“That Perfect Girl Is Gone”: A Letter to Elsa

This is the latest in my series of letters to inspirational female characters that will be compiled in a book alongside letters from my fellow fangirls and fanboys. If you are interested in being part of The Fan Mail Project, I’m still taking submissions on a case-by-case basis, and you can check out all the information here

elsa

Source: frozen.disney.com

Dear Elsa,

You weren’t around when I was growing up. Instead, I had a plethora of Disney princess role models who were all strong and kind and incredible in their own ways. I grew up with Belle teaching me to love books, Jasmine teaching me that I wasn’t a prize to be won, Pocahontas teaching me to follow my heart, and Mulan teaching me that I was just as capable and powerful as any man. I will always be thankful for the lessons they taught me, but a part of me will always wish that I could have grown up with you.

Those princesses were smart and fierce and courageous and…pretty close to perfect. And while it’s wonderful for little girls to grow up with an ideal image of all they can be, it’s also important for them to see that it’s okay to have moments when they’re not perfect princesses, even moments when they hurt people—not because they mean to, but because they are struggling with things that feel beyond their control. It’s important for them to know that every princess (or queen, in your case) is flawed, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make them unlovable or unforgivable; it makes them human.

So thank you for giving a new generation of girls something I didn’t have when I was little—a Disney princess who struggled with something internal rather than external, a Disney princess who lived out the conflict women often struggle with between the perfect image we feel we need to project and the messy reality of who we really are. The biggest fight many of these girls will face in their lives won’t be with some terrible villain; it will be with the darkest parts of themselves. And in you, those girls will see a champion, a symbol of their own ability to accept the parts of themselves they feel they’re supposed to hide and hate—and their ability to turn that acceptance into power.

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The Sky’s the Limit

hillary2016

Source: cosmopolitan.com

I know I don’t typically write about politics, but NGN has always been a place for me to write about what moves me and inspires me. And, as you’ll see, the following is something I have been passionate about for a long time but nervous to talk about so openly before today. But if any day is a day for a politically active woman to speak what’s on her mind and in her heart, it’s today.

When I was a little girl, my mom used to tell me, “Girls can do anything boys can do.” I’m sure this is a common refrain in many American households, especially ones that are predominantly female. While I took those words to heart as a kid and never let anyone stop me from doing things because of my gender—whether it was graduating top in my high school class or running a sports blog in college—there was one thing I never really dreamed of doing—not even during that stage of childhood where you pretend to have a thousand jobs at once.

I never dreamed of being the president.

Sometimes we have no idea what we can dream of being until we see someone like us achieving it. Some people can believe without seeing, but even from a young age, I was a bit of a Doubting Thomas. I had trouble dreaming without knowing in the back of my mind that there was a chance that—if I worked hard enough and had enough support—my dream could come true.

Sometimes we limit ourselves without even knowing we’re doing it—all because we have never seen the full extent of what is possible.

Last night, I finally saw the full extent of what is possible. And I hope that parents let their little girls (and little boys) stay up past their bedtimes—or watch in the morning—so they could see the full extent of what is possible, too.

Last night, I saw Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, and in her speech, she said something that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about:

When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.

That “highest, hardest glass ceiling” has hung over my head for my entire 27 years on this Earth. And when you’re born under a glass ceiling, sometimes you don’t even know that there is anything for you beyond it. I dream big—I always have—but I never thought to extend those dreams beyond that ceiling, to think of achieving what Hillary did last night.

But from this moment forward, little girls will grow up thinking there is no limit to what they can achieve because of their gender. They will grow up believing that the sky is the limit and that there is a desk waiting for them to sit behind in the Oval Office. They will grow up with footsteps to follow in because a trailblazer named Hillary Clinton made the uneven path smoother with her strides. They will grow up in a world where someone who looks like them and their mothers and their grandmothers can be a major political party’s nominee for president. They will grow up with the fullness of the American dream made visible for them: that someone like them could do amazing things through hard work, a strong support system, and belief in herself.

