Single Professionals without Children; Why Are We Ignored? It’s a Crime!

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Please forgive me if I don’t “wax nostalgic” over New Year’s Eve. This holiday, as several others, leaves unattached singles at loose ends particularly at the stroke of midnight. What are we supposed to do?

New Year’s Eve is all glitter and flash which can be fun…. But, it is also most often associated with expending gobs of money and excessive use of alcoholic beverages. I like my wine occasionally, but have never ever been a “bar fly.” It’s okay in small doses, but I’d rather be somewhere else.

However, this is just one example in which single professionals “going it alone” are at a distinct advantage in our society.

We have made great strides in acknowledging single parenthood and even coupled parenthood without the benefit of marriage.  There are single adults by choice, and/or never having found the right person such as myself; There are those who are single by divorce or widow(er) status and don’t want to “try again.”  There are many in the LGBTQ community who may chose to habitually shop around versus commit to anyone.  There are disenfranchised people whose lifestyle choices and habits may always make them a single outcast. (You know who I mean…)  It’s the professional singles who are often “left out in the cold” whose interests are never considered.  Thank God we have evolved to the point of singledom not being “just a temporary holding pattern” until the white knight appears. Maybe we don’t need the white (or minority) knight! Maybe the white knight would be too high maintenance for some of us.

Consider the Facebook post I wrote on New Year’s Eve 2016-17 to reach out to others in the same boat as I.

SINGLES PROFESSIONALS UNITE! God needs to invent a holiday for single people. Truth be told, I’ve never cared for this holiday. We are forgotten by Hallmark, by families, by our legislators, by society as a whole. Occasionally, we are mentioned if we have “disposable income”, but that’s basically the extent of it.
It’s too bad, because we are a valuable resource, have a lot to offer the world and are just as important as the married people and parents. But, who ever realizes us as a group? So, to all the people in my group, you are important and don’t need to be defined by someone on your arm tonight! Upward and onward in 2017. Be who you are…even if you are single and like it that way!

In most cases, we are not considered in the family dynamic for what we can offer surrounded by the married ones; We are conveniently left out of coupled invitations, “the third wheel”. We are never considered by our elected legislators as needing fairer laws and public policies to help us meet financial burdens and future retirement.  We seldom have appropriate greeting cards for our busy lifestyles.

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With 51 percent of the America unmarried as of 2012, sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote in his “Going Solo” book, that more than a quarter of us are living in a one person household and (irrespective of romance)  we’re not “getting a lot of love” regarding fair treatment.

For example, New York psychology professor, Dr. Bella DePaulo points out that we can start right from the top in government –

The U.S. government not only turns a blind eye to the problem of “singleism,” but helps enforce it, activists say. Just look at Social Security. “A childless singleton can work side by side with a childless married person, doing the same job, for the same number of years, at the same level of accomplishment—and when the married person dies, that worker can leave his or her Social Security benefits to a spouse,” says DePaulo. “The single person’s benefits go back into the system.”

UNRECOGNIZED AND UNCHALLENGED

Why does anyone have to be part of any kind of couple to get the same federal benefits and protections as anyone else?”

They don’t get the same kind of tax breaks. Co-op boards, mortgage brokers, and landlords often pass them over. So do the employers with the power to promote them. “Singleism—stereotyping, stigmatizing, and discrimination against people who are single—is largely unrecognized and unchallenged.” Other arenas include insurance and health care –

businesswoman-147101_960_720People don’t notice singleism, and if their attention is called to it, they think there’s nothing wrong. That’s why, for instance, car and health insurance companies get away with charging less for couples and families. “They can attract more business [that way],” DePaulo notes. In the process, they leave single people to essentially subsidize the benefit by paying more. “When married workers can add spouses to a health-care plan at a discount and single workers can’t add someone important to them, that’s discrimination,” says DePaulo.

According to Seattle Law Professor Lily Kahng- Author of “One Is the Loneliest Number: The Single Taxpayer in a Joint Return World”, Hastings Law Journal,“Unmarried people also lose out when it comes to taxes.” Further – That married workers are able to transfer wealth and property to spouses—and others—tax-free, while the unmarried cannot; Ms. Kahng concludes that the joint return penalizes single people and should be abolished.

