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The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

The Student News Site of Hendrick Hudson

The Hendrick Hudson Anchor

Recommendations of the Week: 11/26-12/2

Recommendations+of+the+Week%3A+11%2F26-12%2F2

Each week, the staff here at The Anchor give their recommendations on an album, book and movie to enjoy. Here are our recommendations for the week of 11/26-12/2.


Movie- Spencer by Pablo Larraín (2021)

Recommended by Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso

Photo Credits: NEON

Pablo Lorraine’s depiction of Princess Diana and her crisis of identity during the Christmas of 1991 could be accurately described as a subtle horror, a psychological thriller, a surreal haunting, or a family drama. But more than anything, it is a depiction of a sorrowful, alienated Princess Diana that could find little comfort in the world of royalty and politics.

The arthouse elements of this film, specifically its hallucinatory scenes and avant-garde jazz soundtrack (courtesy of Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood) may make the movie feel distant, but it’s Kristen Stewart’s exceptional performance that keeps this movie grounded. Her version of Diana is painfully lonely, and she feels like a prisoner in the labyrinthian estate where the Royal Family spends their christmases. 

Other depictions of the royal family, especially hit shows like The Crown, paint the issues of the royal family in a dramatic light to create an entertaining narrative of high-stake politics and nuanced emotions. Spencer opts to show the royal family as distant and cruel– Queen Elizabeth is brutally indifferent to Diana’s struggles, while Prince Charles, played mercilessly by Jack Farthing, evokes an everyday cruelty and disdain that differs from the dramatic passion of Dominic West in The Crown. The royal family doesn’t try to understand Diana, they only try to repress her.

At Spencer’s core is a phenomenal performance by Kristen Stewart, whose depiction of Diana has been praised by former bodyguards as the closest anybody has gotten to her in real life. Former bodyguard Ken Wharfe said “[s]he managed to perfect her mannerisms.” The film at its heart is a tale of rebellion, of a woman trying her best to survive amongst politics and decisions completely out of her control.

 

Book-  Hang the Moon by Jeanette Walls (2023)

Recommended by Christine Lupien

Photo Credits: Simon & Schuster

The Age of Prohibition typically conjers images most similar to those within The Great Gatsby – luxurious parties, women in flapper dresses, gangsters,  speakeasies, and a general feeling of abundant excess that followed the conclusion of World War I.

I recently finished Hang the Moon, by Jeanette Walls, a story about Sallie Kincaid living in rural Virginia during the Age of Prohibition, and found myself completely enthralled. As a young woman living in relative poverty during the Age of Prohibition, Sallie’s story is distinctly one of the other side of the tracks – where the moonshine is made, the small farmers are scraping by with the help of political machines, and paternalism and and church values rule the day. It’s a far cry from the life and town of Daisy Buchanan.

The allusions to The Great Gatsby are many. However the addictive and engrossing story that follows Sallie from childhood to young adulthood is not all that different in its ability to captivate the reader, nor its illustrative charms of the 1920s. The car chases, moonshine bootleggers, murder and crime have a discerning role in the plot of Sallie’s story. The tension between the haves and the have nots drives the plot forward in the poverty stricken community of Claiborne County, Virginia, and leaves the reader relating to the characters, while simultaneously loving and hating them. The story is fun to read, solid at highlighting social discrepancies of the time period, and so easily creates a feeling of being in the town with Sallie, that I was disappointed to reach the end.

For those that enjoy The Great Gatsby, it’s a wonderful read. For those that dislike the Great Gatsby, it may be an even better book to borrow from the library next. 


If you want to submit your own recommendations, contact Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso, Managing Editor
Francisco Aguirre-Ghiso is currently a senior at Hen Hud. This is his second year writing at The Anchor, and currently holds the position of managing editor. He is also public relations officer for Tri-M Music Honor Society and plays Varsity Tennis. Outside of school, he likes watching movies, playing video games and listening to music.
Christine Lupien is a social studies teacher at Hendrick Hudson High School.
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