Review: In nuanced ‘Judy,’ Zellweger proves she just may be best singing actor of her generation   


In the last moments of Rupert Goold’s “Judy,” Miss Garland herself (Renée Zellweger) tells (or perhaps implores) her audience: “You won’t forget me, promise me you won’t.” The film does make sure of that, preserving the iconic star in amber, though it’s not as the soft, golden-voiced teen we know so well.

This is not Judy in her prime but at one of her lowest points, at her most real and raw, and in a transformed and transfixing performance, Zellweger captures Judy as her flawed, vulnerable, sweet, charming and deeply human self.

Based on Peter Quilter’s stage play “The End of the Rainbow,” adapted by Tom Edge for the screen, “Judy” takes place during a run of shows in 1969 at London’s Talk of the Town dinner club.

A destitute Judy Garland reluctantly takes the gig in hopes of earning enough money to regain custody of her children, Lorna (Bella Ramsey) and Joey, from her ex-husband Sid Luft (Rufus Sewell).

During the contained period, the film unspools what makes the famous Garland tick. Yes, it is indeed the uppers, downers, booze, insomnia, anorexia and deep-rooted trauma inflicted by a childhood spent laboring under the watch of a controlling, verbally abusive Louis B. Mayer.

But what we learn is Judy is driven equally by her desires as she is by her demons. All she wants is to be loved. And, every night, if she chooses, she can receive that love, in droves, from her audience.

Zellweger embodies Garland’s brittleness, twitchy and strained, hardened by years of drugs and her rough upbringing of long workdays and forced diet pills. Judy has crystallized, thin as glass, ready to shatter at any moment.

She works because she must, and because she loves her children, but also because it’s all she’s ever known, to get up onstage and sing. It’s how she earns her living, her love, her existence.

Goold’s film is unshowy, merely a platform for Zellweger’s virtuosic performance. Goold is smart to simply give breathing room to Zellweger, and to the musical numbers, letting her stalk the stage in anger, glory and confusion without cutting away.

Zellweger ably reminds us all that her ability to act while singing is unparalleled. And in “Judy,” she proves she may well be the best singing actor of her generation (lest we forgot “Chicago” or her spunky performance of “Sugar High” in “Empire Records”).

Her first performance at Talk of the Town is riveting. Zellweger never blinks (literally) as Judy switches into performance-mode like a woman possessed by her own talent, relying on sheer adrenaline, muscle memory and the uncut adoration of an audience. That’s her real addiction, the high she’s always chasing.

Zellweger is a force of nature onstage, but she finds the softness and sweetness in the fragile Judy, her wry humor and loving nature. We witness these moments in the hushed exclamation of “oh, that’s good” over a bite of cake she allows herself, out of politeness to her hosts, and in a shy invitation to dinner to a couple of fans waiting for her after her show, the only folks in London happy for her company.

It’s a nuanced, complex, nakedly emotional performance that digs into the darkest psychology of one of our most beloved stars and demands that, even in her lowest moments, we could never count Judy Garland out. The same goes for Renée Zellweger.


Simon and Jackie Go Crazy   


So, I visited Montreal Simon to read his latest post, which was a condemnation of the Scheer Conservatives and their fans who are bringing USA-Repugnican style hatred and violent rhetoric up here. It started off well with a picture of some sub-literate right-wing moron holding up this ridiculous (and frightening) hand-made sign:

I've said on numerous occasions that stupid people must have the same right to vote as non-stupid people. But there needs to be gatekeepers to prevent the rise of stupid ideas and rage-fueled political movements from having any prominence greater than the level of three city blocks. Alas, for reasons of selfish cynicism our media and corporate elites see fit to pander to these cretins and stir them up. As well (whose kidding who?) from their own behaviour and the words that flow from their mouths, pens, pencils, keyboards, many among our elites aren't all that intelligent either.

Montreal Simon goes from trashing right-wing assholes calling for Trudeau to be "hung" (or run over by a truck) for taxing them, for verbally acknowledging global warming, for admitting Syrian refugees, for marching in PRIDE parades, and etc., ... where was I? .... Oh yeah, ... Simon goes from condemning those assholes to conflating them with progressives who yell at him for buying the TMX pipeline (so as to bail-out the Bay Street parasites who invested in that bitumen project) and praises Trudeau for asking his supporters (booing the guy) for tolerance as he lets his security drag the man away.