Married people had a supermajority of political power at the time the [current tax] rules were enacted, according to Ms. Kahng.

When we look at disposable income and quality time… by and large, single contribute more, says sociologist Eric Klinenberg –

On average, singles have more disposable income. They’re fueling urban economies that would be in much worse shape without them. compared to married people, they’re more likely to spend time with neighbors, to participate in public events, and to volunteer.

If you live in Europe – Marriage Historian Stephanie Coontz relates – “The penalties for being single in this country are worse than in Europe, where individuals have guaranteed access to health care, and they have options beyond a spouse’s death benefits for staying above the poverty line as they age.

And then there’s Outside the Office – Did you know?

Biased thinking persists, “For the single homeowner or property renter, discrimination is rampant, because the Federal Fair Housing Act does not prohibit marital-status discrimination,” Langburt notes. “Not only do landlords discriminate again singles; real-estate and mortgage brokers discriminate as well.”

According to these experts, the problem is scattered and isolated for formal tracking.  In fact, single women are the number one home buyers in the country, but there’s still a silent stigma that these women don’t have money to qualify or that they will be a flight risk.”

Being single – Not exactly a piece of cake… But I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way!

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References and Literary Recommendations –

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/singled-out-are-america-s-unmarried-discriminated-against.html

Book – Singled Out- https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Singles-Stereotyped-Stigmatized/dp/0312340826/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1483305894&sr=1-1&keywords=single+out+depaulo

Book – Going Solo https://www.amazon.com/Going-Solo-Extraordinary-Surprising-Appeal/dp/0143122770

Donna R. Gore

 

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.co

Message to PFLAG Parents: Continue to Love, Accept and “Get Out of Your Own Way”

PFLAG,Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice,Shattered Lives

Although being gay, lesbian or transgendered may represent a “shattered dream” from the perspective of mainstream society and unenlightened straight parents… it is by no means a life tragedy. Being gay represents but one facet in the multicultural spectrum of diversity which is defined as loving someone of the same gender- a human right …pure and simple. It becomes complex when society judges…. reflecting their own misunderstanding, discomfort, and bigotry.

To listen to the discussion CLICK HERE

The first people in history to demonstrate the power of self-help groups were alcoholics. Alcoholics Anonymous was started in 1935 to help “hopeless alcoholics” recover from alcoholism, something the medical profession had been unable to do…In the 1960s, civil right movements began to evolve in many developed countries, as people became aware of their collective power. These power-to-the-people movements provided avenues for the development of the self-help group movement In Japan; people who had come to enjoy a free society welcomed “the peak of circle movements” in 1955.

The concept of PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today’s Pride parade. During and after the parade, many gay and lesbian supporters urged her to continue her efforts and the first support group was created in 1973.  The first formal meeting took place in 1973 at a local church. Forty years and five hundred PFLAG chapters in the US and over 200,000 members later…. The rest is history as they say…

John & Becky Glezen began their personal journey when their oldest daughter, Sharon courageously came out of the closet and helped her parents pave the way to understanding.  Long story short, although it was a rocky start, John & Becky have served as well respected advocates and co-facilitators for PFLAG –Hartford chapter and gay rights in Connecticut for 23 years.

Ladyjustice had the pleasure to discuss the issues of this important topic with John and Becky on “Shattered Lives.”

  • The beginnings with the Glezen family- what they did right and “going into the closet” on many levels;
  • Living in the hope for total acceptance –due to the information highway…
  • A bothersome statistic regarding rejection;
  • Hearing other people’ stories is an amazing power of connection and the missions of PFLAG;
  • When to begin educating about diversity…. Teaching about feelings;
  • Stories… “Having my bag packed by the door;” , a transgendered friend  whose acceptance  has evolved;  “The white robe story”
  • The transgender phenomena – energizing meetings;
  • Delilah asks about “ex-gays’ and  “the cure “- two responses; Biologic, genetically pre-determined and the mental health and faith communities  positions;
  • Welcoming Resources…and the upcoming holidays….
  • A facilitator’s perspective- health and well being is key- “Get out of your own way”
  • We need more activists…;
  • When you don’t need PFLAG that’s when PFLAG needs you…
  • Legislation- Non-discrimination in schools to Marriage to DOMA;
  • The blessing of being gay;
  • “Aggravated homosexuality” and the atrocities in other countries;
  • Contact Info PFLAG- Hartford- http://www.pflaghartford.org/;
  • National PFLAG contact info: http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=191 ;

