Books, Movies, Television, & A Play: Women

A theme seems to have emerged from my reading and watching these days:


As leaders, as in the films Mary, Queen of Scots and On the Basis of Sex; and television series, Madame Secretary.

Repressed women, as in the film Roma, and women finding their voices, as in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. In books, I listened to Eleanor Oliphant is Fine, about a woman who manages to survive child abuse; and the women protagonists of Thrity Umrigar’s novels, The Space Between Us and The Secrets Between Us, who navigate the extreme poverty of New Delphi’s slums to fortify family and forge friendships.

I also read about an early “MeToo” case in Patricia Miller’s non-fiction account, Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the “Powerless” Woman Who Took On Washington and saw the dramatic portrayal of Gloria Steinem, in Gloria, told in many voices with historical video footage. 

Whew! This wasn’t an intentional focus, though it seems more and more stories are being written and filmed that feature women’s roles in personal and professional life.

I’d seen the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, RBG, and was a bit dubious about the feature movie. Go see it. Bring your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, sisters, mothers, and aunts. They should see RBG too. Young people will be incredulous at the attitudes toward women in the late 1950’s, and what still resonates today. Fascinating history of how she became RBG. May she live a long, long life, please?

As for Mary, and also Elizabeth I, I wasn’t so current on the actual history and do think the producers took liberties portraying the monarchs with more feminist outlooks than they may have had. See it for the history and scenery.

Roma didn’t work for me and I know I’m in a minority. Shot in black and white, it’s the story of a maid who works for a wealthy family in Mexico, based on the director’s own life. The actors are all unknowns.

We love Madame Secretary. Though each episode deals with myriads of crises, there’s humor found through the day to day predicaments of the Secretary of State’s family and her staff. We loved the first season of Mrs. Maisel, started the second, dropped it, and then I returned to it when my husband was out of town. It’s a bit hokey but endearing.

See Gloria. The second half is opened to the audience for people to share their stories. A different and effective sort of theater experience.

We also saw and liked Green Book and Operation Finale.



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2 Responses to Books, Movies, Television, & A Play: Women

  1. Patti Winker says:

    Hi Lisa – I have been reading your blog… just not commenting, until now. I, too, find myself drawn to stories by and about women. The MeToo movement, plus our incredible RBG have certainly sparked a need in me to learn and immerse myself not just in the facts, but the feelings. It seems right to connect with our shared female experience.

    Thank you for sharing your opinions here. (And, yes – I am a huge fan of Mrs. Maisel – binge watched the whole thing. Agreed; a bit hokey, but gorgeously filmed with an eye-opening glimpse into the world of comedy for women in that era.)


  2. Drjcwash says:

    Thanks for the update. I see Mary and Elizabeth. I remember the version with Glenda Jackson and Vanessa Redgrave. Haven’t seen the or read the other books or movies.


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