‘The next chapter is always the best.’

‘I want to have sex…!’

Wow. If you like films about elderly ladies sitting around talking about how they haven’t had sex in years and years and years, then, boy, do I have a film for you, lol. Four women have been friends and have attended a monthly book club for a staggering forty years, bonding over the books and developing really close friendships.

All the cliches about women’s book clubs are here, and are all also completely true. Drinking copious amounts of wine and snacking at the meetings, held in each other’s houses on a rotating basis. Minimal chatting about the book, as they are mostly using the opportunity to bitch about their husbands, living and deceased, and complain about the lack of sex in their lives or, if they’re still lucky enough to be having it, the poor quality of said nookie.

Diane Keaton plays Diane, recently widowed and with two grown-up daughters (one is played by a well-preserved Alicia Silverstone), who treat her like she has one foot in the grave, and is too senile to be let out on her own, which is ridiculous. Andy Garcia plays the millionaire pilot who’s trying to tempt her into a relationship, if her two daughters can ease up on the helicopter parenting for a minute.

Jane Fonda, still looking ridiculously sexy, plays Vivian, a successful, hotel-owning businesswoman who still has plenty of sex but who fears real love and commitment. If BOOK CLUB is SEX AND THE CITY meets THE GOLDEN GIRLS, which is what it feels like, then Vivian is the Samantha character and the Blanche character respectively. Don Johnson of MIAMI VICE fame plays the love of her life who can’t seem to get her to admit that she has feelings of similar depth for him as he undoubtedly has for her.

Candice Bergen is Federal Court Judge Sharon, who’s been divorced from Ed Begley Jr.’s character for eighteen years. Sharon hasn’t had sex since they split up, whereas ex-hubby Tom has a hot new blonde young girlfriend called Cheryl, to whom he’s engaged. The nerve of him. After all those years. After all she’s done for him…

Sharon decides to find love on a dating website. The first bloke lining up to be a hot lunch when she bangs the dinner gong is Richard Dreyfuss as George (Geddit??? See what I did there???), followed by Wallace Shawn from THE PRINCESS BRIDE as the diminutive Derek. Dating websites can be a bit hit-and-miss. Do they have what it takes to re-animate Sharon’s ‘lethargic pussy…?’ Hey, I’m only repeating what the vet in the movie said, lol.

Mary Steenburgen as Carol is happily married for donkey’s years to Craig T. Nelson’s Bruce. (COACH, POLTERGEISTS 1&2, STIR CRAZY, etc.) The recently retired Coach- I mean, Bruce- hasn’t wanted to have sex in ages, though, and Carol is really feeling the pinch.

Which do you think will work better to liven things up in the bedroom, slipping Viagra into Bruce’s drink without his knowledge or consent, or conducting a frank and honest conversation about where they’re at in their lives now that Bruce has retired and is, quite literally, feeling redundant in his own life…? I think you can probably guess the answer to that one, folks.

By the way, I’m not forgetting to mention that E.L. James’s erotic trilogy FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, FIFTY SHADES DARKER and FIFTY SHADES FREED is the reason that all four women suddenly start questioning their stagnant, unfulfilling or non-existent sex lives and whether or not they’ve been settling for much less than they deserve in the bedroom.

When Vivian brings along the books to their monthly club, they snigger and titter and protest a bit, but quickly they become immersed in the story of the sexual awakening of college student Anastasia Steele at the confident and masterful hands of billionaire Christian Grey, and it helps them to realise that, unless they put in a bit of effort themselves, their own lady-parts might become mere ‘caves of forgotten dreams,’ as one of the four ladies so succinctly puts it at one of their meetings.

E.L. James herself puts in a cameo appearance at one point, alongside her real-life husband Niall Leonard. The physical books can be seen in the film, with the familiar attractive covers, but actual references to their contents are light enough, hence the film’s rather surprising 12’s rating.

Older women will probably love the film and think it speaks to them. There’s an all-star cast that viewers will enjoy, especially as the female leads in particular all still look exceptionally well for their ages. Mary Steenburgen’s black hair and red dress, when she’s dancing on stage for her fund-raiser, makes her look like a splendidly joyful Kate Bush, my heroine.

Sadly, the film will probably just reinforce men’s notions that all women of any age ever want or need to be happy and fulfilled is a jolly good seeing-to, and that older women in particular, when they become too baggy and saggy to attract bees to their honey, are gagging for it all the time.

