I Am Love

Clint Eastwood said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”  I’ve always liked that quote, and it keeps rattling around in my head as we attempt to adjust to the new normal.  Like a lot of people, I’m anxious and stressed about various things.  Also like a lot of people, I’m acutely aware of how lucky I am compared to many others.  I’m still collecting a paycheck.  Nobody’s ill.  This morning when I hit up the Harris Teeter it looked less like it’d been recently looted during a zombie apocalypse and more like it normally does.

Let’s chat about what’s getting us through – self care, entertainment, etc.  I bought myself some exercise bands and I’ve been using them with online barre workouts, something I can do in a small space without jumping up and down.  I’ve been taking isolated walks two or three times a day, keeping a safe distance from everyone in my quiet neighborhood, because meditative walks and breathing the fresh air has long been a fundamental part of my self-care, and being a shut-in is not conducive to my mental health (see Clint Eastwood, above.)  I’ve been cooking a lot.  I cooked regularly before, but frequently in a hurry at the end of a long day, just getting food on the table.  Now I’m here and the boys are here and I turn on the radio and spend an hour or two pulling together a meal.  It’s been fun, actually.

The stunning Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan has a starring role in the movie I Am Love.

I signed up for BritBox so I can see some UK shows, and I’m on a bit of a Tilda Swinton bender.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s been in a number of interesting, visually arresting movies, even though some are darker than others and not the fare I’m looking for now (Suspiria and Kevin? no thanks!)  So, last night I spent two hours watching the sumptuous I Am Love.  I’d probably watch Tilda Swinton read a phone book, but what a delight –  set in Milan, filmed in Italian with English subtitles, and Tilda is the genteel wife of a textile baron who has a kind of reckoning with her life choices.  The movie is gorgeous visually, all luxe interiors and genteel airs, up till the end, which is a bit of a melodramatic mixed bag, but I’m still glad I watched it.  Apparently Tilda Swinton and director Luca Guadagnino spent more than a decade plotting the story out. Another recommendation for any Tilda Swinton/Tom Hiddleston fans is the sublime, atmospheric Only Lovers Left Alive, they’re ancient (but modern!) vampires doing their thing in Tangier and Detroit… the soundtrack is wonderful, as are they.  I need to go back and watch Orlando, the first thing I can remember seeing her in, plus there’s The Souvenir, a well-reviewed 2019 film with her daughter (!), and some really wacky-looking early stuff.

What are your recommendations for movies that are sumptuous to look at and also pleasant to watch?  Any classics you find particularly charming?  Have you bought anything online to help you get through this? How are you faring?

Winner of the squidge of Fendi Theorema, sunshine in a wee bottle:  Michelle Little.  cheers.

  • Ann says:

    Hello! Yes, seconding Musette below, thankful that everyone is doing OK. March, you and the other folks have put out some great suggestions. I’m going to be busy getting some set up. Thanks!!

  • Musette says:

    I’m so happy to read that everyone is relatively okay. Most days, for me, are regular, since I am still working(and work from home). I’m putting in a few hours in the garden, cleaning up and sowing cool weather crops. Praising the he’ll out of Floyd that it’s just me and The Girl? so I don’t have to go to prison. Just started watching a subtitled series ‘Live Up to Your Name’ … it’s a bit unusual…we’ll see…

  • maggiecat says:

    I’m a community college professor who had to quickly convert five on-site classes to online (my sixth class was already online). I’m getting used to working at home, and getting awfully tired of Zoom, but it’s a necessary evil I guess. Zoom has given me the excuse to play with more skin cre and make-up than I generally have time or patience for, and the self-care is soothing. I feel blessed to be able to maintain my income and do this work, but tired and stressed too – my son is a paramedic/firefighter and I can’t help but worry.
    I’ve been playing with a Henry Rose scent sampler pack and watching the Catherine the Great mini-series and as many British comedies as I can find. And the new Making the Cut show with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn is quite good really – I recommend it.

    • March says:

      Ooooh, I just saw an ad for Making the Cut — I will check it out, thanks! Funny, I’ve been doing a lot of Zoom as well, which has meant that I’m doing more playing with makeup than usual!

  • Dina C. says:

    What a coincidence! I just watched Patrick Melrose, too, on Sunday night. It’s very emotional, excellent acting, lovely costumes, but I agree that it’s chock-a-block full of smoking, drinking and drug usage. DH and I just started The English Game, and it’s also very good. If you haven’t already watched Anne with an E on Netflix, you need to watch that.

    I have see-sawed between productive days when I dress, put on clothes, makeup, jewelry, scent, get things done, and then days like yesterday when I lounge around in my pajamas all day long and just read. There’s an endless cycle of cooking and dishes. DD is taking her cosmetology classes online now, and playing Animal Crossing. DH plays computer games, takes long walks with the dog, calls friends, and watches stuff. We’re all fine.

    • March says:

      Patrick Melrose has bumped straight to the top of my list, I remember seeing the ads when it came out and I thought it looked hilarious. Your daily schedule sounds a lot like mine, and I’m glad you are all fine.