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Let’s Go: A Letter to the Women of Ghostbusters

This is the latest in my series of letters to inspirational female characters that will be compiled in a book alongside letters from my fellow fangirls and fanboys. If you are interested in being part of The Fan Mail Project, I’m still taking submissions on a case-by-case basis, and you can check out all the information here

ghostbusters

Source: ghostbusters.com

Dear Erin, Abby, Patty, and Hotltzmann,

You made me cry. Normally, this would not be much of a surprise to anyone, but even my intensely emotional self can usually keep it together during action scenes in summer blockbusters. But there you were, battling ghosts, guns blazing, and I couldn’t help it. I thought of the millions of little girls who would watch that scene in the coming days, weeks, and years, and I felt so overwhelmingly grateful for the fact that they will grow up in a world where women like you get to save the day.

A group of girls will grow up with that image—four female friends fighting ghosts without any help from a man and without ever having their looks become the focus instead of their skills—being their introduction to action movies. They’ll grow up with that image stuck in their minds and written onto the fabric of their fangirl hearts, and that’s a kind of power that not even the strongest proton pack can produce.

That’s why all the talk about the four of you “ruining” people’s childhoods was such garbage. You can’t ruin a childhood that already happened. But you can help create a brighter childhood for a new generation of young girls. And that is exactly what you’ve done. Your purpose isn’t to create nostalgia for the past; it’s to create inspiration for the future.

The world you inhabit is a world where women fighting ghosts isn’t seen as a big deal. And that matters. (It’s also sadly far away from the world we actually inhabit.) If they only paid attention to the movie, young girls watching Ghostbusters might not ever think that there’s something atypical about you being heroes, and that’s how it should be. You’re treated as people and not as paragons of feminism or stereotypes of “strong female characters,” and it’s so important for girls to see a world where women aren’t defined by their gender or limited by it. You’re ghostbusters who just happen to be women, and that kind of normalcy in terms of the treatment of female heroes is so rare, which makes it so important.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you aren’t examples of how to overcome common problems women face throughout their lives. So much of your collective story is based on the fact that no one will take you seriously when you talk about what you believe and what you’ve seen. Even when you have proof, what you say makes people uncomfortable, so you’re belittled and ridiculed and painted as delusional. People try to silence you, but you stand your ground. Thank you for being an example of what it means to own your truth in a world that is often uncomfortable with women speaking out about what they know, what they believe, and what they’ve experienced.

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Fangirl Thursday: Emmy Nomination Highs and Lows

62nd Primetime Emmy Awards - Audience

(Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

For TV fans, few days spark passionate discussion like Emmy Nomination Day. Especially during this time of “Peak TV,” there are so many good shows with so many great performances that the Emmy nominations provide the perfect vehicle to talk about why our favorite shows are deserving of awards—and why those who choose the nominees are either brilliant for agreeing with us or idiots for not seeing genius in the same place we see it.

On most Emmy nomination days, I find myself disappointed and angry about the same actors and shows being nominated year after year, leaving little room for fresh blood—and the shows and performances I love—to make the cut. This year, there is still plenty to be said about the stale taste of some nominations (We’re still nominating Modern Family and Homeland?), but there were more than a few new faces joining the party this time around. And that made today much more exciting than past Emmy Nomination Days. For once, my joy over who made the cut actually outweighs my frustration over who was snubbed.

Of course, that’s not to say there was nothing I would have done differently. There are still actors, shows, and entire networks I feel the Emmys are overlooking. But one very specific set of nominations today proved to me that even if the Emmys ignore a great show and its talented cast at first, they might eventually come around to seeing the light. So don’t lose hope, fellow TV fanatics. Next year might be the year your favorites finally break through.

Without further ado, here are my five favorite Emmy nominations announced today and five things that disappointed me about today’s Emmy news.

THE HIGHS

1. The Americans
FINALLY! It took four seasons, but the Emmys finally invited the best show on television to stand in the spotlight with not just one big nomination but a handful. Last year’s Outstanding Writing nomination was repeated; this time for “Persona Non Grata,” which featured one of the most beautiful and revelatory pieces of TV writing I’ve seen in William’s deathbed speech about the “absence of closeness.” And, of course, Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale was nominated again. But I was pleasantly surprised to see those nominations joined by Best Actor, Actress, and Drama Series nominations. It’s about time the show itself was praised, but I’m most thrilled about Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell’s nominations. Both have been doing such great work since the show’s pilot, and I’m so happy that they are finally being recognized on the biggest stage for it. I think Russell turned in one of the most incredible season-long performances I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, and more than any other category this year, hers is the one I can already feel myself investing the majority of my emotions in.