Robin McHaelen & Our True Colors: Truly Transformational for Today’s Gay Youth

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Robin McHaelean, an MSW and true pioneer in the field of sexual minority and gender issues, appears very comfortable in her own skin…  She speaks with a clarity, passion and compassion which are so vital to the workings of her non-profit, Our True Colors.  She is the Founder and Executive Director of Our True Colors.  www.ourtruecolors.org.   She has travelled the journey personally and professionally dealing with the invisible and often “throw away” youth since the early 1990’s. Was it prophetic that her very first conference for lesbian, gay and bi-sexual youth was called “Children of the Shadows” with 250 kids in attendance?  And… although it was transformational, no one could have predicted that this organization and this conference would surround the forgotten children with love and safety since 1992.

Listen to interview with Robin and Kamora of  True Colors on Shattered Lives:

CLICK HERE

Robin and her Mentoring Program Coordinator, Kamora Le’Ella Herrington, spoke with Ladyjustice and Delilah of Imagine Publicity in a lively and information packed fashion that seemed to fly by!    Perhaps the best way to capture all of the information is in a factual manner point by point. However, readers are encouraged to listen to the audio version as well… (Minus a little technical difficulty with someone’s phone in the beginning) The audio version and their repartee bear witness that  they are part of a dedicated team, they are articulate, witty, filled with conviction, realism, hope and LOVE for those they serve!

