Why Heartstopper Is Groundbreaking TV.

When Alice Oseman started producing a webcomic about two teenage lads falling in love, she would have had no idea how important her work would be. Following her successful publication of ‘Solitaire’ – a book about an anxious Tori Spring – Alice decided to expand the focus onto her side characters. She gave Tori’s brother Charlie a storyline with his boyfriend Nick, which resulted in another novella and the Timblr ‘Heartstopper’ cartoons.

A Groundswell Of Love

Heartstopper was eventually rolled out as four books, initially, with two more editions to come. As a successful YA story about growing up and coming to terms with being gay and bi, it has been groundbreaking to witness its widespread success and acceptance.

In 2022 Hearstopper was made into an eight part TV show which was scripted by Alice and had 54 million views in its first month alone. For the LGBTQ+ community this has meant so much. When I was younger we had nothing like this on television. Now you can see two lads fall in love and witness other LGBTQ+ characters dealing with everyday dilemmas in a normal, comfortable way.

As the second season arrived on Netflix last night, I watched the first episode and could see that the high standard of production was continuing and meaningful stories were still being told.

Final Thoughts

This phenomenon is powerful because it sends out a clear message that you can live your life freely, as you choose. By showing such acceptance, dealing with the awkwardness of ‘coming out’ and other serious issues, such as mental health, Alice has worked wonders.

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Oppenheimer Was Petrifying But Excellent!

Popping along to my local Showcase Cinema yesterday to see the much hyped new Christopher Nolan film – Oppenheimer, I was concerned about the three hour duration. Would I be able to keep my eyes open in a dark room for this long? Well, I definitely remained fully awake as this film was nothing less than an eye-opener.

In A Nutshell

Robert Oppenheimer studied in Cambridge (near me) and went on to be a leading light in Quantum Physics. He was asked to set up a research project that would ultimately develop an atomic bomb which would be actually used towards the end of the Second World War.

Seeing such enthusiasm for making this bomb really made me feel awkward. The fact that it was a race and they seemed to treat it like a game was a difficult aspect to handle.

However, the acting was magnificent and the story was thoroughly explored. Great actors were brought in to play people such as Truman (Gary Oldman) and Einstein (Tom Conti). Matt Damon came in as the guy in charge of the Manhattan Project and worked side by side with Oppenheimer. His acting was also to a high standard.

I was a little let down by the casting of Robert Downey Junior – Iron Man – in this as Lewis Strauss. He was his usual wooden self and this role would have been acted better by someone like Leo DiCaprio or even Ben Affleck.

Bright Lights

The last time I saw Cillian Murphy was in ‘A Quiet Place 2’ with Emily Blunt. It was great to see them reuniting under Christopher’s direction. I thought Cillian gave a stable and well rounded performance as Oppenheimer. He stayed consistently in role as a convincing scientist with a complicated situation playing on his mind.

Emily Blunt was Kitty, his wife, and showed up at key moments during the narrative. She was a league above the rest in this film. In my opinion her acting was gritty, sarcastic and utterly convincing. She is not quite up to Kate Winslet’s and Cate Blanchett’s level of chameleon transformations but she did incredibly well.

For me, Christopher needs a Best Director Oscar and Cillian a Best Actor nod. Emily should at very least pick up a Best Supporting Actress as she was limited by the fact her character was only in about half an hour of the film.

Squirming In My Seat

The moment they tested the bomb I winced. The idea that they went ahead and blew up something – even though they didn’t know if it would set the atmosphere alight and destroy the whole world – startles me. I cowered in my seat when the painfully bright light shone across New Mexico and was later followed up by an ear-splitting bang.

The subject matter was very sad in that this development in history led to the awful destruction of two Japanese cities. It also led to the Cold War. Was it necessary?

Despite the subject being very gritty, the Oppenheimer movie itself was cleverly written, expertly directed and powerfully acted. Go see this magnificent film now!

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Are You A Short Or Long Book Lover?

Only the other day I was talking to a very kind lady who worked in Waterstones about the length of books. I had been looking for a shorter book to read between my meatier ones and thankfully her store currently had a section just for those books that are under 200 pages. We discussed the preference for short or long books and decided we both went through phases. Can you be a book lover and not have a favourite size?

Having considered this a bit more, I realised that friends of mine tend to lean towards one or the other. I have a colleague who reads long crime books one after another. They never seem to opt for short books and hardly ever step out of that particular genre.

Others read a mix of YA books and Tiktok recommendations, which also tend to be on the shorter side.

Benefits of reading shorter books:

– These stories tend to be straight-forward. No getting bogged down in side characters and sub-plots.

– Stories revolve around one or two key characters who you can immediately start getting to know. For example, The Cockroach explored a political character and his rise to power.

– Short books don’t always need chapters and if they do have them, then there are very few.

– You can get through these quicker and read more of a variety of books if they aren’t super long.

Benefits of longer books:

– Much more meat on the bones. Obviously.

– You really go deep into the world of the characters and their minds.

– Chapters break the novels into manageable chunks (almost like short stories).

– Storylines are fully developed and are able to explore full character arcs including side characters. Sometimes they go off on interesting tangents and explore related issues.

– Longer books are often great inspiration for movies.

What do you prefer?

Is your preference for short or long books? Are you someone who likes to finish a novella in one sitting or would rather enjoy a gritty novel over several months?

For me, I tend to do a bit of both. I am usually reading a 400 page book or two, whilst also dipping into a couple of well chosen novellas.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my latest blog post. Check out my recent book review of Frazzled by Ruby Wax and perhaps consider following my blog for future book and TV reviews as well as environmental articles.