Immediately afterwards Simon mentions a guy who threw an egg at Trudeau during a climate march in Montreal, but it's unclear from the Global News video what that guy's agenda was. Personally, I've never gotten too incensed about ordinary people throwing pies (or, now, eggs) in the faces of politicians.

"What if that pie/egg had been a gun or a bomb or a knife?!?"

Yeah. But you're missing the important point that it wasn't a gun or a bomb or a knife. It was a cream-pie/egg. You could just as well shriek that the hand of someone extended for a handshake could have been a gun. But it wasn't. The person sticking their hand out to a passing politician just wants a handshake. Just as the person with the pie wants to make a statement and not kill anybody.

Simon then starts his spiel about how Justin Trudeau is the most activist politician fighting climate change EVAH!!!! because of his carbon tax and his investments in renewable energy industries. But, if Simon were honest (or not honestly ignorant) he would know that this is mere tinkering and that it is all cancelled-out by his continuing to develop the Tar Sands. Which is par for the course for a liberal politician. They're the masters n' mistresses of using empty words to gull their deluded followers. They "feel your pain." They "want to see all people rise to their full potential." They "don't want to see anyone left behind." They say the things we want to hear in order to get elected and continue to say those things as they enact policies that contradict their flowery words.

The end result of political cowardice and deliberate deceit by politicians like Justin Trudeau is going to be the extinction of most of the earth's life-forms. It will AT LEAST mean the deaths of tens of millions of people. Given this, it was justified for that protester to yell at Trudeau for his sickening devotion to the TMX pipeline. And it is the height of stupidity to conflate environmentalists with legitimate grievances with Islamophobic, racist, right-wing homophobic shit-heads threatening all their adversaries with murder. (Notice how that protester at the Liberal rally stayed right where he was and didn't make a step towards Trudeau.)

And, of course, the first "commentor" was Simon's in-all-but-name co-blogger "Jackie Blue." I haven't (and won't) read her entire densely-packed, extended comment. But she basically says that leftist "shit-disturbers" are as big a threat (to "rational centrists") as right-wingers. Now, given the evidence from Simon's own post, anyone not an idiot can see that isn't true. She then goes on to whine about the progressives who didn't vote for mass-murderess, corrupt scumbag Hillary Clinton. Because "Jackie Blue" continues with the bullshit story that she's a US-American and she continues with the bullshit belief that Hillary Clinton wasn't a murdering scumbag.

Hillary Clinton voted for the Iraq War you stupid fuck! She voted for a war based on obvious stupid lies. The war she voted for has KILLED ONE MILLION IRAQIS and maimed and traumatized millions more. And that's only one of her colossal "mistakes" that she made while servicing the oligarchy and becoming a multi-millionaire herself. And it was Hillary's own sense of entitlement that led her to rig the Democratic primary to defeat Bernie Sanders and thereby bring on the presidency of Donald Trump. Hillary gave us Trump you imbecile!

As a species, we have to do the hard work of overthrowing his rotten, inhuman, ecocidal system. And the longer that (mostly decent-minded) people like Montreal Simon pledge hysterical allegiance to hucksters like Liberals, the longer (and perhaps TOO LATE) will it take to start that job in earnest.

(I'll end by saying that I probably won't be voting. My riding is a contest between the Libs and the Cons. And, from reading this article, I'm pretty much deflated about my choices anyway.)


WASH Coordinator (Community Mobilisation Lead) (INT5996)   

Region: Asia, Division: International, Job Type: Fixed Term
Oxfam is a global movement of people working together to end the injustice of poverty.The Role

Oxfam in Myanmar is looking for WASH Coordinator (Community Mobilisation Lead).SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES: A graduate qualification or equivalent in one of the following, or a related discipline: social sciences, environmental, public or preventative health, anthropology, or community development.Experience of working with communities in emergency WASH programmesTechnical WASH KnowledgeProven ability and at least 5 years’ experience in project co-ordination / management in either a humanitarian or development programmeA good understanding of the theory and practice of community engagement and hygiene based behaviour change.Experience of working in a participative way with communities; strong counterpart/ capacity building skillsStrong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate in English clearly both verbally and in...


