New at the library
Disney’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” pulls at your heart strings. A family film and a bit mushy, this fairy tale deals with a young couple’s desire for a child. When they receive a diagnosis of infertility, Cindy and Jim Green write down the characteristics of their ideal child, put the slips of paper in a wooden box and bury the box in the garden. After a stormy night they wake up to find Timothy, a young boy covered with dirt, in the kitchen. Except for the leaves growing on his legs, Timothy appears normal and enthusiastically enters into family and small town life. In many fairy tales, the force at the center of the magic must leave yet the love remains. In this film the arrival of autumn brings bittersweet changes. This movie faintly recalls the beautifully written novel, Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
From PBS Masterpiece comes “Mr Selfridge,” the story of American retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge, who became the energetic force behind London’s most elegant and opulent department store. Founded during the early 20th century, Selfridge’s sold everything new and trendsetting. The eight-hour DVD series starring Jeremy Piven includes a behind-the-scenes-at-Selfridge’s special feature.
“Small Island,” a Masterpiece Classic presentation, stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Ruth Wilson as landlords in post-World War II Britain. Naomie Harris and David Oyelowo star as a Jamaican couple who marry for convenience and immigrate to Britain searching for better opportunities. The three-hour production explores issues of racism and colonialism.
The Japanese film “Quill” tells the life story of a yellow Labrador Retriever. We follow Quill from birth, through training as a guide dog, and pairing with his new owner, Watanabe, who is reluctant about relying on a dog. Soon, however, Quill wins him over, proving himself faster and safer than a cane. This film is also based on a true story.
Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones star in “Lincoln,” the recent award winning and inspiring film directed by Steven Spielberg. This film focuses on Lincoln’s drive to end the Civil War, abolish slavery and save the Union during the last four months of his life. Spielberg reveals the intensity with which Lincoln dealt with Congress, lobbyists and his wife and children.
“Monsieur Lazhar,” set in Montreal, is the story of how a middle school class deals with their teacher’s death by hanging with the help of a new substitute teacher. Monsieur Lazhar, a recent immigrant from Algeria, understands the shock and grief of his students because of painful secrets in his past. The teacher and students give strong, profoundly moving performances.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars in an English thriller, “The Last Enemy.” This almost five-hour long Masterpiece production examines a dystopian society set in London in the near future when technology and the fear of terrorism merge and put everyone and all places under constant surveillance. Cumberbatch plays Stephen Ezard, a brilliant mathematician working in China, who returns to London to attend his brother’s funeral. Within a very short time span, Stephen falls for his widowed sister-in-law, discovers a dying foreign woman in his brother’s apartment, becomes the spokesperson for a government database at the urging of his former girlfriend, and gets involved in a governmental conspiracy, all the while trying to figure out who he can really trust.
“Hysteria” is a film you definitely do not want to watch near young children. You may prefer getting together with a group of older friends for this one. Set in prudish Victorian London, a young doctor and his engineering roommate accidentally discover the electro-mechanical vibrator in this satisfying romantic comedy.
Another medical story set in London, this time in 1895, “Bramwell” is a four-season British production starring Jemma Redgrave as Eleanor Bramwell, a young, passionate and very intelligent doctor who attempts to improve public health services for people living in London’s East End slums. The writing, acting, locations, costumes and sometimes gruesome medical procedures are brilliant.
East London in the 1950s is still impoverished. “Call the Midwife” is a new British series that follows the nursing nuns and midwives who live at Nonnatus House and provide midwifery and other medical services to poor women in the East End. The series is funny, moving, honest and true-to-life.
Now that autumn is nearing you may want to gather on the sofa and view these DVDs and hundreds more that are available in the audio-visual collection on the main floor.