  • Our True Colors is an education and advocacy organization for sexual and gender minority youth with its  grass roots efforts  beginning in 1992 (Refer to detailed Timeline on their website);
  • Components include a mentoring program, the largest LGBT conference in the World (3,000 attendees at this month’s conference); a private professional partnership with the Department of Children & Families and model program including foster home or group home placements and training of 2400 professionals to date;
  • Robin began by “filling gaps” and kept moving to meet the ever increasing needs as more and more youth indeed began to “come out of the shadows” and make themselves known with the safe haven she was building;
  • Gay-straight alliances within school in Connecticut numbered just four in the early 90’s with  as many as 170 currently in high schools and a few middle schools;
  • The average age of “coming out” is currently 11 to 13 years of age.  True Colors is attempting to build support for this age group with a greater presence and continued trainings;
  • Guidance counselors and school social workers may be very supportive within their respective school settings…. However, it depends on the individual as they may carry their own biases and feel uncomfortable as well.
  • Readers should be aware that “coming out is a process…. Foe some youth it is “no big deal…for others it is a very big deal. Kamora credits Robin as being an integral part of the number of GSA’s in Connecticut and creating an environment in which gay youth can have their own space, feel part of a majority and be safe…;
  • Mentoring – Technically, Kamora states that her mentoring program has 52 matches… However, although those enrolled are supposed to be aged 14 to 21, others on the periphery of the age limit consider themselves part of the extended program. She has managed the program for 7 years but it has not yet been replicated;
  • In order to mentor, an applicant must be 24 years and participate in an extensive and not necessarily gay or share the same background.  They may share different types of trauma or social history and will still be a successful match; True Colors services those in CT, New York or Massachusetts and border communities;
  • Kamora provided a sense of realism in her witty style that many gay youth get the wrong impression that “all gay persons are wonderful and all heterosexuals are hateful… “ At the same time, gay youth come with issues beyond orientation and gender such as PTSD, ADHD, mental health issues and addiction cultural issues,  other family dysfunction….or general loudness and obnoxiousness.  The sky will not open up nor will doves fly….just because they are accepted in one environment or by one person…  HOWEVER, we cannot stress enough that there are so many gay youth who have absolutely no one to love them and need that mentoring influence and love!
  • Kudos to DCF social workers who go the extra mile to embrace their clients, such a Tonya Sutton.  Kamora commented that if paid professional work with clients but don’t love them it is a problem for these displaced kids who frequently don’t live with their families of origin (their bio families) as they have been rejected and kicked out of their homes.   Social workers have bias as well and may not be able to work effectively with them.
  • STATSTrue Colors XiX “Celebrating Our Allies” March 16-17, 2012 Conference:  A total of 3.113 participants; 115 high schools; 30 colleges and Universities with 14 different states represented throughout the U.S;  In addition, the Conference is very diverse in race, ethnicity and gender…… (And isn’t that the way it should be??)
  • Although National and local organizations like PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) do a stellar job of advocacy, education and support to family members, at times, it becomes a challenge to provide the support needed to different cultural and ethnic families who are not comfortable with their format  and services due to differences in beliefs or “privacy matters.” Therefore, True Colors seeks to pull in kinship relationships to assist gay youth…such as aunt, uncles’ cousins who can be accepting. TC’s work with adults is limited, and not a primary focus. However,  they interface with many adults who work with youth;
  • At the conclusion of their recent conference, a crisis was averted when two young men, each 18 who were described as “gentle and not streetwise”   were thrown out of their family homes and had nowhere to go.  As they were 18, DCF could not assist.  Robin provided shelter information for the Hartford area. However, more importantly, she looked to her network of mentors who stepped up… and provided temporary refuge for these vulnerable young men.  STATS- Depending upon the study used, gay youth represent 5 to 10 or 11% of homelessness overall; whereas the homeless population among gays increases to between 25 to 40%;
  • If gay youth are under the care of the state and placed in a group home, such kids may be targeted within that environment and may not be safe; Many have experienced abuse and trauma;
  • How do you prepare kids and prepare families for the process? Robin states that in the ideal situation you want to intervene early in the process. The number one predictor of how gay kids will do is the initial response of parents. When they struggle, most families move from rejection to ambivalence to acceptance (if they progress though all of these stages)
  • Providing wrap around services and providing time and space for parents and providing kids a yardstick comparing how long it took each kid to recognize and then accept their orientation or gender  (and then multiply that by five)
  • Kamora stated that “Life is messy…..  We can set ducks in a row…but orientation and gender is only part of it… The larger picture must be considered such as the time and space needed Teenagers need things to happen immediately and do not understand that in time there may be acceptance …or not. [For whatever reasons of their own, Ladyjustice was not able to progress as far as she would like on the continuum with her bio family.]  In such cases, the alternative is to develop surrogate families with other groups of friends.  It is indeed more complex when one has a disability as well…as society frequently cannot look beyond physical characteristics that get in the way for the judging party;
  • BULLYING & HARASSMENT:  Robin reported that youth who are targeted most are those who are gender non-conforming (i.e. effeminate boys and masculine identifying females) and therefore are the most at risk for harassment. 7th, 8th, 9th grades are the most targeted populations, particularly those with special needs or are gender non-conforming;
  • One in Five gay youth stay home from school daily due to bullying or harassment. And… they are seven times more likely to be assaulted by a weapon!
  • Hyper-Vigilance: Robin gave the example of a high school youth who was in a CT high school with many resources, but still had to be hypervigilent…. Wore the hood of his jacket up, slumped his posture, stayed close to the wall trying to be “an unobtrusive gay person”…  The fact is gay youth cannot be protected 24/7… parking lots, hallways, bathrooms remain territories which represent unsafe areas even if they are partaking of school resources.  Can you just imagine the stress?  As one educator said… “If you see mean…intervene!”
  • Kamora recounted the case of a bullied student who was harassed unmercifully… when he finally fought back, that is the point that resources were brought in to the picture.  This sends the wrong message…. It is okay to harass the gay kid until he tries to defend himself!  No!
  • Robin, Kamora and Delilah spoke to the matter of progressiveness regarding gay issues and human rights issues depending upon thee geographic area in which you live.  It is generally thought that the south maintains a higher level of prejudice against sexual minority and gender issues… ignore it altogether or has few resources; whereas the “progressive northeast – New England area is “miles ahead…  Kamora warned that we in Connecticut are often “lulled unto a sense of complacency regarding our acceptance as a state.”  ‘Just a couple of years ago, she cited an example in which a youth in CT had an exorcism videotaped.  Such things are supposed to happen “elsewhere.”
  • Media portrayal is difficult to gauge in terms of help versus hindrance.  The fact is, most of today’s gay youth now get there first dating experience over the internet which can be both good and bad…;
  • Robin consults with other states and has even trained others in Brussels….  She welcomes the opportunity to share with other states;
  • Those who are interested in contacting Jamie Goddard in Bridgeport who manages a program for gay persons seeking employment who also happen to have disabilities- physical or mental health contact the CT Department of Labor;
  • ***Her most important message is addressed to families who may have the opportunity to foster youth or mentor them.. It is powerful, meaningful and life changing.  “If you don’t have a dollar… If you don’t have a spare bedroom… If you don’t have extra time, Kamora advised to “just smile or start a conversation with a gay youth”.  It will mean the world to them….  And make their burden that much lighter… (LJ)
  • To make a donation or inquiry regarding programming please contact:

Movie Reviews III- Alteration of the Human Condition

Theme: Youth, Violence Prevention
To Sir, with Love
You rated this movie: 5.0
This classic movie has a feel good quality that is unmatched and gives one a sense of hope…. It is still very timely regarding the problems faced in teaching today – the apathy of some teachers, the problems arising due to poverty and neglect, the sense that with the right approach, all students can be reached. Treat them as young adults, give them responsibility, teach them manners etc. Sidney Poitier portrays the idealist turned realist teacher with a fine supporting cast playing stereotypical roles. You’ll enjoy viewing this movie whether it is a repeat or first time viewing!

Theme: GLBT, Death & Dying

Hannah Free

You rated this movie: 5.0

Hannah Free is a wonderful story told in the present and retrospectively about an off again on again lifelong love affair between two women in an era when lesbianism was closeted. Sharon Gless nails the role of an adventurous…and selfish woman longing for new opportunities and every so often comes home to roost with her lover. In the end they are “together” in a nursing home after her lover experiences a stroke and coma. Family refuses to let Hannah see her love. It is never quite clear what Hannah suffers from to be confined to bed, other than severe crankiness. The great granddaughter saves the day and breaks down some of the family barriers so that Hannah can be with her before the machines are turned off. There are several vignettes regarding the making of the production, cast interviews etc. which thoroughly immerse the viewer. This is a must see done with class and dignity.

Theme: Child Kidnapping
Changeling
You rated this movie: 4.0
Changeling, based on a true account, is a very fine movie in every respect. The story of a single mother who, due to circumstances beyond her control, suffers untold indignities in order to find her kidnapped son is truly captivating (excuse the pun). The acting, scenery, costuming, direction and dialogue are first rate! It also reveals the complexity of an incompetent police force uncovered by this woman and a kindly priest advocate. In addition, they uncover the largest mass murder of young children ever! Did the mother receive justice in the end? It depends on your definition.
Theme: Youth, Violence Prevention
Fame
You rated this movie: 5.0
“Fame” is one of those upbeat feel good movies although there are interwoven stories of pain amid the dancing and personal stories. Even today, the message is current, adequately illustrating expectations, motivation, rejection, goal setting and just plain life in the big bad city. Whatever happened to the powerhouse talent Irene Cara? Watch this film with your teenage kids. They will be impressed!

Themes: Life as a Doctor, Death & Dying
The Doctor
You rated this movie: 5.0
Hello Out There: I had seen this movie years ago and confused the main characters. Somehow I envisioned wonderful actress Christine Lahti as the female cancer patient. But alas, she plays the dutiful wife to William Hurt’s arrogant surgeon character. He just happens to get laryngeal cancer, throwing his preconceived ideas into a tailspin. He internalizes the whole experience and pushes everyone out of his life, except for a feisty fellow patient with brain cancer. His buddy was diagnosed too late due to lack of proper diagnostic testing. Hurt’s character is hurt and scared… His wife waits dutifully for him, but he chooses his female friend instead. A bond is built and they take an adventurous ride to Las Vegas and never quite make the concert. Rather, with the female patient’s hours limited, they dance at sunset. The doctor calls his wife from a phone booth… She is worried and devastated that she cannot “be the chosen one.” Two changes occur which make this a five star movie for me. The doctor’s total change into a caring and compassionate person who now relates to patients on their level and… the pivotal scenes near the end of the movie in which, he desperately reaches out to his wife. As he returns home, it is uncertain how much voice he will regain. His wife gives him a whistle. In the meantime, she lashes out at some workmen. The doc realizes that it is his doing and writes on his blackboard “Yell at me”. There is a heartbreaking give and take between them that is the best performance of the movie! Christine Lahti is magical in her depth of emotion! I watched these scenes three times! This movie should definitely be part of your collection!

