Forbidden Love in Paradise

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Jamaica is paradise for all, except us…

Still drunk from sex, our naked bodies intertwine tightly under a palm tree as a gentle breeze caresses our bare skin. Every kiss we lay on each other’s lips is done so with deep passion and the agonising knowing that it could soon be our last. The bitter truth is, our type of love is a matter of life and death.

For only when we are in each other’s arms can we finally feel truly alive or believe heaven could possibly be a place on earth. But in Jamaica love between two men is considered worse than any sin, and in the wrong place at the wrong time it could lead to death.

Stolen kisses in midnight hours, holding hands when backs are turned and whispering sweet nothings when no one is around to hear. Living a life of secrecy can be tiring, but it’s the only way we know how to survive.

However, in the end the dangers don’t deter us one bit, instead they make us hold each other tighter and look into each other’s eyes deeper when we say ‘I love you’. For our love is the only reason either of us can even exist. Without it, both of us would simply crumble like the sand beneath our bodies and disappear into nothingness…

Music to Watch Boys to

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Some may spend hours plucking away at guitar strings, others even immersing themselves in decades old foreign films…we on the other hand do none of that, in truth we don’t have any actual hobbies. Well, there is one… the center of our teenage universe…the sole reason Clarissa and I gravitate towards the park every Sunday afternoon.

The height of summer, we certainly aren’t the only ones there. However, while others are perfectly happy to idle the day, wrapped up in the warm blanket of a July sun or the chitter-chatter of friends and family, Clarissa and I have our attentions firmly embedded elsewhere, boys playing football. Muscles, taunt and rippling under skin shimmering bronze from sweat, handsome features furrowed with concentration, eyes ignited by the midday sun. Looking at them is like looking at an oasis of beauty, that so easily leaves us powerless… forever transfixed and hypnotised, we simply can’t turn away – they’re Adonises to fall in love with.

Honestly, who the hell needs hobbies, when you can spend an afternoon watching gorgeous boys and listening to beautiful music? Oh, but not just any music…there is an exact science to providing the perfect soundtrack to our fantasies. Soaring melodies, haunting vocals and lyrics that pierce your heart – Lana Del Rey is our second greatest pleasure. To us, almost nothing in life is as satisfying as clicking play and surrendering to her sweet embrace. Once sufficiently enchanted by Hollywood Sadcore, we can finally turn back to our most important of tasks, watching boys…

Desperate for them to notice or more importantly, like, love what they see…we embody, everything, we ever learned about being beautiful from movies. So we pout, hair flick and arch our backs until we look like the most glamorous of screen sirens. But of course, we never let on to boys, just how much we crave their acknowledgement or how easily our worlds revolve around them. No, we’re far too cool and indifferent for that…

Escape Rooms: The Ultimate Dating Experience Revealed…

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Dinner and a movie – cliche! Netflix and chill – boring! Picnic in the park – you’ve got to be kidding me!
In this fast pace and exciting modern era there is simply no more room for the boring and cliche. In a world of Tinder and casual dating, It’s time we push aside the generic or ‘been there done that’ and make room for a dating experience that is a whole lot more unique, memorable and revealing than your standard drinks at a bar.

Allow me to introduce to you the escape room, the ultimate dating experience. Stop. I know what’s going through your mind right now. Not because I’m psychic, well I don’t think I am…rather I imagined the exact same thing before doing one: a dark room, eerie music and buckets of sweat pouring from your forehead. In other words hardly the flirtation and red wine you’d usually expect from a date. Yet, that’s exactly the reason why it’s such a great choice for a first date! An escape room is essentially like nothing you have ever done before, and isn’t that what dates should be about, sharing a unique and memorable experience with someone new?

…You don’t seem convinced? Well, okay let me break it down to you. But before I begin, I suggest you take a seat with a pen and paper nearby because I’m about to change your whole dating game – you better believe it. First of all, what are the two main points of a date? Quiz time. You have 30 seconds and the clock starts now! Tick Tock…Stop, times up. The answers are: to get know somebody new and to have the time of your life, of course. And luckily for you and us all, escape rooms have both in abundance AND a whole lot more.

Where did you grow up?…what’s your favourite film?…blah blah blah and the questions go on and on. More often than not, dates can sometimes turn into glorified interviews as prospective partners try to suss each other out. But as we all know marriage and eternal love isn’t built on a shared appreciation of ABBA (as hard as that is to believe). Instead it’s the qualities and personality traits the tense experience of an escape room can bring to the surface, that can really show whether a couple is meant to be or not. Can they take charge? Are they calm under pressure? Are they good listeners? Surely the answers to these questions are far more insightful than finding out what is someone’s favourite colour, am I right?