Kiwi dancer at Gold Coast strip club found guilty of assaulting Neighbours actor   

Kiwi dancer threw a glass at Neighbours actor in "fit of rage" after he verbally abused her.

Thread: General Gaming:: Customized Timer App for competitive board gaming?   


by mtxed

I recently ran a board game league with a couple friends and some games that normally take 2-3.5 hours (Power Grid, Scythe, Puerto Rico etc) took 3.5-6 hours with all the analysis paralysis, extreme number crunching, coaching, trash talking, etc. This even happened a few times in our "competitive" pickup games of Terraforming Mars where people would just take forever to make the most optimal moves.

Like online board gaming, chess, or poker, we thought of implementing a fixed timer per action, say 30 to 60 seconds to initiate an action with no take backs (sort of like poker, once you verbally commit an action or cross the line you are committed). More importantly we thought about keeping track of overall time and looking at several methods of awarding extra Victory Points to players who play quick.

The downside of playing "quick" is potentially losing time to calculate and make better decisions, thus ruining the quality of the game, but the upside is gaining extra points based on fast play an training your brain to think and react faster...... Whether or not it's worth it to play quicker will depend on the system and reward, but in general everyone likes a game to play at an average to above average speed right??

Does anyone know of any Phone Apps out there that can keep track of these kind of metrics?

What my child with cerebral palsy taught me: parents share   


"Car flat."

Max texted me those words from his Apple Watch yesterday in the early evening, and I immediately picked up the phone and called Dave. "Does the car have a flat tire?" I asked. "How'd you know?!" he responded. He hadn't wanted to tell me so I wouldn't worry about him and the boys. "Max tattled," I said. "Max, you're a tattletale!" Dave said, laughing.

It was just Max being Max and Dave being Dave. Nothing extraordinary—which is exactly what I celebrated yesterday on World Cerebral Palsy Day. Having cerebral palsy and intellectual disability are the norm in our household. We don't treat Max like some poor, afflicted individual. We tease him, try our best not to let him get away with stuff, call him on his ridiculous demands (NO, WE ARE NOT GOING TO CALIFORNIA FOR THE WEEKEND!), get frustrated with him, laugh lots with him and love him to bits. In other words, we treat him like any of our children.

Until I had a child with cerebral palsy, I couldn't have imagined this. But now I know: Cerebral palsy is one part of who Max is, not all of him. It is not to be mourned. At times it poses challenges, to be sure, but it is what it is. Max is who he is.

I asked other parents on Facebook what their child with CP has taught them, and this is what they shared.

"My son is first and foremost a 4-year-old boy. He loves picking out his own clothes, playing on the playground, riding a merry-go-round, reading stories, and hanging out with his friends. He likes to dance, he thinks farts are funny, and he's a complete jokester. Because of his CP, he can't walk independently (yet) or verbally communicate (yet), but his diagnosis is not a definition [of who he is]—it just means we do things a little differently."—Camie

"My son, 8 years old, taught me to be patient and do not compare to others. It's OK to do things when you are ready."—Tomomi

"Disability isn't something to be pitied or feared. It is part of the human condition and just IS. My son is 12 and having CP is just part of life."—Cary

"Just because my daughter can't talk doesn't mean she isn't smart!"—Jenn

"I had dreams for my daughter Sarah before she was born and none of them came true. Instead, Sarah showed me how real life and real love are better than dreams. I took care of her every need, but she raised me to be the mother she needed."—Teresa

"There's always more than one way to do something. My daughter's CP has made us so creative in finding adaptations."—Amy

"My son has taught me that having CP doesn't mean suffering from it. Chris is such a happy, loving soul who brightens every room."—Brian

"Presume intelligence, be kind always and believe, especially on the dark days. Keep moving forward. Appreciate the micro progress."—Ivana

"My son has taught me about joy. It is not found in what we have or can do or in others' opinion of us. Joy is found in simple things: a smile a laugh, a hug, even a word."—Stephanie

"Faith may not be able to do everything but she can do waaaaay more than all the doctors predicted. Walking at 15, driving a power chair, horseback riding, painting and earning money for her artwork, swimming...don't accept predictions from anyone!!!"