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TV Time: The Americans 4.13

the americans s4 finale

Source: ign.com

Title: Persona Non Grata

Episode M.V.P.: Everyone
This might seem like a copout, but “Persona Non Grata” was a total team effort. Each actor was given their time to shine, and each performance worked with and added to the others. Masterpieces generally aren’t painted using only one color, and symphonies don’t work with only one instrument. In the same way, this powerful finale was the sum of all of its talented parts.

What impressed me the most about this episode was the way it balanced its stories so well, giving every character we’ve come to care about an important story to tell. This allowed every actor in this brilliant ensemble a chance to do something special, and they ran with it.

Of course, there were the big moments: Dylan Baker’s heartbreaking work as William died a horrible death—made even more horrible by the fact that he was alone; Matthew Rhys’s stunning monologue about feeling sick every day before going to work; Costa Ronin’s poignant farewell scenes; and Holly Taylor’s masterfully ambiguous performance as Paige and Matthew grew closer.

But I also found myself entranced by the smaller beats in this episode, the silent moments that reminded me of the trust this show places in its actors to convey so much without words. I was spellbound watching Noah Emmerich’s face as Stan took in William’s words about loneliness, the sad understanding creeping across his features. I found myself close to tears as Taylor’s face changed from joy to longing to hopeless sorrow as she held Pastor Tim and Alice’s baby and was suddenly confronted with the reality of her own journey from childhood to the awful grownup world she’s found herself in—a world that could jeopardize the future of this little girl. I was devastated by the exhaustion and hopelessness in Lev Gordon’s posture as Arkady processed the fact that he was being sent back to Russia. I even found myself getting emotional over Tatiana, as Vera Cherny sold her sincere sadness over Oleg’s departure in a way I wasn’t expecting.

And that’s not even including the incredibly charged silences between Rhys and Keri Russell throughout the episode. Russell didn’t speak much in “Persona Non Grata,” especially compared to some of the other episodes this season, but she still delivered a knockout performance. The entire sequence of moments between Philip and Elizabeth after Gabriel suggested they return to Russia was a master class in using silence to your advantage as an actor. You could almost see the wheels turning in Elizabeth’s head as she processed what it might mean to return “home” after building a real home in America with her family. The war between officer and mother was raging inside Elizabeth, and the only evidence we saw of it was in Russell’s intense eyes. Watching her and Rhys in those scenes made me feel afraid to blink because I might miss something, and that’s when this show is at its very best.

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TV Time: The Americans 4.12

the americans 411

Source: spoilertv.com

Title: A Roy Rogers in Franconia

Episode M.V.P.: Keri Russell and Holly Taylor
For those of you who don’t know, in addition to being a writer and editor, I’m also a dance teacher, and this weekend was my students’ big recital (which is one of the main reasons why this post is so late). As such, I’ve been thinking a lot about dance lately. So maybe I just have dance on the brain, but every time I watch Keri Russell and Holly Taylor share a scene together, I think about them not just as the actors they are but as the trained ballet dancers they are as well. Their dance training has not only given them both beautiful posture (which makes them feel related even when they’re just sitting next to each other); it’s also given them a unique ability to naturally convey emotion through their body. And that shared ability to say so much through movement and expression—to make the emotional something physical—was put on prominent display in this episode. The placement of their bodies in a scene—the way they responded to each other’s touch or lack thereof, the angle of their body and head as the other spoke—took what was already stellar writing and made it feel grounded in a very physical reality.

Russell has been on a hot streak the likes of which I’m not sure I’ve ever seen from an actor in a weekly series before. Each week she’s been turning in career performances, and this week was no exception. The most astounding thing about Russell’s work in this episode was the way she followed up Elizabeth’s violent actions at the end of last week’s episode with such soft, sincere uncertainty. That’s Elizabeth in a nutshell; she is supremely confident when it comes to disarming enemies, but she is so unsure of herself when it comes to connecting with the people she loves. And what’s been so beautiful about Russell’s performance is the way she believably lets us see both sides of this complex character. My favorite thing about her work in this episode was the cautious, almost frightened way she carried herself in the early scenes with Paige. You could feel her fear that she’d become a monster in her daughter’s eyes, and it was amazing to see that this was the one thing that could scare the seemingly unshakeable Elizabeth Jennings.

