Life Moves Pretty Fast – Hadley Freeman

You can call me an old hippy leftie if you like but my newspaper of choice tends to be The Guardian. In the interests of political balance I will also look through Private Eye and my parents-in-law’s copy of the Daily Mail. Although I have promised a friend that I will not, if possible, click on links to the Mail Online and I always try to avoid reading the comments on any paper’s online version. Because blood pressure…Anyway, the point is that, through the Grauniad, I was introduced to the writing of some interesting people: Zoe Williams, the incomparable Charlie Brooker, proper grown-up writers like Polly Toynbee and Owen Jones and, a personal favourite, Hadley Freeman. Hadley’s usual columns are, loosely, about fashion – something which, on the whole, doesn’t really interest me (or Rob). But we both read her fashion column with interest, and quite a few giggles, so it must be Hadley herself who is the draw. Seems fair…

9780007585618Her latest book caught my eye when I was trawling through Netgalley and I thought it sounded perfect: Hadley Freeman writing about 1980s film (the last time they made really, really good popular films without explosions, overdone product placement or sparkly vampires, in my opinion). Now, somehow, Rob managed to get through the 1980s without seeing many of the classics. He knew When Harry Met Sally but had never seen Legend, Labyrinth or Princess Bride – we spent a few months having 80s film night once a week to get him up to snuff but I’m sure there are films he (and even I) am missing out on. And now we can use Hadley’s book to work out which one to watch next!

I think for me the best thing about this book is not that I know almost all the films (although I do have to confess to never having seen Dirty Dancing) but that it reminds me that these films were made to be enjoyed and also made with more than entertainment in mind. Dirty Dancing made people consider what they really thought about abortion – I thought it was just about not putting Baby in the corner, I am certainly watching this now – and Back to the Future is actually more about being a parent than a teenager. These films are about how it actually felt to be a teenager rather than what film marketers thought teens were interested in. Big difference. This is writing about films which were about more than just the merchandising and franchising opportunities. I don’t watch a lot of films these days (although if Princess Bride or Stardust is on the tv I’m there) and think this is why – I want a story or feelings. I don’t want to be sold things. This book reminds me that there was a time (my youth, essentially) when films were about more than selling, when they were more like, well, books…

Jane

 

 

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