Grammar Mistakes That Aren’t   


I’ve just nicely started reading a new language book and want to share some thoughts from it. Robert Lane Greene is a writer who lives in New York. Greene is a regular correspondent for The Economist and has published in The New York Times and many other well established periodicals so is well acquainted with modern English usage yet is no fan of prescriptionism. In his 2011 book You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity, Greene “pokes gentle fun” at linguistic sticklers.

As Greene learned new languages (he speaks nine last count) he began to question English grammar rules. If Danes can end sentences with a preposition, why can’t the English?

Here are some quotes from the Preface:

I think flexibility, humility, and multilingualism should take the place of sticklerism, arrogance, and nationalism when we think about language.

Language isn’t just rules and words, but communication.

Greene warns about journalists or other writers who, because they know how to use language well, think they can write about language without doing their research. He compares this to a top athlete thinking he is a physiologist. Greene devotes several pages to humorist author Bill Bryson’s “facts” about English and other languages that, in fact, just aren’t so.

Greene then takes umbrage with language sticklers, focusing on Lynne Truss in particular. The rally cry of her best-selling book “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” (2003) is “Stickler’s unite!”. Greene argues that her “fury on the decline of English punctuation and those who hasten it” is greatly “out of proportion to the crime”. As an example he quotes her pronouncement that those who misplace apostrophes “deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.” Greene doesn’t seem to get her use of the British hyperbole. Later Truss demonstrates her appreciation of the Venetian printer Aldus Manutius (1450-1515) for standardizing Western punctuation by “absolutely kicking myself that I never volunteered to have his babies”. Perhaps Greene missed reading the Publisher’s Note to the American edition which ends “Please enjoy this narrative history of punctuation as it was meant to be enjoyed, bone-dry humour and cultural references intact…”

Getting back to my post title, there are two types of “grammar mistakes that aren’t”. One type occurs when the critic misunderstands or misapplies grammar rules himself. An example might be saying that the sentence “Send a copy to Joe and me” should be “Send a copy to Joe and I”. The first sentence is correct; the “and I” rule applies to the subject not the object of a sentence. Such incorrect corrections can be either ignored or dealt with satisfactorily by reference to the actual rule.

The second type, a few of which Greene tackles in his book, are grammar rules that shouldn’t be. Greene lists three bases for grammar rules:
·         clarity – does it make the meaning clearer?
·         literary tradition – is it used (or not) by great English writers, past and present?
·         purity – is it native to English or adopted from another language?

I would argue that only the first is essential. Just because Milton or Shakespeare broke a grammar rule doesn’t make it obsolete. And a rule borrowed from another language, if it makes English easier and clearer, should be welcomed. Some grammar rules, however, fail all three. Here are some examples:

Ending a sentence with a preposition
This is a natural sentence structure. We all do it. But according to a grammar rule, we shouldn’t. (We aren’t supposed to start a sentence with “but” either; I’ll get to that in a minute). So where did the rule prohibiting this particular sentence structure come from? (Now doesn’t that sound better than “from where did the rule… come?)  Blame a 17th century poet, John Dryden, who liked to compose in Latin and then translate into English. Because one can’t end a Latin sentence with a preposition, Dryden stipulated that one shouldn’t in English either. His arbitrary rule was adopted by the writers of the first English grammar books in the 18th century and continues to influence writers to this day.

Double Negatives
Robert Lowth, who I discussed in my post of April 2, proclaimed that two negatives cancel each other. Thus “He don’t know nothing” must mean that he does know something rather than emphasizing his ignorance. While this rule has some basis in mathematical logic (-2 x -3 = +6) there is no reason that it has to apply to English. The use of double negatives for emphasis is common in certain dialects and everyday speech both historically (Chaucer and Shakespeare used it) and currently. Some languages like Spanish and Russian require the negative pronoun with a negative verb.