Oh, and any older women will be desperately grateful for a shag, if you’ll excuse my French. Bit unflattering, that notion that women can’t live happily without regular cock- excuse my French again- and that all women are just slaves to the Almighty Penis, but it’s hardly a new idea, I suppose.

No wonder so many blokes have inflated notions of their own importance. I have a willy, therefore I am a Master of the Universe. Sigh. Watch out for the sequel, anyway, which is meant to be coming out this year, God-and-Covid willing. That’s literally all I can say about this movie, lol. There is no more to add. Stay safe and keep warm, and ta-ra for a bit.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:



My kids and I have been really enjoying watching what we call the ‘Bad Christmas Movies’ on Netflix lately. We call them this because they’re not usually up to the standard of the so-called ‘Good Christmas Movies’ not featured on Netflix, like WHITE CHRISTMAS, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, etc., but also because some of them are pretty awful.

That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t some bright little gems in there too, sparkling away happily under all the dross. Your Honour (pompously, of course), if it please the Court, I find LOVE HARD to be one such movie.

It’s called LOVE HARD on account of the two Christmas movies discussed and referenced by the protagonists in it: LOVE ACTUALLY and DIE HARD. Yes, according to the lead girl, DIE HARD is a Christmas film, so either state your case for the opposing view or get over it, lol. It’s probably better, too, that they went with LOVE HARD for the title of the movie, as its alternative, DIE ACTUALLY, isn’t as festive. Ahem.

Anyway, to the plot. Natalie Bauer is a modern girl-about-town who lives in Los Angeles and writes about her bad dates and train-wreck romantic life for a dating app. The readers lap it up. The more disastrous the date, the better they like it, the ghouls. But then, one day, Natalie starts an online relationship with Josh, 30, from Lake Placid, New York, based mainly on his photo, which portrays him as a hunk…

Their online relationship becomes super-hot, very fast. He makes her laugh, he reads her to sleep, he’s there for her- via this app, of course- when she wakes up in the morning and when she goes to sleep at night. Natalie’s in love. Crazy in love. So, when Josh casually remarks that he wishes they were together for the upcoming Christmas, Natalie mulls it over- for, like, a second- then hops on a plane to New York to surprise him…

It’s Natalie who gets the biggest surprise. Josh has apparently ‘catfished’ her, meaning that he’s used a photograph that’s not of himself to attract her to him online. The real Josh falls down in the looks department, and Natalie is devastated. Still, she’s the one who flew 3,000 miles to ‘surprise’ a stranger, so who is she to grumble…?

She livens up, however, when she meets Tag, the man whose photo Josh has used to ‘catfish’ her. Tag is a real man who actually exists, in fact he’s a friend of Josh’s, and Natalie totally falls for him, again based purely on his looks. The dorky Josh, who still lives in his parents’ basement, works in their ‘outdoors gear’ store, which he hates, and has lived a fairly girlfriend-free existence thus far, makes a bargain with her.

If she stays with him for Christmas and pretends to be his girlfriend in front of his family, he will fill her in on Tag’s interests and hobbies and, basically, get her noticed by Tag and even get her going out with him, which is what Natalie thinks she wants.

Natalie agrees to Josh’s zany scheme, but only because she fancies Tag so much. But does she really want what she thinks she wants? And, even if she does, should she get it? Fate might have other plans for the desperate dater…

The funniest scenes? The hilarious karaoke session in the pub (‘and I would anything for love, but I won’t do that…!’) and the Lin family carol-singing expedition, in which Josh’s patronising older brother Owen attempts to steal the limelight- yet again- with his show-boating.

Owen has always loved lording it over Josh with his lovely wife and his handsome good looks, so, when underdog Josh has a chance to come first in their parents’ eyes for a change, we’re all totally rooting for him.

I was happy with the ending. At first, I was afraid that Nat would get with Tag and a dorky female with poor social skills and braces on her teeth might be rolled in for Josh. That would have made me so darned mad, with its outmoded stereotyping message.

Good-looking people should get with other good-looking people. Dorks and so-called ‘losers’ should only marry other dorks, etc. But why shouldn’t the dork, for once, get the girl? Why shouldn’t opposites attract, for once, or the lead girl decide that she’s looking for something more than just vapid good looks for a change?

