Leisure Features

Not So Deep Thoughts

movie: victoria & abdul
The Victorian age is one of my favorite periods, and I have enjoyed Judi Dench’s portrayals of Queen Victoria, so I went to see this film (pictured above) with high hopes. It didn’t disappoint. At the beginning, the audience laughed at a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that the film is based on actual events, ‘mostly.’ From there, the filmmakers managed to weave fiction with fact to create an entertaining story about an unconventional friendship. It’s based on the book of the same name by Shrabani Basu.

The film centers on Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), an Indian Muslim brought from Agra to present a ceremonial coin to the queen. She is old and tired, and barely notices the gesture, but eventually the two become friends, and the queen is revived by Abdul’s kind attention. He becomes her ‘munshi’ or teacher, and she learns Urdu and the Quran with his help. Her stodgy, jealous advisers and family object to the foreigner’s influence, but she reminds them that she is empress of India, after all, so the lessons are appropriate.

Abdul provides the companionship she craves, and the queen touches his heart as well. I love that the film is entertaining at every turn, no small achievement in a setting like the highly formal royal court of Victorian England. Abdul and his Indian companion, Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), provide plenty of comic interest, as does the queen.

Should you see it? Yes, I really enjoyed it!
Viewed at the Landmark Plaza Frontenac Cinema

tv
The following are three shows you can watch On Demand when you need a distraction or laugh but can’t commit to a binge: The Lowe Files on A&E features the always adorable Rob Lowe and his two sons as they seek to solve long-time mysteries and spooky legends. Outdaughtered on TLC follows the Busby family and their adorable quintuplets. Don’t worry, this is no hate-filled Jon & Kate Plus 8. And finally, Sweet Home Oklahoma on Bravo is about the friendship between three women who truly like each other—no fighting like the Real Housewives of Fill-in-the-Blank!

book
Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood. Lockwood’s dad was a Lutheran minister who converted to Catholicism and became a priest. He moved his family into the parish rectory, where they lived an unusual life. She ends up leaving the church and marries at 19. Forced to return home with her husband 12 years later, she attempts to live with her odd parents. Lockwood is funny, and her writing makes you keep reading even though you should turn the lights off and go to sleep.

podcast
Candidate Confessional: Apple Podcasts. Sam Stein and Jason Cherkis talk to candidates who have lost elections, including those for Congress and the presidency. If you have any interest in what happens behind the political scene, this provides an honest and eye-opening perspective. It makes the talking heads you see on TV seem human! Be sure to listen to the interview with former Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander.

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