Whenever I think about great writing. I think about Salman Rushdie and the following passage which is by far the best passage I have ever read in any book!
We look up and we hope the stars look down, we pray that there may be stars for us to follow, stars moving across the heavens and leading us to our destiny, but it's only our vanity. We look at the galaxy and fall in love, but the universe cares less about us than we do about it, and the stars stay in their courses however much we may wish upon them to do otherwise. It's true that if you watch the sky-wheel turn for a while you'll see a meteor fall, flame and die. That's not a star worth following; it's just an unlucky rock. Our fates are here on earth. There are no guiding stars.
--- Salman Rushdie, 'The Moor's Last Sigh'
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Monday, December 22, 2014
I'm not saying its badly written or anything. Thats not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that I didn't get it. Its just a long rant by a teenager that is completely understandable and extremely normal. What the main character feels and does is what almost any teenager would feel and do. So whats the big deal. This book is not full of some obscure revelations or anything.
What I mean is I don't get why this book is a classic. Its just a decent book. Nothing more. Just an insight into a teenage mind. Nothing profound. Nothing deep. Simple, obvious observations. No plot, no story, no beginning and no end. Just a recounting of three days in the life of a confused teenager. Sorry, I just don't get it.
Don't get me wrong, I got the messages that others claim to have got from this book. All that stuff about things changing and all. Obviously its sad that life is ending and things change and we would like them to not change. But thats the key word there "OBVIOUS". I know these things. I don't need this book to remind me of them. And anyway, it just states them. Doesn't give a different, more profound take on them. Just states what I already think. You see? I don't see why it should be a classic for stating (while important) very, very obvious truths of life in the most simple of ways!
I don't get it!
The movie starts after the end of WWII and shows us the affair between a young man and a woman twice his age. An interesting aspect of this affair is that the lady likes being read to. Thats where the slightly misleading title comes from. Anyway, the affair is short-lived and the next time we see these two, the young man is a law student observing a war crimes trial and the lady is among those on trial.
The movie doesn't exactly preach anything but it seems to try to make the war criminals human. By telling us that this woman who was responsible for hundreds of deaths, just liked being read to, the film in some way tries to humanize her. Add to this the fact that the ending seems to somehow absolve her of her crimes, and the message of the movie seems to be that even war criminals were simply human with innate human traits.
And this is why I didn't like this movie at all. I have the utmost respect for human life and so, this woman who valued her orders more than innocent lives will never have my compassion or forgiveness. She was a monster and just because she liked books and reading doesn't make her any less of a monster. The movie seemed to forgive her while I never, ever would.
Having said that, technically the movie is great. Very well directed with excellent acting all round. Thats the only reason I rate it 5/10 instead of 1/10