And why the dickens should anyone, male or female, have to change themselves and pretend to be someone they’re not, pretend to like stuff they’re not into, just in order to bag a boyfriend or a girlfriend? Good on this film for not ending in the obvious way, and sorry if I’ve just completely spoiled the ending for you, lol.

By the way, is DIE HARD a Christmas movie? The answer is, apparently, Yippee Ki Yay, m*therf*cker…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:







‘You don’t even have a kid, do you???’

‘They were singing, with their eyes closed…!’

‘But driving fast behind the ambulance was fantastic…!’

‘Look who’s coming round the bend, it’s Santa and his reindeer friends…!’

‘But let’s say that I’m wrong, and you’re right, and that there’s this whole world going on out there for Marcus that I’m not even aware of … what are you going to do about it?’

These two films go so well together. Hugh Grant, he of the floppy hair, expensive education and posh British accent, is the male lead in both films. In ABOUT A BOY, a truly uplifting, heartwarming and funny film, he plays Will Freeman. Will, in his own words, is an island. He is Ibiza. Let me explain.

Will kids himself that he’s happy as he is. He doesn’t have to work, living as he does off the royalties from a Christmas song his deceased father penned years ago. He spends his days watching television, listening to music and getting his hair cut.

Will lives alone in his fancy flat, togged out with all the mod cons. He sleeps with women but doesn’t let them get too close. He depends on no-one, and no-one depends on him. That’s the way he likes it, and that’s how he intends things to stay.

Until, one day, his new underhanded plan to use single mothers as an endless source of free sex and undying gratitude leads him to cross paths with Marcus Brewer, the troubled, lonely teenage son of Fiona Brewer, a suicidal vegetarian (I don’t think there’s a connection bewtween the two states, lol!). Fiona’s a member of local support group SPAT (Single Parents Alone Together!).

Marcus’s life is a bit shit at the moment, what with being bullied at school for being ‘uncool’ and having to deal with his mum’s depression and suicide attempts. Marcus takes to Will and latches on to him like a limpet.

Will is annoyed and irritated at first, then he realises that he can’t just walk away from Marcus the way he walks away from everything else. All of a sudden, he feels responsible for another human being, and the feeling won’t go away.

His decision to help Marcus out and stand up for him, against both the bullies and his well-meaning but misguided mother, will take both their lives into strange but exciting new places, including, for Will, straight into the arms of the truly drop-gorgeous Rachel Weisz, so in no way should he be complaining…!

Highlights include Fiona finding out that Marcus has been going round Will’s house every day after school (‘You go round his house every day after school?’) and being bought cool new trainers by Will (‘He bought you cool new trainers?’), and totally mistrusting Will’s motives.

There’s also Will and Marcus performing a show-stopping duet together at the school concert, and terrific comic actress Rosalind Knight making a cameo performance as Lindsey’s mum: ‘Shake your ass?/Sheik Yourass? Is he Moroccan?’ and ‘Are you a professional Santa? How lovely!’

In NOTTING HILL, Hugh Grant plays another Will; this time William Thacker who owns a travel bookshop in Notting Hill, London. He has a sort of on-off romance with Julia Roberts, who is basically playing herself.

She’s Anna Scott, a big famous Hollywood movie superstar whose face is literally everywhere, and she meets Old Floppy Hair when she strolls casually into his bookshop one day.

Hugh Grant falls head-over-heels in love with her straightaway, while Anna revels in spending some relaxing down-time with William because she can be herself with him, away from the glare of the cameras.

The cameras can’t do without their fix of Anna Scott for long, however, and so soon enough the paparazzi begin to intrude on her life with William to the point where William gets dumped, and none too ceremoniously, either, because Anna has a big famous obnoxious Hollywood boyfriend (played by Alec Baldwin) and a big famous Hollywood career, away from Notting Hill.

William’s thirty-something dinner party friends, his wacky sister Honey (played by the late Emma Chambers) and his zany housemate Spike (Rhys Ifans) end up having to persuade William that sometimes you have to take a chance on love. Even when the odds are stacked against you…

So, if Anna Scott can just get her priorities straight and see her way to dating, or even marrying, a non-Hollywood-superstar like Will Thacker, then we’ll be all set. Or will we…? The path of true love never did run too smooth, you know…!

