Author: Jessica Jørgensen

Only Yesterday (1991): A Coming-of-Age and Coming-to-Terms Gem of Subtlety and Introspection

Film Review: Only Yesterday (1991) Only Yesterday is a social realistic, introspective drama, following the ongoing conversation a 27-year-old woman has with her 10-year-old self. The film is essentially a psychological self-examination of where she now is, where she has been, how she got here, and where she ultimately wants to be. With a nice side portion of romance. Only Yesterday is an animated film, loosely based on a manga by Hotaru Okamoto and Yuko Tone. Japan’s Studio Ghibli animates. Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata writes and directs and creates a wonderfully tight and encapsulating narrative framework that steadily and...

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Your Name (2016): An Anime Blockbuster of Crisscrossed Cosmic Connections

Film Review: Your Name (2016) “The dream I must have had I can never recall. But the sensation that I’ve lost something lingers for a long time after I wake up.” Your Name is an animated fantasy/sci-fi, romantic dramedy, written and directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by CoMix Wave Films. It has been a runaway, international blockbuster, surpassing the heretofore highest grossing anime film of all time, Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. RELATED: THE LAKE HOUSE (2006) – LOVE DEFIES THE CONVENTIONS OF TIME Your Name tells the story of two star-crossed teens, a rural girl, Mitsuha, and a city...

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Violet Evergarden (2018): A Poignant Portrait of Finding Humanity in the Wake of War

TV Series Review: Violet Evergarden (2018) “The war is over, and Violet Evergarden needs a job. Scarred and emotionless, she takes a job as a letter writer to understand herself and her past.” Violet Evergarden is a Japanese anime series by Kyoto Animation, currently streaming on Netflix – one episode a week, like the good ol’ days of television. The series is based on a light novel/manga of the same name by Kana Akatsuki and illustrated by Akiko Takase. The story chronicles the emotional awakening and reckoning of a former child soldier, a human weapon of war, in her new post-war...

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Loulou de Montmartre (2008): Period Epic, Soap Operatic Whodunit for the Whole Family

TV Review: Loulou de Montmartre (2008) Loulou de Montmartre is an animated French TV series, following the rather melodramatic, often Dickensian, travails of one orphaned, Parisian teen, Loulou, at the turn of the 20th century. Comprised of one season of 26 episodes, Loulou de Montmartre is a gripping epic – truly, a very compelling story for kids and adults alike – created by Françoise Boublil and Jean Helpert. They have written a book series of the same name. The animation is beautifully old-school, hearkening back to the 2D, hand-drawn cartoons of my youth. It’s subdued and streamlined, colorfully minimalist,...

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Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter (2014-15): Classic Anime of a Scandi Children’s Classic

TV Series Review: Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter (2014-15) They don’t get much bigger in Scandinavian than Astrid Lindgren, the beloved children’s author responsible for such cherished characters as Pippi Longstocking, the brothers Lionheart, and Ronja, the robber’s daughter. I have lived in Scandinavian for the past many years, and Lindgren’s works and their many screen adaptations are nothing less than canonical, beloved in these nations of the north. Children in Lindgren’s universe are fierce, funny, cheeky, clever, bold and brave. They are also vulnerable, naïve, silly, vicious, stubborn, always pushing boundaries, searching, seeking, learning, doing. In short, they are...

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Romantics Anonymous (2010): Social Awkwardness Lovingly Dipped in Chocolate

Film Review: Romantics Anonymous (2010) Romantics Anonymous is a delectable Belgian-French rom-com that follows the blossoming love of two eccentric, socially awkward and romantically hampered individuals. All this in the realm of a chocolate factory. Jean-René Van Den Hugde (Benoît Poelvoorde) owns and runs the family chocolate business and regularly sees a shrink for his debilitating social anxieties. He shrinks from human contact and always carries with him a briefcase of extra shirts since any social interactions cause him to sweat profusely. The chocolate factory is on the brink of bankruptcy under his eccentric leadership. Angélique Delange (Isabelle Carré)...

