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Category: Reviews

Another Film Review

A very good evening to you all! The Lifestyle Support Guru here with another insightful and incisive film review. The film, a French one, was suggested by Mrs Marzipan (who featured heavily in my last post). She was accompanied by her husband, Mr Lederhosen (who also featured briefly in the same post and who, for once, had not managed to come up quickly enough with a DIY project to get out of the afternoon’s entertainment).
The film was called ‘Les Gardiennes’ and had been positively reviewed in some newspaper or other, although Mrs Marzipan couldn’t remember which one – I have a feeling it may have been ‘Farmers’ Weekly’.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comThe film was about how the women in France coped while their men were fighting in the Great War and, since I enjoy films about the two World Wars, I thought this would be an interesting ‘take’. Well, for the first hour, I thought we’d accidentally bought tickets for a screening of ‘Countryfile’ which had been filmed in an agricultural museum. We had long scenes of women haymaking, while the older men of the village stood around drinking homemade wine; every so often, a younger male member of the main family would turn up on leave from the front, give a little help in the fields, have a nightmare or two about the hostilities, then gaze into the distance for a while (as they always do in French films) before going back to fight.
A young woman, Francine, an orphan, joined the cast to help on the farm and, of course, fell in love with Georges, one of the sons of Hortense, the matriarch of the family. The tempo was upped a bit by now because Hortense, after falling over as she was guiding the plough (too much homemade wine, I suspect), decided to mechanise the haymaking and we were treated to a ten-minute scene of how this machine worked – fascinating! I was waiting for Hortense to get swept into the machine, but no such luck. Given that there was a war on, how did they manage to get the money? By selling homemade wine to some dastardly American soldiers who had not yet been sent to the front.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comI’m not sure you want much more detail – a tractor featured, and we were treated to five minutes of that being driven around the farmyard – and Hortense didn’t get run over, sadly.
Meanwhile, Francine has been getting more involved with Georges – they go off on a picnic and ‘cement’ their relationship, so to speak. I was most disappointed because they didn’t touch their picnic at all, leaving the baguette sticking up out of the wicker basket to go stale. 😊

www.lifestylesupportguru.comHowever, things were not meant to run smoothly – as Georges was being driven to the station by his mother to go back to the front, they pass Francine selling some wine to one of the dastardly Americans who is trying to kiss her – of course, Georges gets completely the wrong end of the stick (or baguette?) and Hortense encourages him in his mistake. Briefly, Francine gets the push and, of course, she finds out she’s pregnant but, although she writes to Hortense to tell her this, Hortense throws her letter on the fire.
As the film was going on, the year would be shown briefly when action changed and I (naively, as it turned out) assumed it would finish in 1918. It was when 1920 flashed up that I whispered to Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen, ‘I just hope this isn’t going to continue into the 21st century – we’ll be here all night.’
All ends happily – sort of (this is a French film, after all!). Francine, who has come into some money, is leading a happy life as a singer, and Georges turns up where she’s singing, and he looks thoroughly miserable. Hah!

We felt in need of some refreshment after all this agricultural misery, so we repaired to the bar for some wine. With eyes bigger than our thirsts, we ended up not finishing a bottle of wine and Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen insisting that I take the unfinished bottle home with me. Picture me getting on the bus home with a half-finished bottle of wine sticking up out of my handbag. Luckily, no neighbours were on the bus, so I think I got away with it!
Enjoy the rest of your evening! 🍷📽️🚜🥖👩‍🌾

Book Review Jeffery Deaver Speaking In Tongues

Warning – spoiler alert!

Last night I was sitting with DOT in the local, watching the middle-aged couple next to me swapping their tablet between them so that they could both have a go at ‘Bejewelled’, and thinking, ‘Get a tablet each, you cheapskates!’ I was watching them because I was bored with the book I was reading, which has so many coincidences and ‘devices’ to move the plot along that I felt like screaming and throwing the book at the ‘Bejewelled’ players and shouting, ‘Match three in this story, you fools!’

Attacked By Machete And Rottweilers

How can someone be viciously attacked with a machete by a psychopathic therapist before being thrown into a fenced enclosure with five – yes, FIVE – ravenous Rottweilers and yet still manage to get into the abandoned asylum where his kidnapped girlfriend (who’s been selling herself to older men) has managed to escape from a padded cell by squeezing through a grille next to the toilet (whilst being attacked by ravenous rats)? She sews up his wounds with a ‘cheap sewing kit’ she found in the psychopath’s bathroom (why would a psychopath want a sewing kit, cheap or otherwise? And what colour thread did she use?).
In the meantime, her divorced parents are having problems of their own (even though, from almost the first chapter, you know that they are going to end up back together), whereby the father, a super-intelligent lawyer-turned-farmer (yeah, right), gets framed for murder, all the time trying to help a police friend who’s been enticed by the psychopath to start drinking again (alcoholics are now obligatory in most books these days, I find) while the lawyer’s ex-wife (a former flaky New Age interior designer, but who’s now forsaken the Tarot cards for a boring fiancé, and whose eyes are described as ‘the colour of a sunset sky’ – bright pink?) is caught in a compromising position with the psychopathic therapist by her fiancé, who has been enticed there by a phone call from the mad shrink. I have about four chapters to go and I’m not sure I can handle them. You will have realised that I am reading a real classic – it may not rank alongside ‘War and Peace’ or ‘Anna Karenina’, but it may beat ’50 Shades of Grey’ as a load of badly-written and badly-plotted tosh.

Last Four Chapters

It is now the next day and I have finished the book and found that the final four chapters are no less ridiculous than the previous 27 – the kidnapped daughter escaped from the psychopath and headed straight for… the basement!

Coffin

Of course, that is the obvious place to get away from someone – THE BASEMENT! Has she never watched any horror films where the last place you go is THE BASEMENT? And where does she hide? Where else but in a ‘metal box’ (i.e. a coffin) in which the psychopath has been storing the embalmed body of his son who was so badly torn apart in prison that even the prison priest couldn’t recognise him – and yet, there he is, lying in the metal box, instantly recognised by the girl who saw his face once in a photo in a newspaper. Of course, the madman finds her.

Meanwhile, the girl’s father (who, we learn a little later, is not really her father because his ex-wife had an affair with her twin sister’s husband while the twin sister was having treatment for a long-term heart condition and it is he who was the biological father, but he committed suicide because of the guilt) is now being hunted by the police who believe he has killed his daughter’s best friend, and he and his ex-wife are heading to the disused asylum to confront the madman. When they are stopped by a local patrol car, they manage to trick the silly policeman, and the ex-wife is left standing guard over him with a gun while the hero carries on to the asylum where he is ambushed by the psycho but, being a silver-tongued, smooth-talking lawyer, he convinces the psycho to let the daughter go and kill him instead, persuading him to take him out into the extensive grounds because he’d rather ‘die in the open’ and the psycho – who’s just an old softie at heart, really – agrees.

The daughter sneaks up on the pair as they are having a discussion about the existence of God (yes, really!), and shoots the psycho four times, starting at the leg and working up to the head. (My first thought was that a mitigating plea of self-defence might be a tad difficult to uphold.)
The book ends with the daughter and non-father cycling off to visit some Mayan ruins in Belize while the ex-wife is going to see the fiancé who caught her almost in flagrante delicto with the psycho earlier in the book.

Suspend Disbelief?

I know that one has to suspend disbelief at times, but disbelief in this case needed to be hanged, drawn, quartered and buried in a metal box in a basement in a disused asylum!
Jeffrey Deaver, stand up and be counted with your ridiculous ‘Speaking in Tongues’!
I think I need to go back to the pub now!

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