Russell is a master of nuance, and it seems Taylor is taking her apprenticeship under her seriously. Paige feels like a real teenager thrust into a heightened reality, and one of the best things about Taylor’s performance is that she imbues it with a genuine sense of confusion and uncertainty without ever making Paige feel like an idiot. It was a true joy to watch Taylor in this episode because she made Paige’s actions feel just as layered in their intentions as her parents’ actions always feel. She showed us that Paige was both terrified of what she witnessed her mother do and intrigued by what motivated her to learn to do it. She was both sincerely connecting with Matthew and using that connection to help her family. She was both eager for more answers about what her parents really do and immediately regretful that she asked. (Her wonderfully sarcastic “Great…” might have been one of the show’s most perfect conclusions to an episode.) Every time Paige is in the spotlight, Taylor shows that she’s not just a great young actor; she’s a great actor. And this episode was another example of her holding her own alongside the best actors on television.

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TV Time: The Americans 4.11

the americans 411

Source: tv.com

I apologize for making like the Statue of Liberty and disappearing for a while, but between a wonderfully long Disney World vacation and the holiday weekend, I haven’t had much time to write! But before I get back to writing, I think we should all take a minute and share a collective happy sigh over the news that Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys welcomed their new baby into the world earlier this month. Congratulations to them!

Title: Dinner For Seven

Episode M.V.P.: Keri Russell
Consider this a cumulative M.V.P. award for Russell’s outstanding work in the last bunch of episodes. Her performance throughout this Don/Young Hee arc has been a thing of layered, complex beauty—some of her best work on this show to date. And her performance in this episode was no exception. Russell has taken Elizabeth to an intensely vulnerable place in these last few weeks, and she’s done so in a way that feels true to this character, who still believes she’s not supposed to have emotional reactions to her job. Elizabeth isn’t going to break down sobbing over losing someone she considered a friend, and she’s not going to have a heart-to-heart talk with anyone about what she had to do to a beautiful family. Instead, she’s going to show her guilt, grief, and emotional exhaustion in the tiniest but most heartbreaking ways: crying even after she leaves Don and doesn’t need to act heartbroken anymore, closing her eyes tighter when Philip holds her, and hanging up the phone with shaking hands when she hears Young Hee crying. This is what happens when Elizabeth’s carefully compartmentalized emotions start seeping out of their compartments, and it’s fascinating to watch her begin to struggle with the idea that the human cost of what she’s doing—including what she’s doing to herself—might be too much.

Russell was brilliant throughout this episode, but her masterfully subtle take on Elizabeth’s emotional awakening was best shown through her scenes with Pastor Tim. In their first interaction, Elizabeth was clearly still seeing him as an opposing force. Her posture, her tone of voice, and her choice of words were all careful and professional. In their first scene alone in the church, Elizabeth’s softness still felt like an act, and we could see she was still dealing with him as a potential threat. However, by her final scene with him, those lines between sincerity and artifice were blurred in the way only this show can blur them. The way she searched for words, the soft way she spoke, and the lost look in her eyes made me believe at least some part of her was really trying to get advice about finding clarity and comfort when things feel overwhelming. Of course, part of her was probably saying those things to keep him close and to manage him like any other asset. However, Russell played that moment with just enough vulnerability that I could feel the truth in what Elizabeth was saying about her mental and emotional state.

Elizabeth’s growing vulnerability and clear unease with what she’s been asked to do contrasted so well with the episode’s final scene, which reminded us that she’s still a trained killer who should be feared. The way her body snapped into action so instinctively was amazing, and I was captivated by the feral look in her eyes as she protected herself and her daughter and also by the businesslike way she dealt with the aftermath—with just a hint of concern in her eyes about what her child just witnessed. Elizabeth Jennings is one of the most fascinating female characters on television, and the woman who brings her to life each week deserves every bit of recognition imaginable for bringing such powerful complexity to this role.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.22/5.23

OUAT S5 finale

Source: spoilertv.com

I apologize for the delay in getting this post to you, fellow Oncers! I spent the last two weeks finding some magic of my own in Walt Disney World, which I will be writing about in great detail very soon. But for now, we have a finale to discuss!