Irish comedian Dylan Moran (BLACK BOOKS) has a very funny cameo in this as Rufus the thief, and I love the bit where William goes to visit Anna in her hotel but ends up being mistaken for her interviewer from HORSE AND HOUND magazine.

William: ‘Um, are there many horses in your new picture?’

Anna: ‘Erm, not many, as it’s, erm, set in outer space…!’

Classic stuff. A great laugh, if not as funny as ABOUT A BOY, and well worth your time during this, or any other, lockdown. Happy viewing.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.




‘Well, nobody’s perfect…!’

This black-and-white romantic comedy is generally considered one of the best films of all time, never mind just best comedy film. Its sparkling quickfire dialogue, inspired comic performances and zany plot have ’em rolling in the aisles every time. With laughter, that is, lol, not with anything else.

It stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as, respectively, Joe and Jerry, a couple of down-on-their-luck session musicians living in Chicago in 1929, during the good old days of Prohibition. A tendency to booze, womanise and gamble their every penny away (well, on Joe’s part, at least) sees them permanently skint and looking for work.

The two lads are also blessed with a real gift for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, which is how they come to be unwilling witnesses to a terrible mass shooting based on the real-life Saint Valentine’s Day massacre, in which seven mobsters were lined up against a wall in a dingy garage and brutally mowed down by four unknown gun-wielding assailants. Still unknown to this day, in fact, though of course there are theories.

Anyway, the two lads escape the murderous mobsters, who don’t like to leave no witnesses, by only the skin of their teeth. With the terrifying mob boss ‘Spats’ in pursuit, not to mention his even more frightening henchmen, Joe and Jerry decide they need to scarper, and on the double too.

Desperate for work and possessed of a healthy desire to stay alive and out of the clutches of Spats & Co., they dress up as dames and join Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, an all-girl band headed by overnight train to a Miami hotel for a series of gigs. They’ll be paid, and Spats’ll never find them there. He’s looking for a couple-a dudes, after all, not a pair of broads with gams up to here and pointy booby things…!

Sweet Sue, the ballsy band-leader who’s been around the block a time or two and whose trademark is to screech continually for ‘Bienstock,’ the band manager, when things go awry, thinks there’s something a little ‘off’ about Josephine (Curtis) and Daphne (Lemmon), but I think they both make smashing broads, especially Tony Curtis who has such a lovely feminine face in full make-up.

Both Josephine and Daphne fall immediately in love with Sugar, the singer with the band. Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) is stunningly beautiful, with her bleached blonde hair, red lips, great pins and fantastic boobies, but she’s an emotional mess from years of being jerked around by guys and well on her way to becoming an alcoholic.

Daphne is hilariously pursued by an ageing eccentric billionaire when the ‘girls’ drop anchor in the Miami hotel, while Josephine/Joe disguises himself as a young eccentric billionaire in order to win Sugar’s badly dented heart.

Much the same way as Daphne has to keep reminding himself, I’m a girl, I’m a girl, I’m a girl, I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a comedy film, when I watch poor Sugar falling more and more under the spell of that lying bastard, ‘Shell Oil Junior.’ It’s really despicable to play with Sugar’s heart the way he does, but okay, I get that it’s a film and that, in 1959, this was the kind of thing that passed for a great laugh…!

Joe E. Brown is superb as Osgood Fielding the Third, and his tango scenes with Jack Lemmon are so funny. They make a really good couple! Spats’s henchmen are terrific too. You definitely wouldn’t want to bump into any of them down an alleyway on a dark night, and none of ’em ain’t gonna win no beauty contests no-how, but they’re all great intimidating fun.

Sweet Sue’s gals are all top totty, and the boozy party in Daphne’s bunk on the train remains a major highlight, along with those nude-effect dresses Marilyn Monroe wears in her musical numbers that make her look topless. How did they ever get those dresses past the censors? And what sublime titties, lol. Boop-boop-be-do…!

So, does Spats ever catch up with the two hapless witnesses to his foul crime? Does Sugar end up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop again, or has she really found true love this time with yet another in a long line of no-goodnik saxophone players? (I really doubt it, but whatever. It’s just a film. It’s just a film…!)

Will Osgood Fielding pop a question to a certain someone, and will he and that certain someone live happily ever after on Mumsy’s yacht and on Mumsy’s money? Well, I ain’t psychic, you know. Maybe we should ask someone who might know. All together now: ‘Bienstock…!’


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.


frankie johnny portrait




‘You never choose love. Love chooses you.’