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Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998): Twenty Years of Forthrightness and Folktales

Film Review: Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998) Kirikou and the Sorceress is the debut animated feature film of the renowned French animator/writer/director, Michel Ocelot. Drawing upon folkloric elements from West African folktales, the film tells the story of the fantastically walking and talking and insatiably curious newborn (yes, he’s just been born!), Kirikou, who has many adventures and run-ins with the evil sorceress Karaba. Kirikou and the Sorceress combines the talents of animators and production companies across many European nations: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Hungary, and Latvia. It is a wonderfully fruitful partnership, bringing to life a beautiful and poignant...

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Clueless (1995): A Nineties’ Time Capsule of a Timeless Classic

Film Review: Clueless (1995) Now considered something of a modern-day, cult classic, Clueless is a coming-of-age, satirical rom-com, loosely based on none other than Jane Austen’s classic, Emma. Instead of the pastoral English countryside à la early 19th century, the setting is now the urban, glitzy glamor of the Hollywood Hills near the close of the 20th century. Amy Heckerling writes and directs. Alicia Silverstone stars, along with Paul Rudd, Stacey Dash and Brittaney Murphy. Like Austen’s Emma Woodhouse, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is loved, lovable, intelligent, full of potential, spoiled, self-absorbed, superficial, meddling. In short, she is clueless....

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989): A Coming-of-Age Classic with a Lesson for Life

Vintage Film Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Kiki’s Delivery Service is an animated coming-of-age tale of a young, teenage witch out to make her way in the world and find her purpose. The film is Studio Ghibli’s fourth animated feature and is one of this reviewer’s personal favorites. I love this film so very much. I have watched it again and again, at various points in my life, and it never gets old, and it never ceases to uplift and inspire. RELATED: THE LAST UNICORN (1982): A HAUNTINGLY MUSICAL, MAGICAL AND ALLEGORICAL ANIMATED CLASSIC Kiki’s Delivery Service is an adaptation...

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A Round-Up of Mr. Rochesters – Just Because

He had a dark face, with stern features and a heavy brow; his eyes and gathered eyebrows looked ireful and thwarted just now; he was past youth, but had not reached middle-age… I knew my traveler with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognized his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw – yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonized in...

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Gnomeo & Juliet (2011): A Rockin’, Comedic, Family-Friendly Take on a Tragic Classic

Film Review: Gnomeo & Juliet (2011) The greatest love story you have ever gnome. History repeats itself: first as tragedy, second as farce, or so some clever heads have proverbially asserted through the ages. Gnomeo & Juliet is a computer-animated retelling of Shakespeare’s eminent, star-crossed tale of woe, Romeo and Juliet. But, as the punny tagline suggests, the woe has been swapped out with whee and whoa and whoop-whoop, with lighthearted fun. This is a version of Romeo and Juliet which gets a happily ever after. A British-American fantasy rom-com, Gnomeo & Juliet boasts a stellar vocal cast, including:...

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Claire McFall’s Ferryman (2013): Finding Love After Death in This Solid YA Debut

YA Book Review: Ferryman (2013) by Claire McFall “I exist because you need me.” When Dylan emerges from the wreckage of a train crash onto a bleak Scottish hillside, she meets a strange boy who seems to be waiting for her. But Tristan is no ordinary teenage boy, and the journey across the desolate, wraith-infested wasteland is no ordinary journey. Life, death, love – which will Dylan choose? Thus, reads the back flap of Claire McFall’s debut novel from 2013, Ferryman. The novel arrived to modest fanfare in McFall’s native Great Britain, winning the Scottish children’s book award, but...

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We’re Amber and Autumn, identical twins who hope to inspire fellow kindred spirits to live a more imaginative, Romantic Life so together we can all create a more beautiful world! We’re on a mission to find and promote quality Jane Austen-like romances of restraint & Brontë-like stories of Romanticism. We’re on a mission to create these stories as well as inspire other storytellers to create them. And we’re on a mission to live like modern-day Romantics – Silver Petticoat style, of course. We’re damsels not in distress ready to fight for the all-new optimistic Romantic Revolution! Are you with us?

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