Title Only You/An Untold Story

Two-Sentence Summary Growing weary of the pain magic has caused his family, Henry sets out with Violet on a quest to destroy all of Storybrooke’s magic, which brings both of his mothers and Rumplestiltskin to New York City to find him before he can put his plan in motion. Meanwhile, a portal gone awry sends Snow, Charming, Zelena, and Killian into the Land of Untold Stories, where they meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, whose separation tempts Regina to separate herself from her own dark side.

Favorite Line “I know how crazy it sounds, but magic is real. It’s all around us. You just have to be willing to see it. You have to be willing to believe.” (Henry)

My Thoughts

At some point in your life, every one of you was once a believer. And at some point, you left that part of you behind. But you can go back to it—if you believe.

Once Upon a Time isn’t a show for everyone. It’s a show for believers. It’s a show that asks you to watch with an open heart and your cynicism checked at the door. And for those of us not-so-grown-up grownups who love it, it’s a show that called out to the part of us we left behind and reignited in us what it means to believe.

A lot of things happened in this two-hour finale event. New characters were introduced, new lands were visited, kisses were shared, conflicts were established, and families were separated and reunited. But for as important as the plot setup might have felt for next season or for as rich as the character development was, it all paled in comparison to the words of the Truest Believer reminding all of us why Once Upon a Time has touched so many of our hearts.

This is a show about hope, but I wouldn’t blame you if you’d forgotten that after the events of this season. Between Emma becoming a Dark One (and also making Killian one against his wishes), Killian dying more than once, and Robin being obliterated without the hope of his soul ever moving on, it’s been a pretty bleak season of a show that preaches the value of optimism. And that’s why Henry’s speech was so important—not just for Henry and the other characters, but for those of us who are fans of theirs, too. That speech was like a ray of sunshine breaking through the swirling vortex of sadness that this season has been. It was a reminder that even when things look hopeless, you can’t stop believing that something good can happen. Because there is power in optimism. There is strength in hope. And that was a bright, positive message that was sorely needed after such a dark stretch of episodes.

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TV Time: Once Upon a Time 5.21

OUAT last rites

Source: ew.com

Title Last Rites

Two-Sentence Summary As Emma and the other heroes try to defeat Hades in Storybrooke, Killian and Arthur team up to help them from the Underworld. When Hades activates the all-powerful Olympian Crystal, it proves to be a weapon of terrible consequence for the heroes as well as the Lord of the Underworld’s own undoing.

Favorite Lines
Arthur: No! No! No!
Killian: Denial, anger, grief…Can we just get to acceptance?

My Thoughts “Last Rites” was an emotional roller coaster. At times, the vast emotional swings from painful grief to soaring love highlighted the beautiful duality of life. Where there is life, there is also death. Where there is grief, there is also joy. Hope and heartbreak both exist in the world. And just as there is pain in knowing that moments of hope will eventually give way to heartbreak, there is also comfort in knowing that moments of heartbreak will one day give way to moments of hope.

At other times, though, the emotional twists and turns of this episode felt like they were giving me whiplash. The objective of this episode was clear: to juxtapose Emma getting the man she loves back from the dead with the death of the man Regina loves. It once again made me think of Emma and Regina as two sides of a coin, which has been a part of this show since the beginning. But I am growing tired of the fact that it feels like only one of these women can be happy or at peace at a given time. I know that they are the two central pieces of this story, and, as such, their stories must have conflict to create good drama. But just once, I’d love to see both women have a chance to be happy and feel like they’re in a good place at the same time—though I fear that probably won’t happen until the end of the series. As someone who loves both characters fiercely, it’s frustrating to see one of them set up for a period of stability and happiness only to realize that means the other will almost surely face a period of misery. But I’m the kind of person who would love for every character to be happy, and that’s why I don’t write TV dramas.

It was difficult to analyze this episode using my traditional format (and within the time constraints my life has put on my writing this week), so I chose to try something new here. “Last Rites” was filled with intense highs and lows, so here are my high and low points of this episode.

