Films About Women 34

1 Babette’s Feast

When I came up with the idea of this, this was one of the first films I wanted to see. Naturally, it took me a long time to finally get around to watching it. It was worth it. Babette’s Feast tells the story of a pious town devoted to simplicity and all around blandness. Ok, that’s not the most elegant way of expressing their religion, but it is the most straight forward way. Their clothes are drab, their church is without ornament, and their food is flavorless. There is no room for anything other than the barest essentials. One day, a young woman escaping from France lands on their door, looking for refuge from one of France’s many revolutions. She devotes herself to the community as a servant and follows all instructions. One day, she asks if she can prepare a feast for the little community.


This is a deeply religious, and deeply joyful film, and one that is open to interpretation. Catholics may see in this film an affirmation of the sacramental; Protestants will see in this film an allegory of grace and God’s generosity. Either way, the film is excellent and well worth watching.

2 Daisy Kenyon

Daisy Kenyon is a classic love triangle with Joan Crawford at the center. Joan Crawford plays a woman involved in an adulterous relationship when she meets a returning soldier.  She must decide between the two men, even after she marries one of them.

Daisy Kenyon

This film is told in film noir style, and in film noir style it tackles themes such as adultery, divorce, and stalking.  I watched this film strictly for this list but I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it!  Joan Crawford plays well against Henry Fonda and all of the characters in the cast, and I was genuinely invested in her plight.

3 Gloria

Gloria tells the story of an elderly divorced woman who finds herself back on the market in Santiago, Chile.  She meets an elderly man and they begin a torrid affair.



Gloria tells the story of a woman approaching the golden years of her life.  Despite her troubles, Gloria does not let her age define her.  Gloria can still meet and have sex with men, shoot a paintball gun at an ex lover’s house, and dance the night away.  In an industry that refuses to tell stories of older women who aren’t Meryl Streep (no offence), it is refreshing.

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Every Time We Say Goodbye, sung by Natalie Cole

This song was, of course, written by Cole Porter, who both composed it and wrote the lyrics.


When the movie DeLovely was made, they hired famous singers of many different backgrounds to sing his repertoire.  One of them was Natalie Cole.

RIP Natalie.  You were a great musician in your own right.


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Madonna and Child Andrea Pisano

This statue makes me think of my medieval history class.  My professor took us the the museum to look at medieval art.  She talked to us about how, as the Middle Ages progressed, sculptors developed an awareness of “sway.”  Instead of standing rigidly with their weight evenly distributed between both feet, the statues will begin to distribute their body weight unevenly, putting more weight on one leg.  This statue has excellent sway.

Madonna and Child Andrea Pisano

Happy New Year everyone!

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Adoration of the Shepherds by Hugo van der Goes

I love the two men pulling aside the curtains.  It makes it seem as though they are letting the viewer in on a secret.

Adoration of the Shepherds Hugo van der Goes

This hangs in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin and is courtesy of the Web Gallery of Art.

Merry Christmas!

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New York, New York by Frank Sinatra

I heard several stories on NPR this week about Frank Sinatra, so I thought that I should write about my favorite Frank Sinatra song.

I went to New York for the first time my junior year of college.  I had struggled with depression the previous year and had not really been on vacation for years.  We were too poor.  However, my college had arranged a trip to New York for only $100, it covered the hotel, the bus, and Avenue Q, Broadway show.  We had to leave at midnight or at some ungodly hour, I can’t remember.  I walked down the street in the dark dragging a small suitcase behind me, praying that I would not be attacked or raped on my way to the student center, where we would pick up the bus.

As I did, I had this song in my head.  I may have even sang it as I walked.

The hope, excitement, and determination in this song is unmatched, and Frank lends it his own signature style.

For the record, I had an amazing time in New York.  One of the great moments of my life was walking toward Central Park and realizing that I was walking around New York.  I felt so grown up, and for the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful about my future.  After all, I made it there.  :)

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Immaculate Conception by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

I posted a similar picture four years ago, but this is a favorite subject of Murillo. Or rather, I should say, this is a favorite subject of his wealthy Spanish patrons.

Immaculate Conception Murillo

This is one of my favorite versions. I mentioned last year that Peter Paul Rubens portrays the Virgin as voluptuous woman as opposed to a young girl. I suppose, when I wrote that line, I had this image in mind.

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A Not So Graceful Exit: Why I Left Teaching


Yesterday, I quit.  In the middle of the school year, I quit.  After fourteen years in education, I quit.  I.  Quit.  Quitting isn’t something I do, particularly when children are involved, so this is still quite difficult to think or talk about.  It might seem an abrupt decision to some, but for those that know me well, you know this is something I have flirted with for a few years now.  I think it started about five years ago…

I was teaching in an inner-city school in Memphis.  I loved my principal.  I loved my kids.  I loved teaching.  Now, of course, there were issues.  Too much paperwork.  Not enough hours in the day.  Uninvolved parents.  Disobedient children.  District mandates that made no sense.  Still, overall, I was happy being a teacher.  I knew that I would either drop dead teaching or they would have to roll me out in…

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