  • Queen-Cupcake says:

    I loved watching Patrick Melrose (a limited series on Amazon) starring Benedict Cumberbatch (a highly watchable actor). Very good; and no one’s head explodes although lots of drug- and alcohol-induced misbehavior. Also loved The English Game on Netflix.

    I retired in December, so not a whole lot changed for us apart from the fact that we don’t go out at all. Stress baking, yes, but if that’s the worst thing, well…

    Blessings to all of you.

    • March says:

      I forgot all about that! I really need to go watch that posthaste, it looked like an absolute hoot. Perfect timing with the retirement…..

  • rosarita says:

    Everyone is well here. My husband and I are both drawing social security so our fixed income remains the same and we’re used to being at home together, for which I’m grateful, but we often don’t have the same taste in entertainment. On Saturday, the bedroom TV (aka mine) came off the wall and fell on me, shattering the screen, which is a very first world problem but I’ve been enjoying classic movies on TCM so much, especially those from the 1930s. Those movies were made for an audience gripped by the Great Depression and so many of the actors were fabulous: Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Bette Davis (omg!) They had FACES then, and fashion and the sumptuous interiors, even in black and white. What’s more beautiful and elegant to watch then Fred and Ginger in Top Hat? Sigh. I’m missing my TV. Last night I watched There Will be Blood with my husband – talk about a difference. We are cooking and eating a lot, texting and writing actual letters. I’ll start reading again now. I go out to my mom’s most days, thank goodness she’s never been a TV watcher and just listens to Perry Como cds these days but she reads the NYT and needs cheering up. Sorry/not sorry for the long comment, stay home, Posse.

    • rosarita says:

      PS I need to practice social distancing from my refrigerator

    • March says:

      Well that all sounds perfect, and they did have faces then…. what’s that other quote, from Sunset Blvd? I AM big, it’s the pictures that got small…. I need to figure out if I can buy TCM as an add-on to something like Amazon. Stay well!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, dear! So sorry that happened with the TV — hope you weren’t hurt (probably just shaken up — I know I would’ve been). Thanks for the reminder about the great classics that we can enjoy watching! Hugs!

  • Portia says:

    Hey March,
    Three films I find endlessly entertaining are
    Stage Door: an old B&W with a cast of wonderful women.
    The Colour Purple: Whoopi Goldberg’s best role and a fabulous story.
    Sense & Sensibility: the 1994 Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant and Greg Wise version. LOVE IT!
    There are more but these three have really stood the test of time.
    Portia xx

    • rosarita says:

      I love all three of those but Stage Door is SO good. Eve Arden and Lucille Ball aren’t the leads but they are fabulous.

      • March says:

        Ok adding to my list….. I loved that Sense & Sensibility, and Emma Thompson, it is time to rewatch! Hugs.

        • Portia says:

          Fun fact: That was the movie Emma Thompson and husband Greg Wise met.

          • Ann says:

            Yes! S&S is one of my favorite of the modern-day Austens (and I admit to having a little crush on Greg Wise from even before the film came out — he was one of the leads in the BBC/PBS production of Edith Wharton’s “The Buccaneers.”) Happy he and Emma found each other!

      • Portia says:

        Yay! So glad someone else loves Stage Door Rosarita. Everyone pulls a perfect performance, it’s like Hollywood had this golden moment.

  • cinnamon says:

    We’re ok in lockdown land. I have worked from home for years so things are so far the same (and I know I am lucky in that). The one outside visit a day is for the dog walk (ie, two of us so he gets two walks) in a village with a lot of paths and fields to walk through. So, that’s very good for the sanity (and waistline). I’m definitely going to check out Only Lovers Left Alive. I’m also looking forward to catching up on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World (we’re allowed to garden!). My son has signed up for Disney channel or some such thing and I’m looking forward to film nights (first one is going to be 101 Dalmatians). Plus, I have this fantasy I should finally read War and Peace… Stay well and safe everyone.

    • March says:

      That sounds like a pretty great set-up. Enjoy watching movies with your son, along with some good food! In fact maybe he’d like the vampires…

  • Sarah says:

    Hi March
    Glad all is well with you. Lucky kids to have your meals. Cooking is perhaps the highest art form.
    I second “Babylon Berlin”. Also Happy Valley and The Last Tango in Halifax. I am re-reading all of Willa Cather. Then onto George Eliot.
    March, make a mask and wear it out to grocery store,etc. Don’t believe the drivel on the boob-tube. EVERYONE needs to wear a mask right now. Also plant a $:&# victory garden. Musette can tutor us all.
    Back to Cather and “My Antonia”. Stay safe everybody.

  • Tanja says:

    I think I would like to re-watch all the old Greenaway films, especially Drowning by Numbers. I did not buy anything, just food.

  • Gina T. says:

    I lost my job and was laid off with 59 others from my company so no spending. But, I have been binge watching the German series “Babylon Berlin.” Dark and lovely and sad and haunting.

    • March says:

      Oh, dear. I am so sorry. You’re the third person who’s mentioned Babylon Berlin to me, so I clearly need to check it out, thanks.