What we'll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
We don’t know what we are more excited about: the release of Carol—Todd Haynes and Phyllis Nagy’s adaptation of our favorite Patricia Highsmith novel that casts Cate Blanchett in the title role—or Adele’s new album, 25. And then we have two delicious memoirs to boot, by Mary-Louise Parker and Shonda Rhimes? It’s an embarrassment of riches. Oh, we are so not complaining. We are outright bragging about our plans for the weekend!
With her rich, smoky, soulful voice, and vulnerable lyrics about breakups from hell, you might think we’re describing Dusty Springfield—and indeed Adele may very well be her heiress apparent (“Million Years Ago” is so Dusty-esque, we had to check iTunes to make sure we were still listening to 25). So captivated were we by her last album, 21, belting passionate truth bombs about love and heartache, that we honestly did not think we could wait another minute for her new album, 25. Thankfully, the now-27-year-old sent us a life raft last month when she released her single “Hello.” And now the day has arrived: We’ve already listened to 25, oh, five, maybe ten times? We’ve lost count because we’re too absorbed in it over here.
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s brilliant 1952 novel The Price of Salt, by director Todd Haynes (Safe, Far From Heaven) and screenwriter Phyllis Nagy, this much-awaited, powerful film—which earned Mara an award at Cannes, and the film a Palm D’or nom—portrays a gripping, fraught lesbian love story set in McCarthy-era Manhattan, in which a young artist, Therese (Mara), falls for Carol, an older woman (Blanchett) in the grips of a brutal divorce and custody battle for her little girl. Nagy and Haynes recognize how differently the story reads now than when Highsmith wrote it, and so the Faustian bargain Carol must make if she wants to stay with Therese comes more sharply into focus.
Mary-Louise Parker, one of the finest actresses of stage (Proof, Prelude to a Kiss) and both screens—many know her best as Nancy Botwin, the pot-dealing suburban mom of Weeds (but if you can’t see her onstage, we implore you to watch her in HBO’s production of Angels in America, for starters)—has written an incredibly brave, literary, at times wrenchingly personal memoir that unfolds in (mostly) thank-you letters to men she does not name, who she has known in some way—intimately, fleetingly, or in her own imaginings. She talks to such figures in her life as old boyfriends; her father, about his death; her grandfather; an ash-covered firefighter during 9/11; and yes, even the father of one of her two children (whom we know from tabs to be Billy Crudup, who’d left her for Claire Danes in 2003 while she was pregnant). If it’s gossip you seek, this isn’t the book for you. It’s, as Mary Karr perfectly describes it, “a funny, gut-wrenching meditation on Parker’s encounters with the masculine.”
Last night, Shonda Rhimes, the most powerful TV network showrunner working today, proves once again why it is we love her so damn much (not that we needed proof): She used her enormous platform last night on Scandal to take on abortion and the importance of Planned Parenthood with an episode that resonated deeply with the show’s millions of viewers. So you better believe we are among the countless readers who bought Year of Yes—part memoir, part call to arms—which hits No. 3 this week on the New York Times best-seller list this weekend. In it she reveals, among other things, that she’s an introvert—yes, Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy‘s Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey, Scandal‘s Olivia Pope, and How to Get Away With Murder‘s Annalise Keating—and decided to take a few cues from the bold women she’s invented. And then some.
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