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Movie Review: Good Ol’ Freda (2013)

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Good Ol' FredaPlot Summary (Taken from IMDB): A documentary in which Freda Kelly looks back at her career as lifelong secretary for The Beatles.

My Review: One of the best things about this film is its subject, Freda Kelly. She wasn’t just the Beatles secretary. She was also a fan who admired the group enough to have fun working them and being in their circle while respecting their privacy. She is also a link to the Beatles fans and the band through the Beatles fan club and band magazine.

Another great facet of the film is that the film features candid, humorous, and sweet memories of Kelly’s time with the Beatles. When you think of the word “secretary”, you’d think that Kelly would just be typing a lot and answering phones. She did do these things, but she also fought her way through fans to deliver the Beatles’ wages, was there when the Beatles were presented to massive crowds, and rode with the Beatles on the Magical Mystery Tour bus.

In addition, the film uses a variety of sources to tell Kelly’s story including photographs, audio recordings, and interviews with family and colleagues from the past and present. The most interesting source besides Freda herself was the letters that Freda wrote for the Beatles magazines to the fans. These sources give you an insider’s view of Beatlemania and its effect on Kelly.

The most poignant thing about the film is the humble and casual way that it is presented. This didn’t feel like a documentary, but a very long nostalgic conversation. The emotion in Kelly’s face and voice  as she examines Beatlemania souvenirs and discusses her memories with a  is very touching.

Overall, this was an excellent documentary. I recommend it to any music fan or Beatles fan.

Written by Serena Zola

January 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Movie Review: Bully (2012 Documentary)

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Source: Wikipedia
Rating: PG-13

Plot Summary:  Kelby Johnson is an openly gay girl ostracized for her sexual orientation. Ja’Meya Jackson is suffering the consequences of pulling out a loaded gun to scare her peers . Alex Libby is socially awkward and pays for it verbally and physically. Parents Kirk and Laura Smalley and Tina and David Long are picking up the pieces after the suicides of their children. Although all of these people are in different states, they all share one painful thing: bullying.

My Review: One of the best things about this documentary is how realistically it captures bullying from the victim’s point of view. The victims are a diverse group of people who represent different circumstances. Also, it was good to see how the people around the victims reacted to what was going on. By sharing the voices of those around victims of bullying, it shows how bullying can affect an entire community rather than just one person.

Another thing the film does well is capturing the reactions of officials who are supposed to assist students and parents dealing with bullying. One particular scene involves Alex’s assistant principal dealing with a victim and a bully in the hall. While these two students aren’t the main characters of the film, the interaction between them and the assistant principal is shocking. Every scene like this challenges the viewer mentally and emotionally.

While the film makes a great attempt to capture bullying on film, there were a few flaws. One flaw is that the viewer never sees things from the bully’s point of view. Even though it is extremely important that bullying have their stories told, excluding the bully’s point of view makes the film bias. Also,  the film makes the connection between bullying and suicide too simple. It is possible that other factors could have led to the suicides depicted and the film should have reflected that. Together, both of these flaws cause the film to scratch the surface of bullying instead of providing a deeper view.

In addition, the film could have done a better job showing the aftermath of the young main characters. Kelby’s aftermath was fine, but there should have been more to Alex’s and Ja’Meyah’s. If a young person experiencing bullying saw this film, then they might feel lost at the end. it should have shown how to survive bullying without hurting yourself or others.

Despite the film’s flaws, the film is a powerful view of bullying. I recommend it to anyone involved with children and anyone experiencing bullying.

Written by Serena Zola

August 12, 2013 at 10:00 AM

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