Split infinitives
The rule banning the insertion of words between the “to” and the rest of the verb in the infinitive tense is more modern, appearing in an anonymous article in 1834. The rule was adopted by grammarians and quickly became official. It likely originated from Latin and Greek where it is impossible because the infinitive form is one word. It completely fails the clarity test and has a long list of respected authors who ignore it – both historically (before the rule was invented) and afterwards (witness Star Trek’s “to boldly go...”). George Bernard Shaw verbally attacked an editor of a newspaper who had corrected his split infinitives calling him, among many other names, “a pedant, an ignoramus, an idiot…” and suggested he be replaced by an intelligent Newfoundlanddog. Ironically, Shaw’s character Henry Higgins in Pygmalion shows a complete intolerance of nonstandard speech when he tells Eliza Doolittle “A woman who utters such depressing and disgusting sounds has no right to be anywhere—no right to live.”

The attitude towards these (and other) rules is changing. Henry Watson Fowler (1858-1933) in his 1926 book A Dictionary of Modern English Usage encouraged readers to ignore rules that didn’t make sense or which caused ambiguity. He freely gave license to split infinitives, to end sentences with prepositions, to begin sentences with “and” or “but”, and to use “none” with a plural verb (e.g. “none of us are going”).

I agree that the first and third rule described above can be safely ignored. On the use of double negatives I’m not so sure. While the rule could have gone either way (that two negatives cancel or reinforce each other), one or the other should be standard. The use of double negatives was already in decline when Lowth’s rule was written, he just finished it off. For clarity sake, I would reserve a reinforcing double negative for dialogue in a dialect where it would not be unexpected (did you catch my double negative where the intent is to cancel?). One tip is the word “ain’t”; if someone says “she ain’t never comin' back” there’s no use waiting up for her.

Fowler’s rather liberal English usage book was published in England which one would expect to be the bastion of prescriptionism. Meanwhile in freedom-loving America William Strunck Jr. and E.B. White published, in 1959  The Elements of Style, commonly referred to as “Strunk and White”. This book is full of picky little rules, many of which are quite arbitrary like Strunk’s ban on beginning a sentence with “however”. White added “hopefully” to the sentence-beginning ban list as in “Hopefully, I’ll do better tomorrow”. Greene argues that in this usage “hopefully” is a “sentence adverb”, and gives another example “Honestly, he’s a liar”. In Greene’s example, “honestly” obviously does not describe the person being talked about but modifies the rest of the sentence. If “honestly” is acceptable in this structure, why shouldn’t “hopefully” be?

White’s inflexibility on the many rules in their book seems at odds with his beautiful quote on language change that I use in my blog heading. I suppose it illustrates the idea that language is very personal: “all changes to language are fine and acceptable – except for the ones I don’t like”.


Rockets' James Harden, Russell Westbrook latest NBA stars to verbally commit to Team USA for 2020 Olympics    

Participation shouldn't be an issue for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Gold Coast stripper found guilty of glassing Neighbours actor Scott McGregor says she was ‘verbally abused’ - PerthNow   

  1. Gold Coast stripper found guilty of glassing Neighbours actor Scott McGregor says she was ‘verbally abused’  PerthNow
  2. Scott McGregor: Stripper in court accused of glassing Neighbours actor
  3. Gold Coast stripper who glassed Neighbours star Scott McGregor blames 'rude' behaviour  ABC News
  4. Gold Coast stripper guilty of glassing Neighbours actor  Sydney Morning Herald
  5. Stripper guilty of assaulting Neighbours actor in 'fit of rage'  Yahoo News Australia
  6. View full coverage on Google News


Telecommunications Director - Town of Concord, MA - Concord, MA   

Ability to clearly communicate, verbally and in writing, detailed plans and instructions to a variety of audiences. Concord Municipal Light Plant Salary Grade: $98,000 - $120,000 a year
From Town of Concord, MA - Fri, 14 Jun 2019 20:02:35 GMT - View all Concord, MA jobs

Stripper on good behaviour after throwing glass at Scott McGregor   

Magistrate rules while Neighbours star verbally abused Gold Coast stripper, her reaction was disproportionate.

SUSPIRIA Day 7: sweet girl   


Suspiria is a film full of tragedies both great and small, the personal and the expansive alike. Its love stories–and there are several–are no less heartbreaking than the violence. Whether it's Josef and Anke, Susie and Blanc, or Markos and her sunglasses, death and the Holocaust are specters haunting all of them and the globe from Ohio to Berlin and back again. Nothing good can remain in this world for long so long as we keep destroying ourselves. We can only hope that Mother Suspiriorum will bring about a new way, that the small wave of her hand in the post-end credits stinger will absolve us of our sins.

