Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

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Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

My Week with Marilyn (♦♦♦♦)

In 1956, during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl, Marilyn Monroe charmed Colin Clark, a third assistant director in the production. As a consequence, the dynamics of the relationship that ensued are explored, as well as her interaction with her co-star and director Lawrence Olivier and the rest of the cast.

If with Blue Valentine Michelle Williams earned a well deserved Oscar nomination, My Week with Marilyn certainly consecrates her as a screen royalty. Michelle Williams not only physically resembles Marilyn Monroe, but displays her charming screen persona as if possessed by Marilyn herself.

Williams, with the help of an amazing script, successfully manages to portray Marilyn in all her human complexities: as a magnetic actress able to command the cameras at will, but also as a drug addict and insecure belle, who thanks to a neglected childhood needed all the adulation in the world to feel wanted and noticed.

Also noteworthy is the acting of supporting characters key to the story such as Kenneth Branagh as Lawrence Olivier, who successfully conveyed the frustration and awe that a fellow actor must have felt for Marilyn Monroe; Judi Dench, an acting heavyweight always with Oscar worthy performances, Emma Watson, as a costume assistant already stepping out of the Harry Potter’s shadow, and especially good is Eddie Redmayne (The Pillars of the Earth, The Good Shepherd) as Colin Clark, the man who falls in love with Marilyn Monroe and ends up brokenhearted.

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