‘We were a couple before we ever met.’

This is a romantic comedy by the guy who’s to blame for PRETTY WOMAN, possibly the most unrealistic screen portrayal of a prostitute ever. Most prostitutes don’t look like Julia Roberts, and most prostitutes don’t get whisked away from their seedy, sordid lives by billionaires who look like Richard Gere.

It’s a pure fairytale, a princess-and-her-knight-on-a-white-charger fantasy, in which the woman gets ‘saved’ from her cruddy life by Some Guy. Some Controlling Asshole, more like. I never liked PRETTY WOMAN, partly because of the mad above-mentioned storyline and partly because I could never stand Richard Gere.

I adore FRANKIE AND JOHNNY, though, despite the fact that it, too, depicts Michelle Pfeiffer’s life as Frankie to be the saddest, loneliest most pointless existence ever. Until Al Pacino as Johnny, her knight-in-shining-armour, comes into it, that is.

Then she’s all fulfilled and happy as a woman, and it’s all thanks to This One Man. Grrrrrr. It’s a good thing that I happen to really like Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino. They were great together in SCARFACE and they have good chemistry here too.

Frankie is a waitress in Nick’s (Hector Elizondo) greasy spoon diner in New York. She wears the little cute pink waitress dress and the little scuffed trainers with the ankle socks, and she ties her limp greasy hair up in an anyhow old ponytail.

She has good friends at her job, even though the other three waitresses working at Nick’s are mostly there to portray for the viewer the Three Stages Of Spinsterhood. Cora is the past-her-prime slutty one with a heart of pure gold who can still pull a bloke for sex, but each subsequent rubbish one-night-stand at her flat, with her pet moggy watching, just takes another great big bite out of her empty soul which can ill afford it.

Nedda, whom I personally love for her don’t-give-a-shit individuality, is the dowdy virginal one who’s probably never had sex and who goes home alone every night to her pet turtle. A bit like twin spinster sisters Patty and Selma from THE SIMPSONS. And yet she’s funny and witty with a great dry sense of humour and a have-a-go attitude. Just look at her up dancing!

Helen, the eldest of all the waitresses who’s worked at Nick’s for donkey’s years, is the real cautionary tale as she dies alone and, we presume, unloved, near the start of the film. Although we can clearly see that each of the three waitresses is a wonderful woman with so much untapped potential, the film is clearly warning us lady viewers to Find A Man Sharpish Or We’ll End Up Like One Of The Waitresses In FRANKIE AND JOHNNY.

Anyway, Frankie has been messed about big-time by guys so, when we meet her, she thinks she’s off men for life. She has her little self-contained flat which has a terrific view of all her neighbours’ places (think Jimmy Stewart in REAR WINDOW), and she has her lovely funny Gay Best Friend Tim and his new boyfriend Bobby for company when she needs them.

She’s just bought a VCR for herself and there’s a pizza place nearby, so she’s totally sorted for her evening’s sustenance and entertainment when work finishes for the day. What the bloody hell does she want with a man? If she needs a lightbulb changing or a fuse mending, she’s got the two gay lads to rush to the rescue.

(Now, she might of course know how to do-it-herself but, having seen her efforts with the new VCR, this is doubtful. The film is heavily implying that, if she had a man in her life, she wouldn’t have to worry her fluffy little head about nasty things like recalcitrant VCRs. Hmmm.)

Frankie’s still immersed in her mind in the bad relationships of the past. She’s reluctant to move on and reluctant to relinquish the pain and suffering of this self- same past. We’ve all been there. Nestling the pain of past break-ups permanently close to our bosoms can excuse us from risking the doubts and uncertainties inherent in getting involved with someone new.

Frankie’s more used to the pain, you see. She carries it around with her everywhere. She wears it like a bloody badge. It’s all nicely and safely within her comfort zone and, in order to get her to leave it, you’d nearly have to prise her out of it with a knife like she was a piece of shellfish not at all keen to leave the safety and security of the shell. She might as well have FRAGILE: I HAVE BEEN HURT BY MEN BEFORE tattooed across her forehead for all to see.

And then along comes Johnny, ex-jailbird (don’t worry, it was only for petty fraud, nothing more serious!) and Nick’s new quirky short-order cook at the diner, to confound and confuse all Frankie’s sensibilities and all her nice neat notions of what love is meant to be like.