Are escape rooms fun? Of course they are. What a silly question. That’s like asking if Harry Styles is the finest music artist of our generation. In other words yes and definitely YES! Puzzle solving, code breaking and thinking outside the box. Being in an escape room is like being in your very own action film, and who didn’t grow up secretly fantasying that one day they could be James Bond or Jason Bourne (Just to put it out there…I’m team Bourne, baby)? Escape rooms offer up the perfect opportunity to break away from the monotonous cycle of the everyday in favour of something original and super, super fun.

Long story short, if you’re looking to impress a certain someone, do yourself a favour and book yourself an escape room. Your love life could depend on it…

The Beguiled Review

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Simply beguiling.

To call Sofia Copploa’s latest work – revolutionary, might strike some as an overzealous sell or even, slightly misguided. However, when you realise that The Beguiled bucks the status quo established over the past century, you might be tempted to come around to my thinking. The male gazed, so embedded into our subconscious by the patriarchy of production studios, you’d be forgiven for being duped into believing that it was the de facto perspective of cinema – women the observed, while men observe. Yet, with The Beguiled, Coppola refreshingly offers viewers an unprecedented narrative perspective – the female gaze, which offers her phenomenal film deeper layers of intrigue and complexity. With a greater drive for equality in the industry, in another centuries time, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see future critics looking back and considering The Beguiled as the spark that ignited the blaze.

Despite the raging of a bitter, bloody Civil War only mere miles away, hauntingly, living in a blissful bubble of calm and routine, Martha (Nicole Kidman) and her little commune of discarded girls, seem to carry on with life unfettered by the brutality at their doorstep. Even as black plumes of smoke uncoil against the horizon and staccato gun fire fills the air, behind the safety of closed iron gates, the women are more than happy to frolic and sing joyfully under the embrace of the midday sun. Well, until the arrival of a wounded ‘blue belly’ soldier at their doorstep. Father figure, mysterious stranger, escapism and wounded bird to nurse back to life –  with barely a word passing from his lips and the past still shrouded in shadow, Corporate John Patrick McBurney (Colin Ferrell) quickly becomes the blank canvas to which female fantasies and erotises are projected upon. Once life in the big, white mansion could have been considered – utopian, as women liberated from the oppression of the men in their, are freed to be happy and united. However, the arrival of one man causes jealousy and lust to sprout, like weeds in their Garden of Eden.

First, I feel it’s important to acknowledge that while Coppola’s film shares the same source material as Don Spiegel’s 1971 original, The Beguiled is by no means a remake, rather an entirely new entity in its own right – a reimagining if you like. And while the original has been tarnished by misogyny and Clint Eastwood kissing a 12-year-old girl, The Beguiled distances itself by subverting the gaze and focusing more attention on female dynamics rather than sexual desire; changes I felt benefited the film greatly and elevated the viewing experience.

Examining the female gaze in greater depth; it was fascinating to see how age became the prism to which each woman saw John. Amy, the youngest and the founder of John, quickly sought him out as a friend. Teenager Alesha (Elle Fanning), was instantly sexually drawn to him and twenty-something Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) almost fell in love with him. While, most telling of all, middle-aged Martha choose to mother him. Deeper reading might suggest, the sudden appearance of man causes the women to fall back into the feminine roles expected of them. However, Coppola doesn’t allow such stereotypes to imprison the women throughout, it soon becomes very clear that their union is by far more important than the life of any man.

It’s also interesting to note how men become marginalised in the film, as you only get to see them through snatched glimpses beyond iron railings and via the momentary flickers of candlelight. While in the younger women’s eyes they become almost disposable; chastising war deserters as ‘cowards’ and being nonchalant at the prospect of taking a man’s life. Perhaps, this is down to the fact the younger girls have only known the word during the war, and have been conditioned to consider men dying while women crochet to be a normal part of life.

Much like her debut feature, The Virgin Suicides (1999), which also examines female identity, Sofia Coppola imbues every shot with a woozy and dream like hue, as if she were carefully draping the finest of lace or chiffon across the camera lens; almost as if it was the physical manifestation of the mist shrouding the mansion frequently. While similar to her earlier Somewhere (2009), Coppola again deploys her light directing style here, in order to allow audiences to easily notice the subtle mood shifts and changing power dynamics among the women. Ultimately, I liken The Beguiled to Lost in Translation (2003), simply because it’s a career defining masterpiece for Sofia Coppola.

7.6 / 10