Fun Lists

This Mother's Day Let's Talk British Movie Matriarchs

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, it’s only fitting to honor the qualities that make the moms in our lives so special to us. I have selected some maternal British film characters to illustrate these nurturing attributes. Though flawed and sometimes infuriating, you’re sure to recognize your own loving mother (or even yourself) somewhere in this list.

Need a Pick Me Up? Try These Inspiring British Feel-Good, Underdog Films

For all their famous cynicism, the British are extremely adept at making feel-good movies. You know, the ones where a longshot protagonist is inspired to go up against the Establishment, the more acclaimed competitor or his or her own physical or societal limitations? Think Billy Elliot or The Full Monty and you know exactly the kind of story I’m talking about.

Two such films are coming out in limited release the weekend of October 10th. One Chance starring James Corden dramatizes the real life struggles and triumphs of unlikely Britain’s Got Talent winner and opera singer, Paul Potts. The film has a superb supporting cast which includes Julie Walters, Colm Meaney and Mackenzie Crook.

The other film coming out (pardon the pun) is Pride, the true story of a group of gay activists who set out to support a Welsh community at the height of the Thatcher years mining strikes. Boasting a stellar cast headed up by Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, this film is destined to join the canon of fun, yet inspiring, British underdog films.

However if you’re like me and don’t live in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago where limited release films are often shown, or getting to your regional art house theater is a logistical nightmare, we sometimes just have to be patient and wait for these little gems to make it to DVD or streaming services. I reckon many of us are in that boat so I’ve compiled a small collection of humorous, heart-warming films you may not have heard of that can be watched on-line as we speak. My hope is that this list might hold you over for a little while, at least.

Miss Marple and the Lady Sleuths Who Have Followed in Her Footsteps

This weekend, fan favorite series Miss Marple returns to Masterpiece Mystery with two back-to-back episodes - A Caribbean Mystery premieres at 9pm EST, followed by Greenshaw’s Folly. In these new installments, Julia McKenzie reassumes her role as Agatha Christie’s beloved spinster who just so happens to be more adept at solving murders than the police.

(If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch a preview of the new episodes here.)

An astute and intelligent woman of independent means, Miss Marple first appeared in a Christie short story in 1926. Since then her sleuthing skills have been on display in books as well as on the radio and stage. In addition, Jane Marple has been portrayed on the big and small screens by no fewer than seven different actresses, including Dame Angela Lansbury in a film version of The Mirror Crack’d.

No doubt Agatha Christie’s creation has inspired other non-law enforcement related detective characters of the female persuasion. Let’s look at few who carry on the proud Miss Marple tradition.