Themes: Domestic Abuse, The Incredible Human Spirit
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
You rated this movie: 5.0
This movie was a joy to watch filled with nostalgia, as I was born in the mid- 1950’s. Again, the preview/narration by writer-director Jane Anderson was superb. She gets every topic and gets it right in how she chooses to capture all modalities (camera work, graphics, costuming, script, choice of actors, music etc.) It seems incredible that this dynamo of a lady can raise 11 children (including her alcoholic immature husband) do all of the household drudgery, carry on an inspiring writing career and be so upbeat!!! How many times can one family be saved from the brink of disaster? If you believe in miracles, this is the movie for you! I will definitely watch every movie written by Jane Anderson from this point on…

Theme: Kidnapping, Corporate Greed
The Clearing
You rated this movie: 5.0
I award this movie five stars for being a non-conventional thriller, for not telling the whole story of a marriage, but just enough to keep it interesting, for no cliché scenes concerning the “other woman”, for superb acting by all. Although there was another woman, it is dealt with understated class by Eileen, Wayne’s wife. You get the feeling that through it all, they truly love each other and were “just getting to know each other again” on another level before the kidnapping. Helen Mirren’s portrayal of her character is understated, warm and wonderful. I especially love the scenes in which Eileen realizes she’s been had by the kidnapper and secondly, with her daughter in bed with a proclamation of love between the couple. Eileen responds yes, she loves Wayne, to which he replies, “Then I have all I need.” Wayne bravely attempts to get into the mind of this psycho kidnapper to save what could be the best years of his life. There is an unexpected ending, but it seems to justify the story. Do see this film at least once!

Themes: Self Discovery, Mental Illness
Losing Chase
You rated this movie: 5.0
What a gem of a movie… Helen Mirren and Kyra Sedgwick are electric in their performances… The themes of coming of age/self-discovery and mental illness are interwoven. Helen’s character is the queen of mean initially, until a wonderful, explosive …and pivotal scene in the garden begins a relationship that changes both females. We love to hate Helen in this movie, or as a raging alcoholic police inspector! A previous reviewer panned it for the “everything has to be gay”. It isn’t really a gay film. It has its elements and that contributes to the growth of who Mrs. Philips really is… However, this will definitely appeal to the LGBT audiences. The scenery of Martha’s Vineyard is captivating and the ultimate goodbyes are touching… Beau Bridges plays his character with understated expertise. A couple of flaws are apparent though. The oldest child of Chase’s has a very tumultuous relationship with her. Fearing her mental illness and wanting to get love and show love to his mother throughout the movie. Neither mother nor son is capable of this. Her eldest son, “little Richard” ultimately sets her fate… and hates her all the more…. Suddenly, inexplicably, Chase is on her own (with a matronly nanny present) and it appears that little Richard is fine with the situation. Maybe, Martha’s Vineyard has a very good PFLAG support group! Mr. Philips apparently cannot fight for his wife and we are left to speculate if there can be another Kyra Sedgwick in the future. All in all, I loved it and watched it twice. I can see why we have to wait so long to take our turn to see it!