But the love story I return to time and time again, the one that wrecks me and breaks my heart into pieces, the one I keep hoping will turn out differently on every viewing, is the one between Susie and Sara.

And make no mistake, this is a love story from the very start to its sad, beautiful end.

Glances from afar are de rigueur in queer cinema, particularly in lesbian cinema. Historically, gays have not been allowed the freedom of the rom-com meet-cute on-screen. The closest to the 'two souls meet' of straight romance is the momentary, meaningful gaze, the one that communicates so much in only a second or two. The one that says, unspoken, I see you. Do you see me? It's a private moment in a crowd of people, undeniably romantic. Often, it's also a necessity, forced by society's mores and laws. No one can know, but I know.

This is how Sara and Susie meet before they meet. Susie stands in the lobby after her audition. She overhears some dancers in another room talking about Patricia's absence. And then:

No one else looks in Susie's direction or notices her. Only Sara does. Their eyes meet, Sara slows her gait just a bit, and the moment lingers for a second. Tanner calls for Susie. She turns away to go to her, to the judgment that awaits...but first she turns back for one more look.

Susie has not even been accepted to the Company yet, but her life has already changed.

That night, Sara goes to Susie's hotel to help her move into the Tanz building. There are many ways her arrival could have been filmed–from inside the taxi, from the street outside–but we stay inside with Susie, who gazes out the window, waiting for (or perhaps sensing) Sara's imminent appearance.

The matrons were very deliberate in their choice to have Sara be Susie's guide. Surely Susie could have brought herself and her very meager belongings to the Tanz building. But Sara, more than anyone else in this film, is kind. A sweet girl. She will make Susie feel welcome, at home, and at ease as the coven assesses the new dancer's abilities. None of them could have predicted, however, that their bond would be so instant and would become so deep. On this first face-to-face...well, the first face-to-face where they actually speak, Susie pulls Sara into her room as she confides in her about her happiness and nervousness now that she is someone in Berlin. This emphasizes their immediate connection, but it also makes me wonder about Susie's life in Ohio, what it was like for her. Did she have anyone to confide in, to talk to–to really talk to, to share everything with? Maybe Naomi. Probably no one.

They become inseparable and often separate from everyone else, sharing their own private moments in rooms full of people. At the start of Susie's first rehearsal, the dancers swarm around Madame Blanc, each receiving her kisses and good mornings in turn. Sara is undoubtedly accustomed to this daily ritual by now, but she doesn't partake. She stays with Susie, lingering apart from the group.

When Blanc calls upon Susie to introduce herself to everyone, Susie looks to Sara, who is basically shooting giant hearts out of her eyes at her and could you just die?

These handshakes and Hi, I'm Susies she gives out to everyone mark the only time we see Susie speak to or interact with any of her fellow dancers besides Sara, who is the only one who matters. For a long while, they are the only ones who matter. They're repeatedly shown stealing moments, off by themselves, and constantly in physical contact as the relationship grows.

Sara becomes increasingly worried about Patricia's disappearance, that perhaps the matrons are not telling the truth and her friend did not leave voluntarily. She talks about it one night in Susie's room and it's here you can see just how smitten Susie is, how much she's fallen for Sara. She is in deep, no matter what. A caress of the hair, all their hands intertwined, a pinky swear. "If I asked you for a favor tomorrow, would you do it?"

"Yes," Susie agrees, almost before Sara finishes asking. It is a whisper, a promise, barely a breath, but it is so heavy with everything she doesn't say. Yes, I will do this, whatever it is. Whatever you ask of me. Anything.

We cut to the next day as they sneak into the matrons' offices in search of answers, and it's as if they still haven't let go of one another.

Later, it's not the first time Susie has had a night of disturbing dreams, but it's the one that has her screaming "I know who I am!" A few of the dancers come down the hall to see if she's okay, but they're not particularly alarmed. Nightmares are the Markos Company special, after all. But Sara stays with Susie, calms her down, talks to her and soothes her. Then she turns off the light and gets into bed with her.

