The Envious Queen V

One week from today, Revenge returns to my television line-up…thank goodness!  Last week I posted two blog entries, one for “Emily/Amanda” and one for “Charlotte.”  Who better to round out this creative writing venture with than the matriarch herself – “Victoria”.

Cameo pendant with accent beads
Cameo pendant with accent beads

Representative of the Grayson matriarch’s spitfire personality and protective yet manipulative inclinations, I created a necklace design that’s a blend of royal violets and emerald-green crystals.  Dubbed “Queen Victoria” by the show’s writers and fans, I choose a cameo pendant symbolizing elegance, class, and high-society.  Plus, using a Victorian-style pendant was too perfect to pass up.

“Victoria Grayson” rules her world with fervor, determination, and ultimately a belief that she’s protecting her children.  Her intentions may be good, but her methods cause mayhem and tragedy.  Deep down, despite her faults, I am of the opinion that “Victoria’s” motives stem from envy.  Jealousy of those who the love she lost and reflective of the choices she made to get her where she is now.

The Revenge writers created a character that you love to hate while also feeling sympathetic to her situation, though self-inflicted.  “Victoria’s” portrayer, Madeleine Stowe, excels at bringing forth the complexities of her character.  As such, this necklace represents not only “Queen V” but the elegance and talent that Ms. Stowe shares each week.

Little Lotte: Steering Through Choppy Waters

**WARNING:  THIS POST IS NOT SPOILER FREE**

While those of us who call ourselves Revengers wait for the show’s return on December 8th, I took to my jewelry-making venture and made necklaces inspired by three of the female characters on ABC’s Revenge.  To see the “Emily/Amanda”-inspired piece, click here.  But, first…give “Charlotte” her turn in the spotlight.

Nautical pendant with accents of silver, dark red, and blue pearl beads.
Nautical pendant with accents of silver, dark red, and blue pearl beads.

“Charlotte Grayson Clarke” is a young woman torn apart by family.  Raised in an affluent household, she lived a carefree life until her world crumbled around her.  The revelation of her true parentage rattled her and had her searching for a place to call home and an identity that was all her own.  She found the unconditional love she never got from the Graysons (her brother, Daniel, notwithstanding) through the love of “Declan Porter” and her half-sister, “Amanda”.  She even found a friend in “Emily”, not knowing that “Emily” is actually “Amanda”.  Confused, watch the show!

After numerous tragic events within a short period of time, Charlotte underwent a reinvention of sorts.  She’s tougher, independent, and even a mini version of her mother.  She’s taken the helm of her own life and in doing so, has distanced herself from “Emily”.  Where not long ago she found a confidante and mentor in her brother’s fiancée, now she questions, distrusts, and even seeks to end the relationship.  Princess Lotte remains in the dark as to her familial connection with “Emily”.  So as she sets out to push “Daniel” towards happiness, she’s also destroying the plan her half-sister has put in motion.

Torn between two lives and ultimately two strong women, “Charlotte’s” necklace reflects a young woman attempting to take control of her life.  I added ruby-red accent beads to tie in her relationship to “Emily/Amanda”.  Plus, if my prediction is correct, the nautical theme will be quite apropos when Revenge takes it winter break.

 

DISCLAIMER:  No endorsement intended or implied

A Thorne in Their Sides

To fill the void until ABC’s Revenge returns on Sunday, December 8th, I’ve merged my love of writing and entertainment with a new-found artistic venture…jewelry-making.  Life inspires art, or in this case one artistic interest inspired another.

I have created necklaces inspired by three of the female characters on Revenge.  First up…”Emily Thorne/Amanda Clarke”.

Rose pendant with ruby-colored crystals and silver accents
Rose pendant with ruby-colored crystals and silver accents

Snatched from her father and the innocent life she led, a young “Amanda Clark” was forever changed in an instant.  Driven by fury towards those who wrongly accused her father, a now grown “Emily Thorne” is a shadow of her childhood self.  The young woman who returned to the Hamptons has tried desperately to maintain the persona she created so many years prior.

Very few know her true identity and fewer still know her true self.  As our protagonist fights for justice, she strengthens the walls around her heart.  Love in its truest and purest sense is difficult to maintain in the life that “Emily” has chosen.  At least, so far that’s been the case.  The romantic entanglements intertwine with lies, misunderstandings, and pain.  Pain of what was lost and what could never be.

