It’s OK to…

  • … doubts but still choose to go after what feels right to you.
  • … give up something other people say is really important that is no longer important to you.
  • … love people who are still trying to learn how to love you the way you should be loved.
  • … refuse to worry about tomorrow.
  • … believe even though you can’t explain why and what it is you believe in.
  • … choose inner peace over proving your point.
  • … to completely reinvent yourself.
  • … be confused and patient.
  • … quit doing something that drains your positive energy.
  • … only see the good in other people.
  • … spend the day dreaming.
  • … take time away from the things you “have to do” in order to have more time to yourself.
  • … look at things from a different perspective.
  • … forgive everyone – even those who don’t deserve it.
  • … admit you need to improve things about yourself.
  • … learn by making wrong turns and mistakes.
  • … change your mind.
  • … treat yourself to indulgences from time to time.
  • … take the day off, the month off or even years off.
  • … explain to people exactly how you feel.
  • … not know the answer.
  • … need and seek help.
  • … start over.
  • … desire “Something More” out of life.
  • … be vulnerable.
  • … go through a tough time.
  • … slow down.
  • … search for your purpose.
  • … embrace uncertainty.
  • … take baby steps.
  • … believe anything is possible.
  • … have to figure out who you really are.

“A Tale as Old as Time” – ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Movie Review 4/5

Director: Bill Condon.

Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Josh Gad, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Kevin Kline.

PG cert, 129 mins

Cast

Starting off with the obvious: the cast. When I found out they were doing a live-action version of Beauty and the Beast, I searched long and hard for actors that could play Belle, Beast, Gaston, Maurice, Mrs Potts, Chip, Lumiere, Cogsworth et al.

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First promotional photo of Emma Watson as Belle

Let’s start off with the protagonist: Belle. Upon the announcement that Belle was being portrayed by the queen of feminism herself, Emma Watson (do I NEED to mention the movies she’s been in?!), I could not have screamed “YES!” louder than anything. Then I frowned and thought to myself, “Okay how the heck didn’t I see Emma Watson as Belle?!” And then, this promo photo was released, and I saw it. That was not Emma as Belle. That was Belle herself.

The next character I’ll be discussing is Gaston. Like, okay… he’s not as important of a character as Beast (played by the handsome Dan Stevens), but when I saw the promo photo of Gaston, the first thing I said was, “Oh, I get it now… Gaston loves himself so damn much, he actually auditioned to

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Gaston played by Gaston… ahem… I mean Luke Evans

play himself.” But alas, that was just a fantasy of mine. It was actually Luke Evans playing Gaston. Sigh.

And what can be said about Ewan McGregor and Emma Thompson playing Lumiere and Mrs Potts respectively? A definite match made in animated movie heaven! Same could be similarly commented on Ian McKellan as Cogsworth.

The pitfall comes here… the portrayals of Maurice, Belle’s father, and Lefou, Gaston’s right-hand man. Now this is NOT – and I repeat, NOT – about the actors’ abilities to portray the characters, but their physical appearance. I thought Josh Gad looked too good to be Lefou (and I also keep having these Olaf vibes every time I hear Gad’s voice… is it just me??), and I thought that Gerard Horan (who played Monsieur Jean Potts) looked more like Maurice than Kevin Kline did!

 

Plot: Compare & Contrast

We all know the plot of the story… but just how accurate was the live-action remake to the animated classic? It actually was, surprisingly enough, but there were these 8 differences that I could note:

  1. “There must be more than this provincial life,” sings Belle at the beginning of both movies. The animated villagers couldn’t understand the “most peculiar mademoiselle” because of her affinity for books. Yet the live-action version sees Belle not only feeding her own knowledge, but also opting to share that knowledge with others. The classic opening scene now has those villagers scowling at her for using a makeshift washing machine (remember, this is France in the 1740s) and teaching another young girl how to read.
  2. The live-action movie shares more about the Beast’s life before the curse that transformed him after he refused to be kind to an old woman. Not only is his scathing personality shown to audiences, but the household staff further explain how he came to be so cruel (and how they didn’t try to stop that from happening). Furthermore, it is revealed into further detail that it’s not just the castle that’s enchanted, but also the entire city, leaving everyone to forget that the royal family ever existed (and making sure no one looks for them). Also, a magical woman who is present at the end of the film witnesses the titular characters’ love and reverses the curse.
  3. Director Bill Condon revealed that LeFou, Gaston’s sidekick played by Josh Gad, is gay, making him Disney’s first-ever LGBTQ character. Of this, Cordon explains that, “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” and that “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
  4. Both films see Maurice get lost while riding through the forest and seeking refuge in the Beast’s castle. In the animated version, the Beast walks in on Maurice’s intrusion and therefore imprisons him. But the live-action version has Maurice initially entering and exiting the castle freely, but getting caught red-handed while trying to steal a single rose for Belle — an annual tradition between the father and daughter.
  5. Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip have a new friend in the castle: Maestro Cadenza, a musician who is transformed into a large and ornate harpsichord on the first floor. He is married to Wardrobe — now named Madame Garderobe (pictured above) — who is housed in Belle’s room on the second floor. Cadenza and Garderobe are voiced by Stanley Tucci and Audra McDonald, respectively, and their subplot of constant separation has viewers empathizing with characters.
  6. Another new character is Belle’s mother, as the live-action movie explains that she died from the plague when Belle was very young. The reveal occurs when the Beast shows Belle a magical book that lets them travel to anywhere in the world, and she wishes to see her childhood home in Paris with fresh eyes. The two then discover a beak-shaped plague mask, and Belle later reassures Maurice about the truth he was never able to discuss.
  7. In the animated version, Gaston is a goofy egomaniac who pays off Monsieur D’Arque, the head of a local insane asylum, to pronounce Belle’s father insane and lock him away, leaving Belle free to marry Gaston. But D’Arques’ role in the wrongdoing is minimal in the retelling, as Gaston, played by Luke Evans, handles his evil doings against Maurice with his own two hands.
  8. The new movie gives the Beast his musical moment. “It would’ve been perfect to have Beast sing in the animated movie, but we just weren’t able to find that moment in that particular medium,” composer Alan Menken explained. “But on Broadway and in the live-action film, it’s essential that the Beast sing. The Beast is really the protagonist of the story, whose life has changed in the most dramatic way.” The ballad Evermore takes place after the Beast lets Belle go, knowing that doing so means his curse will never be broken. Still, he sings that she remains with him. Josh Groban sings another version on the soundtrack.

 The Final Verdict?

I give this movie 4/5 because of the poor portrayal of Maurice and Lefou, but overall, one of the most enchanting movies of modern times. Of a tale as old as time (pun definitely intended).

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Live-Action Cast VS Animated Characters
Credit to The Hollywood Reporter and Google for information and photos.

#ClaireNotes – February 2017

February was an eventful month, from my and my boyfriend’s birthday month, to going on our first weekend getaway, going to a concert, celebrating one year in recovery and so much more, but I had three goals in mind for this month…

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1. Celebrating my Birthday [Achieved]

Of course it’s my birthday every year, but this year is my first birthday in recovery. I woke up in the morning with the brightest smile on my face (and this is highly unusual as I am NOT a morning person! And nor will I ever be), all happy that it was my birthday.

Work greeted me with open arms, the children in the Early School (my department) also sung happy birthday to me… and overall it was a good day. My boyfriend couldn’t celebrate with me as he was without a car and couldn’t travel much, but I celebrated it with my BFF and older sister. We watched Harry Potter and got many nice presents during my birthday week.

2. Weekend Getaway

I’d been looking forward to this for AAAAAAAGES. After two weeks recovering from gastric flu and not seeing my boyfriend, I got to spend a weekend annoying the living banjos out of him… and also kick back and relax hehehe.

We went to the Santana Hotel in Bugibba. No regrets there. Great service, great location close to all amenities (and by close, I mean there is an actual convenience store next door). Even though we only had B&B, next I will most definitely book half-board because the food was simply exquisite!

3. Symphonic Beatles

This event was organised by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra in aid of Qalb it-Tfal (translated to: Children’s Hearts), which is a hospital in Malta that helps parents of prematurely born babies pay for surgeries and doctors’ bills.

After a meltdown about how insecure I felt about what I was wearing and spotting my ex, who coincidentally happened to be sitting several seats away IN THE SAME ROW, the event started. I was really happy with how the event turned out though. All songs were beautifully sung with guests like popular local singer Amber.

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So this is what February was like. I’d like to thank everyone for the birthday greetings, presents, likes, comments and overall support. YOU ROCK ❤

“Privacy is a Privilege”… or is it?

But to what extent?

In a society where social media outlets, particularly Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and more recently Snapchat, just how private is our privacy?

I live in a small country, where everyone knows each other, and nothing that happens here goes unnoticed. My battle with mental health spread like a viral disease in just minutes of posting an article about it on my blog. Then, after posting on a local popular website, it went viral within seconds. I can no longer with this… secret… something people think is a secret anyways (The stigma of mental health).