As they face one another, Susie says "I've only ever slept in bed with my sister." It's all but an explicit invitation, for this to be the time, their time. Susie is not as forthright with Sara as she is with Madame Blanc; One gets the feeling–or, at least, I do–that if she were, this night would have gone differently for them.

But Sara only says, "We're sisters now." Susie doesn't verbally respond. Instead, she rolls over–perhaps disappointed–and Sara puts an arm around her. Susie doesn't immediately settle into sleep, though. She lies there, eyes open, and if you can't imagine some of the thoughts going through her head, well, then you've never been unsure about someone even as you're in bed with them. Susie's look and all the questioning that goes with it, all the wondering about what to do, about what you're feeling, about what the other person is feeling, is, I'd wager, very very familiar to anyone in the queer community.

But hey, it's entirely possible that that night did end up going differently for them. After all, this isn't the first time horror fans have seen the word "sisters" tossed around by someone with ulterior motives and feelings. Isn't that right, Theo?

At rehearsal the day after their night together, they're all but giddy as they dance. A stolen kiss.

That rehearsal is the last time Sara and Susie will share any kind of intimacy. After, Sara finds the Mutterhäus and confides in Klemperer. Susie becomes increasingly emboldened by the power she's given and taken. She is falling deeper under Madame Blanc's spell (who, in turn, is falling deeper under Susie's) and at the next rehearsal, Sara is out. She dances alone now, watching Blanc and Susie share the kind of moment that she and Susie used to share. And now, out of nowhere, Susie speaks fluent French? Sara is (rightfully) wary of the supernatural fuckery afoot, but this scene is also like watching someone realize they've lost their girl to someone they can't possibly hope to compete with. Blanc is older, more worldly, more sophisticated, more everything. She's been Susie's everything since she was a child in a farmhouse in Ohio. And now they're acting like that, right there in front of everyone, and Sara is alone. Susie has suddenly outgrown her first love, who has to watch her flaunt her new, better love. You can almost hear Sara's heart breaking with the realization that it's all different now.

The rift between them is emphasized right after, as Sara confronts and warns Susie about her dealings with the matrons. At first, it looks as if the two of them are as close as they've ever been, sharing another one of their private moments:

But then the angle changes and we see how much space there is between them now, so much that it seems insurmountable. Their image is reflected in a metal surface and it's distorted beyond recognition, vastly unlike the reflection in the mirror in Susie's hotel room the night they met.

Susie could have fixed this right here, but instead she denies everything and essentially gaslights Sara. There's nothing to worry about. You're wrong about everything. She's cold to her, and Sara physically recoils from Susie's attempted touch. It's all gone now: the hand-holding, the kisses, the pinky swears and late nights and breathless, ready yeses. Susie offers only a condescending smirk before walking away.

Even so, on the night of the Volk performance Susie is focused solely on Sara's absence. She asks Vendegast about her and then crushes my soul by leaving a space for Sara in line until they all walk on stage.

You know where it goes from here, what happens to Sara in that hallway. What is done to her, what she must endure. What Susie does to all of them.

And so we get to their ending, their sad sad ending. Susie has mercifully released Olga and Patricia from their tortured lives with a kiss on the cheek. Then she comes to Sara.

"Sweet girl...what do you ask?"

Sweet girl.

There is no going back. We don't know how much of "Susie Bannion" remains in Mother Suspiriorum, but even if there's nothing left, she knows what Sara meant to her, what Sara still means to her somehow, somewhere.

Sweet girl.

Like the others, Sara asks to die, for an end to this unlife. Like the others, she is granted release.

Unlike the others, Susie cradles Sara as she dies, comforting her as they have comforted each other throughout terrible nights. It's reminiscent of Michelangelo's Pietà, a lamentation.

As I mentioned, it's one of many tragedies in the film, but I find it's the one that truly stings. Susie and Sara are not meant to be, not in this timeline, not in this lifetime, not with Susie's destiny waiting. But there, amongst the blood and destruction in the Sabbath chamber, as dancers spin around them, they have one final quiet moment together, separate from the others, as if they're the only people in the world.
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