Agnes of God
You rated this movie: 4.0
Any theatrical adaptation to film is a challenge…. Something may get lost in the translation. However, I think of this movie as a recipe- one part murder mystery, two part philosophical-religious and another part society’s preparation or lack thereof to conception and the hard realities of life… Despite this recipe, the acting of Anne Bancroft and Jane Fonda was superb. Meg Tilley was good as well, but her craziness-extreme ignorance bordered on the overly dramatic. Jane also appeared her most beautiful in this part. Jane/Dr. Livingston has her own issues as well, despite being a chain-smoking psychiatrist. How refreshing. Scenes between her and Anne Bancroft – righteous indignation were electric. No, we don’t get all of the answers. We also have more questions at its end. Some might say that’s provocative…

Theme: Crime Drama
The Commander: Set 1
You rated this movie: 4.0

‘The Commander” is an engrossing story with fallible characters. Linda LaPlante does it again, although I think Helen Mirren’s “Prime Suspect” cannot be topped. The Commander has paid her dues to earn her position. However, she ultimately cannot resist the considerable charm of the former murderer she once arrested…and then agreed to write the forward to his book, years later. I guess manipulation knows no bounds… and the feminine heart is weak even if you are doing a “man’s job.” Hugh Bonneville is terrific as the murderer/love interest. The subplots are interesting and the male co-workers lecherous. One exception is the retired co-worker and current writer of “Murder Review”, George. On the one hand, he is her good friend and a teddy bear. However, he seems to play both sides so the viewer doesn’t know until the end whose side he is on…. The young female detective is also good as the “eager beaver”. The scene in which the Commander catches the young detective’s fiancé in his birthday suit is priceless… Very enjoyable viewing!

Themes: Self-Discovery, Death & Dying
Wit
You rated this movie: 4.0
“Wit” is a sad tale of a woman’s re-examination of her life in the face of terminal illness. It speaks to sacrifices and decisions made. The main character is witty, sassy. However, she realizes that she paid a very high price for her world of academia and uncompromising standards. Through a series of flashbacks, we see her cold heart revealed. She now has no one except a compassionate nurse and one brief visit by her former mentor. The other theme deals with the coldness of medical research, being treated like a specimen. Both the older MD and younger treating MD have absolutely no idea how to talk to a patient or offer real support. “How are you feeling today” becomes the joke of the day. Even when death was staring them in the face, all they cared about was reviving her to achieve a better result! As a viewer with an extensive medical history and one was has seen violent death, I could truly relate… However, it was uncomfortable. I cried. By far, the best, most touching scene of the movie occurs at the end with Vivian and her mentor. As her friend crawls into bed and quietly comforts Vivian by reading a children’s book (rather than high brow poetry,) Vivian dies in her arms. “Wit” has similarities to “Whose Life is this Anyway?”

Themes: War Crimes, GLBT
November Moon
You rated this movie: 4.0
November Moon is a touching love story with huge political consequences. One brief scene brings the viewer up to date on the attraction between the two lovers. November suffers many indignities along the way (i.e. beatings, rape, hiding from the Nazis throughout) in order to survive by the “skin of her teeth” and the kindness of strangers. Her lover makes the ultimate sacrifice and works for the newspaper filled with its hateful propaganda and plays up to German officers. The love scenes are few and far between with a sincerity and tenderness not often seen. Minor complains-the English subtitles often blended into the scenery such that you couldn’t read the narrative. At the end of the movie, a touching love scene between the two is abruptly cut short switching to an office scene. The very end of the movie also, a violent “haircutting scene of the dirty woman” while the bells tolls, signaling the end to the war. This abruptly terminates the movie with no real closure. Admittedly, war does not have a tidy ending. However, it’s as if they suddenly ran out of money and had to edit it together with scotch tape. Gay and straight viewers will like this film.

Themes: Child Molestation, Mental Illness, Courtroom Drama
Nuts
You rated this movie: 5.0
This movie was based on a play and crafted by Ms. Streisand. As she states in her commentary, it is a search for the truth and an examination of what is meant by “crazy”. The actual crime is a secondary issue, as we learn there is an underlying childhood trauma never before revealed. The actors were meticulously chosen and do a fine job. This includes Maureen Stapleton as her wounded and well meaning mother, Karl Malden as her too good to be true step father, James Whitmore as the trial judge and Richard Dreyfuss as her persevering public defender. The relationship between lawyer and client evolves from that of confrontational to protector and friend. BS skillfully portrays a bright but troubled woman, who is plagued by childhood memories (shown in retrospect). At times the viewer thinks maybe she is nuts…then again, you realize she isn’t. Eli Wallach plays a not so credible psychiatrist from the state prison hospital. This movie is provocative and well done in all respects.

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