Focused in her mission to destroy the Graysons, her actions are purposeful and clever.  Both the guilty and innocent have fallen prey to the path “Emily” willingly walks down.  With blood on her hands and pain in her heart, she does battle with the scared little girl she left behind in seek of revenge.

*Visit the website to learn more about this complex character and the talented young woman, Emily Van Camp, who portrays her with grace and care.*

DISCLAIMER:  No endorsement intended or implied!

REVENGE: How Sweet It Is!

**SPOILER ALERT:  This post may contain spoilers for those viewers who haven’t seen all of last season’s episode.  Proceed at your own entertainment “peril”!**

Up until the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on September 22nd, this blog focused on the returning TV shows I’m most excited are coming back.  Time for some…Revenge!

I got hooked in Season 1, Episode 1 and have remained entangled in the web of action that sustains this ABC drama series.  At its heart, Revenge is more than just the main character’s pursuance of those she holds responsible for her father’s incarceration and death.  For as much as “Emily Thorne” (aka “Amanda Clarke”) battles the individuals who wronged her family, she’s simultaneously battling her own demons.  This strong, conflicted, determined young woman fights every week to seek retribution, all the while torn by the damage her own actions have caused.

This remarkable cast excels at keeping the audience uncertain whether to love or hate their characters.  They do so by letting us see the complexity within.  The range of acting talent on this TV drama series makes this a program that is truly an ensemble piece.  Each and every cast member plays a role (pun intended) in creating characters that walk the line between naive, tortured and just plain malicious.  For instance, “Victoria Grayson” made some horrid choices, including letting “David Clarke” take the fall, but the writers gave Madeleine Stowe a canvas on which to paint.  And that she’s done!  We may not like what her character does, but we understand and sometimes even sympathize with her.

On the other side of that tattered coin, there’s “Amanda/Emily”.  Portrayed with stunning subtlety by Emily VanCamp, the series’ protagonist has us cheering her on even when her actions mirror that of those she seeks to punish.  Ms. VanCamp does this by easily moving in and out of two very different characters.  Last season her worlds started to collide and those around her got caught in the crossfire.  While a less gifted actress would choose an easier path, Emily handled her character(s) with care – making us not only sympathize with her plight but empathize with her struggles.  Case in point, this past season’s episode when the real “Emily Thorne” died in our lead character’s arms, I sobbed.  With the words, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry,” my heart broke.  All it took was a simple moment.  No overacting, no melodrama, no hysterics.  Just a heartbreaking performance by a talented actress.

That example is just one of many that speaks volumes as to what this TV series is all about – while “Emily” seeks revenge, “Amanda” continues to punish herself just as severely.   I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out what sort of situation these characters are in when the new season starts Sunday, 9/29/13 on ABC at 9pm (Eastern Time)!

‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Makes a Touchdown!

An incredibly well-written script, brilliant performances and overall seamless production makes Silver Linings Playbook one of my favorite films this year!

So, okay the year’s just started but that means the films that follow will have a great deal to live up to.  I am very particular about the films I deem “excellent”.  There are those that merely entertain me, those that make me smile and those that wow me on an artistic level.  Silver Linings Playbook moved me.  Impressed me.  And got me examining my life and the choices I’ve made.  Quite truthfully, a film that can achieve such a feat deserves my praise and support.

I had every intention on seeing the film for many reasons.  For starters, its star Bradley Cooper has impressed me since his time on “Alias” many years ago.  Jennifer Lawrence’s proven acting range gave me no hesitation that this acting pair would create quite an intriguing and engaging duo on-screen.  But, the kicker – I’m a life-long Philly suburb girl and this film pays tribute to the city that I love so well.

Adapted from the book by Matthew Quick, David O. Russell’s script takes you on an emotional journey.  From the moment we first meet Cooper’s character of Pat Solitano we care about him and that of his family who struggle to offer support and understanding at the same time.  We want him to succeed, cheer him on when he does and feel for him when he falters.  We can see parts of our own family idiosyncracies in that of Pat’s as he balances his inner turmoil with the help that’s waiting for him to accept.

The actors in this film are astonishing.  They breathe life into their characters.  Give them range, depth and complexity.  As the matriarch of the family, Jackie Weaver effortlessly blends raw emotion with a serene beauty.  The love this character holds for her family is evident in her every action.  Robert DeNiro’s stellar career has earned him the well-deserved respect of his peers and colleagues but also that of the moving going public.  His performance in this award-recognized piece proves exactly why he’s so well-respected.  He brought to life a character that’s as flawed as his son.  A man who loves his family and loves his “Birds” with nearly equal fervor.  He showed an incredible range with each scene and has me considering this one of my all-time favorite Robert DeNiro performances.