High: Zelena
Zelena has been the high point of this entire arc. I am so happy for the writers and for Rebecca Mader that a story they clearly put a lot of care and time into has paid off so well. Mader was once again fantastic in “Last Rites.” Her performance in the scene in which Zelena kills Hades was absolutely riveting. I was so proud of Zelena for coming to the realization that has always separated heroes from villains on this show: Love should be enough. Zelena didn’t want power or revenge anymore; she just wanted a normal life full of love. And that was so true to her character—a woman who just wanted a family, who just wanted to be enough for someone. And when she discovered that she still wasn’t enough for Hades, the pain Mader poured into that moment was tangible, but so was the sense of self-respect. I can only hope this character continues to grow and continues to be there for her sister, because I am so excited for the prospect of more Zelena, which is something I never thought I’d write.

Low: Maurice
I’m sure we all figured that Maurice wouldn’t be able to wake Belle from her sleeping curse, but I was shocked that he willingly chose to keep his daughter under that spell because of his hatred for Rumplestiltskin. I understand him wanting to keep Belle away from Rumplestiltskin, but a sleeping curse has been called a fate worse that death. We’ve seen the nightmarish red room and the flames, and that’s not something I’d want someone I loved to be subjected to for any amount of time. There were extenuating circumstances involved in keeping Belle under the curse (Emilie de Ravin’s maternity leave), but it still served to remind us that Belle needs to get away from the men in her life as soon as she wakes up.

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TV Time: The Americans 4.08

the americans 408

Source: spoilertv.com

Title: The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears

Episode M.V.P.: Keri Russell
In a just world, this would be the episode that earns Keri Russell an overdue Emmy for playing one of the most complex, compelling female characters on television. (But since this is not a just world, I’m already preparing the post I’ll write when she and the show are once again so rudely snubbed.) In one hour, Russell was given the opportunity to unleash her entire arsenal of acting skills in a way most actresses are unable to do in the course of their entire career. Masterfully shifting from understanding to frustration to rage to numb shock, Russell was able to take the reins off this characters whose emotions are so often compartmentalized and shown only in the tiniest reactions. And what happened when she showed the full extent of Elizabeth’s power was a thing of terrifying beauty.

Russell’s performance in this episode will be remembered (and, mark my words, it will be remembered) because of two volcanic eruptions of emotion. But what shouldn’t be lost when talking about her brilliance is the way she—much like Matthew Rhys in his similarly astounding performance in Season Two’s “Martial Eagle”—showed the mounting stress that pushed Elizabeth to her breaking point.

What amazed me about Elizabeth in this episode was how much I felt for her at the beginning of it—especially considering how terrified I was of her by the end of it. Russell did such a great job of showing how hard Elizabeth was trying to be there for Philip, and her reactions to Philip shutting her out felt so uncomfortably realistic. I felt her frustration, her desire to understand her husband, and her jealousy on a level that surprised me. I never expected to be angry with Philip for being sad about Martha leaving, but something about Russell’s understatedly vulnerable performance in those early scenes resonated so strongly with me that I found myself wanting Philip to stop moping around and talk to his wife.

As the episode went on, Russell’s performance kept building like a symphony. For so much of this season, we’ve seen the cracks in Philip, but Elizabeth is cracking, too. Her flippant tone when responding to Philip’s statement that Martha wasn’t simple was so human and relatable. But then her flippant attitude about Martha turned into deep-rooted anger, and it was like the wrath of a vengeful god raining down on Philip. Watching Russell in that fight scene with Rhys was like watching a prize fighter in her glory, fearless and fierce. And the way Russell showed Elizabeth still holding on to that anger even in Gabriel’s presence was perfect. She was petty and snarky and decidedly un-Elizabeth, and it worked so well to show us her deteriorating control over her emotions.

Elizabeth’s lack of control culminated in that downright frightening takedown of Paige in the kitchen. If I was being even more specific with my M.V.P. award, I’d give it to the veins in Russell’s face, which were on full display as she made Elizabeth’s fury something real and physical, which made it all the more frightening. This is how Elizabeth falls apart—not crumbling from the inside like Philip but exploding with a force that destroys everyone around her, and Russell made sure we all felt the force of that explosion.

It felt right that this acting tour de force by Russell happened under Rhys’s direction. The two are partners, and you could feel his respect for her talent and her trust in his direction in every scene. They always create magic together onscreen, so it’s nice to know that they can continue to create something special together from opposite sides of the camera, too.

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