I was younger, I would have plodded on, but no more.  20 minutes of my life was enough.  Why I chose the film, I can't say, because science fiction is not my favorite genre.  Perhaps I was persuaded by the good reviews.

 The next film in the queue, based on a true story, was 127 hours, which was very well done.  When the movie arrived I remembered the story and wondered again why I chose it, because in the course of the film the main character, Aron Ralston, when he is trapped by a falling boulder while making his solitary way through a crevice in a canyon in a remote spot in Canyonlands National Park in Utah, is forced to cut off his own arm to save his life .  The film is pretty much a one-man show, except for the beginning and end and the characters who inhabit Ralson's hallucinations and flashbacks while he's trapped.  I had to have known that the amputation would play a large part in the movie, and I would not be able to watch.  Of course I couldn't, and while I was not watching, I missed other important scenes in that flashed on the screen while Aron was in the proccess of  cutting off his arm with a dull knife.  So it goes.

The BBC series, The Bletchley Circle, tells a story of four women, Susan, Millie, Jean, and Lucy, who worked at Bletchley, the top secret code-breaking headquarters in England during WWII, and have moved on with their lives post-WWII.  When a serial murderer kills a number of women, and the police cannot discover the identity of the murderer to stop the killings, the four join together, using their skills developed at Blatchley, to help find the killer.  When the police refuse to take seriously the information given them by the women, they decide to find the killer on their own. In the final episode of the three Susan finds a clue, and, in true mystery story convention, she goes off alone to find the murderer and puts herself in great jeopardy.  Without spoiling the ending, I'll just say that I could not watch the frightening scenes, and, once again, I missed necessary parts of the drama.  And how could I spoil the end anyway, if I didn't see it?

What shall I do?  Next time, will I be able to bite the bullet and watch the scenes?  I don't know, but I must do something different.

UPDATE: I must add that I thoroughly enjoyed The Bletchley Circle, and I read that the second season is now being filmed. 


it's margaret said...

I LOVED Bletchley Circle --and hope they do more of a series.

I found the mind-teasers --like the crossword puzzle found done in the kitchen area of her apartment far more terrifying than the ending --which was not terribly graphic --in my mind's eye, anyway!

Ann said...

I do the same thing -- I can't watch gory or really scary scenes because they amp up my already bad nightmares.

Grandmère Mimi said...

margaret, I added an update noting that I enjoyed the series very much and that another season is now being filmed.

About the ending, I wouldn't know, would I? :-) I didn't find the mind-teasers at all terrifying.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ann, I don't have nightmares. I guess I'd call mine daymares, because I can get the images out of my mind while I'm awake.

JCF said...

I meant to watch Bletchley Circle, and missed it (perhaps it's available on demand?).

I read an essay about Inception (shortly after my dad and his lady friend saw it, and HATED it, ala "We almost walked out"). Anyway, the essay said the movie had proved a MAJOR division between older and younger viewers. Almost w/o exception, viewers over (not sure what age: 65?) reported that they couldn't follow it, and disliked it. I'm sure it's something to do w/ the editting: music video-type quick cuts? (FWIW, I finally saw it last year, and while I could follow it, didn't particularly care for it).

Grandmère Mimi said...

My 17 year old granddaughter liked the movie a lot, so there may be truth to the age division. My GD also said you really have to see the film twice. No thanks.

Prairie Soul said...

Just ordered The Bletchley Circle so I'm glad to hear good reviews. Grandmère, look for the Lark Rise to Candleford series from the BBC. It was absolutely charming. No blood and no gore, but the writing was clever, and the story lines are very good. And if you haven't watched The Vicar of Dibley, you are missing many good laughs and more British charm--albeit a bit quirky. You also might enjoy Lilies, and I'd recommend Call the Midwife as well.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Prairie Soul, I think you will enjoy Bletchley. I've seen Dibley and laughed and laughed. I'll keep Lark Rise in mind for future viewing. Thanks for the recommendation.

Murdoch Matthew said...

Oddly, this posting on FaceBook has no comment provision. Does the comment bus not run after 1am?

I hate moments in movies that are embarrassing, as when a character is doing something stupid or inappropriate. I cringe in empathy. My husband, Gary, hates claustrophobic scenes. The second movie we saw together (the first was Victor/Victoria) was Das Boot, and he spent most of the film under his seat. He hated Life of Pi similarly -- lots of wide open ocean, but in a very small boat.

The time that horror at a performance really hit me was the first time I attended the Good Friday services at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which went wholehog for liturgical effect. The Gospel According to St. John was dramatized, with the lines of characters being sung by ministers and the crowd portrayed by the choir. When they got to the point of denouncing The Jews! The Jews! I fled. I mentioned my reaction to the rector later, and he was surprised. Familiarity with the scene had dulled his response. I've not liked John since.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Murdoch, I was able to comment on Facebook, as were others. I don't understand why you could not.

My reactions are reflexive, and I don't expect they will change much. I would like another chance to see the scenes near the end in Bletchley, but I could never watch the man cutting off his arm.

Prairie Soul said...

Well, I was feeling a bit guilty because I think I might have recommended some crime dramas to you before--most of which would have had squirmy scenes of gore. Apologies! Doc Martin is great fun, too, if you haven't caught that before.

Grandmère Mimi said...

While I was watching the Bletchley series, I watched the detective show that followed on on PBS here, Inspector George Gently, and I found it rough for my taste. I have not seen Doc Martin.

On the other hand, I love P D James' mystery books and the TV series based on her stories.