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper complement each other perfectly in this film.  They match each other in intensity, in depth and in range of acting ability.  As their respective characters battle their inner demons we see the power in subtlety.  These actors manage to take these roles and give us just enough without overdoing it; creating waves of emotional strength.  From gut-wrenching declarations to quiet moments of admission these two brilliant actors excelled in their craft; ultimately allowing the audience to accompany them on a ride that’s both heart-breaking and fulfilling.

In closing, Silver Linings Playbook succeeds in its genre due to the blending of each aspect of film.  From the cinematography, to the score, to David O. Russell’s skilled directing.  I highly recommend finding out for yourself just why this excellent film deserves all of the award recognition it has received so far this season!

Request Denied

The Golden Globes came and went.  Neither did I watch them on television nor did I attend despite my written request a few weeks ago.

I arranged to visit my sister and her family in Los Angeles once I found out the date of the Golden Globes.  I figured I’d multi-task; spend time with family and check off “attend the Golden Globes” from my bucket list.  After doing some research and realizing that tickets are not made available to the public I decided to step outside of my artistic box and hope that by just believing hard enough a door would open.  In the meantime, I set my DVR at home to record…just in case.  Ironically enough, despite my brother-in-law’s feverish attempts we were unable to watch the award show Sunday evening.

I have never before lowered my guard and asked for a selfish request to be granted.  That is, until I wrote a blog entry imploring the entertainment world to grant me access to the Golden Globes.  I shared the post numerous times on social media, linked it to entertainment organizations, TV show and film profiles and well-known talk show hosts.  I hoped deep down that my words would move someone into action.  That my deep sincerity and love for the creative arts would tug at some high-level executive’s heart-strings.  That they’d say, “Did you read this?  Let’s send this girl to the Globes!”

By noon on Sunday I had accepted the reality that no one was going to knock on my sister’s door with a camera crew and announce, “Are you ready to go?  We’ve got a team ready for hair and make-up.  You didn’t bring a dress?  That’s okay.  We have a selection for you to choose from.”  I suppose my life-long Cinderella fascination finally took shape.  There was not to be a fairy godmother to whisk me off to the award show ball.  No one to magically know how much I truly wished for my request to be granted.

I put myself out there in a way I never have before and it’s mildly embarrassing and greatly frustrating that I allowed myself to rely so heavily on the power of positive thinking and the actions of others.

The greatest lesson from this experience?  To focus on my own creative pieces (whether it’s the YA fantasy novel that’s nearing completion or the screenplay that’s in progress) and less on those of others.  To complete my own work, to the best of my ability, and know that when I do go to the Golden Globes it’ll be because I’m nominated!

Champion the Arts

Sports fans wear the jerseys of their favorite players, assemble fantasy leagues, and paint their faces to show their team pride.  They can spout off trivia facts and engage in passionate “discussions” as to the success and failures of their hometown teams.

Sports vs arts

A similar group of individuals exist in the entertainment industry.  We can list off random facts about our favorite actor, actress, writer or director.  We write letters of support or complaint to media outlets and/or the particular interested parties.  And like our athletic counterparts, we have in-depth “discussions” about our favorite moments.  Or more precise…we disagree about which character should be romantically paired with another.

We look forward to our favorite TV shows as much as a football fan readies for Sunday night.  While our sporting counterparts gather with friends and family to drink beer, eat wings, and scream at the referees, we take to the internet to re-hash the positives and negatives of the prior night’s episode.

We watch the special features to learn about the casting process, the set design choices, and the adaptation from book/stage to screen.  We read interviews from the screenwriter to gain insight into the finished work he/she created.  We stand at the stage door after a theatrical performance just to get a picture, signature or to manage an “I loved it!”  We find inspiration and motivation from those who’ve chosen the entertainment industry as their mode of creative expression.

While some of us may yearn to one day play a role in front of or behind the camera, there are just as many who merely want to show their appreciation for a job well done.  Who want to say “Thank You” for creating something that made a difference in their lives.  For giving us an opportunity to look at our life from a different point of view.  To pause and reflect upon the choices we’ve made and to perhaps reconsider a path we were headed towards.

So while my friends and family may plan for the big play-off party I’ll be waiting with excitement for the upcoming entertainment award show season.  May the best team win!