Nora Ephron: Creator Of Cinema's Greatest Angel
When you're young films wash over you with a dizzying haze, vivid memories of standing in my local video shop trawling through the shelves, staying up late to record something from TV or being plumped in front of a screen to shut me up for 90 minutes. To the young me, films were escape and fascination, brilliant stories, brilliantly told.
One such film that I kept coming back to was Michael, story of a fallen Angel, a smoking, drinking, highly sexed badass of a fallen angel at that, starring John Travolta, William Hurt and Andie Macdowell, in a role in which she manages to not be completely annoying.
Ephron's whole ouput was varied, prolific and inspirational to any female filmmakers wanting to break into what is still a heavily male dominated business
If IMDb is anything to go by, then most people dont seem to think much of the film. I can't understand why. Michael as a character is spot on: magnetic, illustrious and charismatic, down to the finest detail, like smelling different to every woman bewitched by his angelic charms. At the same time he's brilliantly aggressive, as when he fights a bull much to the horror of the two reporters come to check him out. That scene, a ruggedly handsome Travolta, all long hair and linen, screaming "Battle!!!" whilst fronting up to this wild animal, had me in stitches everytime.
The downside to these films becoming such a big part of your childhood is that the finer points - directors, screenwriters, etc., seem inconsequential and get shuffled to the back of the memory bank. I knew there was a reason I knew Nora Ephron when tributes to her poured out yesterday, I just wasn't aware she was the writer / director responsible for this most wonderful film.
She'll akways be known for her rom-coms; When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, staples of the genre that still rest proudly on a cinematic pedestal, but her whole ouput was varied, prolific and inspirational to any female filmmakers wanting to break into what is still a heavily male dominated business. Her breakthrough script Silkwood, starring Meryl Streep, pulled no punches, telling the true story of Karen Silkwood, a nuclear plant worker ready to blow the whistle on the dangerous practices going on at the plant, before being purposefully poisoned and psychologically tortured to prevent her revealing the truth. Not many writers would have the audacity to start their career with something so politically groundbreaking.
For me she'll always be the woman who brought me Michael, cinema's greatest angel.
It seems apt that Streep bookended her film career, appearing alongside heir apparent Amy Adams in 2009's Julie and Julia, a film about two young women trying to forge careers for themselves. Julia child, 'training as a cordon bleu chef in 50s Paris, and Julie Powell, cooking and blogging her way through child's ' mastering thr art of French cookery' in 2002, unemployed and uninspired.
The cosmic connection between Julie and Julia can be extended to Ephron, who sustained a hugely successful 30 year careeer in the business, all the while making her films, her way. For me though, she'll always be the woman who brought me Michael, cinema's greatest angel.
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