I agree that some things are better kept secret, but then again, if one keeps something secret, how can it help? I kept my battle with depression secret for half my life (11 years), and b r o k e me. Coming out not only helped me, but also others going through the same thing as myself. I may be recovered, but things can always change.

Hollywood Stigma

What does the Hollywood stigma have to do with privacy? In the world full of glitz, glamour, fame and wealth, everyone knows everything about you. Who A-listers are dating or cheating with, what they’re eating, where they went shopping, even if they did something an average person would do, like walking their dog or taking out the trash.

Privacy doesn’t really come within the lines of work of a famous person. Once you’re in, wave your privacy goodbye. People will know everything about you, which is why some were driven down a downward spiral, even resulting in an untimely death.

Some, however, are luckier than others. Their ‘private’ life is so private you sometimes lose track of them. Let’s take Ryan Gosling for example… Did you know he recently had his second child with his wife Eva Mendes? Bet you were as shocked as I am, because Eva announced she was even carrying a second child after they were born! Similarly, some celebrity moms hid their pregnancies throughout the whole nine months!

So how do they do it?

Think before you Speak

If you think your private life can be jeopardise din any ways, whether you’re famous or an average Joe, just think before you speak. If your secrets or some things that people would not probably understand, don’t talk about it at all.

Or be careful who you trust.

via Daily Prompt: Privacy


This is probably the worst post I’ve ever written in my entire existence. My apologies.

5/Infinity Songs That Helped Me Through Tough Times

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This quote couldn’t have described what music means to me more accurately. During the hardest times of my life, music was my saviour, my speaker, my expression. To help the helpless, I have compiled a personal list of songs that have helped me get up on my feet.

Shout by Tears for Fears

Shout!
Shout!
Let it all out!
These are the things I can do without!
Come on!
I’m talking to you!
Come on!

Written in the midst of the Cold War in 1984, this song is actually a political protest, but the chorus is like a call for help, to voice your opinions. It is a call for protest, lead singer Roland Orzabal explained when the song came out. Couldn’t agree more.

Skyscraper by Demi Lovato

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I’m made of glass
Like I’m made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper
Like a skyscraper

Also someone who battled depression and anxiety, the song empowers its listeners to feel good about themselves. The song is about staying strong and believing in oneself. Demi Lovato hopes that “people are able to relate to it and realize that they are able to rise above and overcome any obstacle, no matter the circumstances and shine like a skyscraper”. 100% accurate.

Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen

I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go go go
There’s no stopping me

Deemed the most commonly mentioned song to be uplifting in a 2000 survey. Do NOT tell me you haven’t air-guitared along this song at least once in your life. I double dare you.

The Pretender by Foo Fighters

What if I say I’m not like the others?
What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays
You’re the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

Shouting the chorus in the eyes of all those who brought me down would be empowering.

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

This song is a no-brainer when it comes to motivation.

What’s on my Spotify?

My Spotify probably says more about me than anything else, even this whole blog. I listen to music on Spotify every chance I get (poor old CDs, just sitting there, waiting to be played). So let’s begin our journey into the labyrinth that is my taste in music… and also myself.

  • Rock music

I’m a rock chick. Always have been, always will be. I have any type of rock music, from old school to modern, hard to soft. Zeppelin, Queen, Journey are my top three at the moment.

  • The Beatles

People who know me will know this is a no-brainer. I love The Beatles with all my heart. They have helped me with my self-esteem ages before the anxiety kicked in. I have all their songs in my playlist because, well, why not?

  • Guilty Pleasures

Starting from cheesy Eurovision tunes and ending with Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’ and Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’. Need I say more?

  • Today’s Top Hits

Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Jonas and loads more. These are just to name a few favourites.

  • Childhood Throwbacks

S Club 7, Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls are amongst my favourite childhood acts of all time.

  • Demi Lovato

She deals with mental health like me, so listening to her is a must. Her music really speaks to me.

  • Love Songs

Whether I’m feeling the love or not, love songs is a definite in my playlist. Ranging from old to modern, I have it all. (Stay tuned for a future post regarding songs to play at your wedding!). most of them, if you must know, are by Phil Collins, god of all love songs.

So this was my sweet, short and simple post about what kind of music I listen to basically. So let me know in the comments; what type of music are you jamming to right now? And what type of music do you listen to in general? That’s it from me, see you on the flip side!

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Photo credit: Pinterest.com