Johnny is open about his feelings for Frankie. Despite her best efforts, she’s attracted to him too and they start seeing each other. But Johnny very much believes in living in the here-and-now and judging people on their merits as he sees them, whereas Frankie is still dwelling in the painful territories of her disastrous romantic past and she now tars all men with the same brush.

You’re a man? Oh, right, well, you’re obviously a cruel abusive bastard like the other men I’ve known and I want nothing whatsoever to do with you. Johnny, however, takes great exception to being tarred with this rather grubby brush and tries to show Frankie that not all men are shits. He’s got an uphill job ahead of him, though.

Johnny’s trouble is that he won’t stay in his little box, in the neat little compartment in Frankie’s life marked ‘Men.’ Like when he shows up at her bowling night and she’s completely flummoxed because it’s her bowling night, not his. How dare he show up unscheduled, making himself popular with Tim and her gal-pals?

FRANKIE AND JOHNNY is another fairytale, another fantasy romance in which the woman is saved by a man, and not even a billionaire this time but a short-order cook and ex-con. The message being, I suppose, that if you’re a woman flirting with middle-age whose biological clock, let’s face it, is probably going like the clappers, then any man at all will do to arrest the rot, as it were. I hate that idea, but I really do love this film. Why?

Oh, it’s just everything, you know? It’s the chemistry between the two incredibly attractive leads, it’s the New York setting in which anything wonderful, however unlikely, might happen. It’s the beautiful and delicate signature tune by Claude Debussy.

It’s the soul and the indefatigable spirit of The Waitresses (Christmas Wrapping, anyone?), and it’s the hope that exists within each and every one of us that, no matter how shit things get, there’ll always be that one perfect person out there for us. So you didn’t know that I was a hopeless romantic, huh? Well, whaddya know? Ya learn something new every day…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

You can contact Sandra at:


phila wedding



Billed as ‘a sophisticated romantic comedy,’ THE PHILADELPHIA STORY is just that, a romantic comedy about- and possibly even for- rich, connected people. No peasants may apply, lol.

Not everyone watching it will be able to relate to Tracy Samantha Lord’s elegant swimming pool-and-tea-in-the-conservatory lifestyle, and I suppose not everyone watching it will sympathise with her haughty, aristocratic fault-finding manner which presupposes that no-one, husband or lover, will be able to live up to the almost excruciatingly high standards she’s set for herself. And, most importantly, for other people as well. On the other hand, she’s played by Katharine Hepburn and it’s a good strong performance, so I say just relax and go with the flow…

Beloved American actor James Stewart plays Macaulay Connor (I nearly wrote Culkin there!), a promising young newspaper writer who fancies himself as the next Ernest Hemingway, with his short-story-writing and his big literary dreams.

He’s disgusted, therefore, when his Editor Sidney Kidd, played by Henry Daniell- here for once in a non-villainous role- orders him to Philadelphia to cover the society wedding of the year, that of wealthy socialite Tracy Lord to a chap called George Kittredge.

What am I, some kind of shitty gossip columnist, he wails to his Editor but it’s no dice. Off to Philadelphia he must obediently trot, if he wants to keep his job, that is. As the accompanying photographer Elizabeth Imbrie points out, they’ve all got to eat, haven’t they, and for that they need jobs. I daresay that even the great Ernest Hemingway himself had to boil the odd egg and butter the odd slice of toast to go with it in order to stave off the hunger pangs.

When Macaulay, known to his friends as Mike, and Liz get to the Lord estate, they’re a bit bedazzled by all the grandeur. Liz (who, by the way, is head-over-heels in love with Mike but he’s too thick to know it) rather politically incorrectly remarks that she half expects to see ‘picaninnies’ floating around the place.

No doubt what she means by this is that the Lord house, with its ‘south parlour,’ resembles nothing so much as a modern-day Tara-from-GONE WITH THE WIND-style plantation.

The gangly reporter Mike, sorry, serious writer Mike, who’s already actually published a book of his short stories, is a little out of his depth amidst such obvious wealth and position. Liz is none too comfortable either, although she implies she’d swap places with Tracy Lord in a heartbeat.

Tracy herself is polished, sophisticated and able to greet the two newshounds with a professional ease that contains no real warmth. It’s born of years of practice and means little in terms of sincerity.

Mind you, she resents deeply that it was her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant), who managed to insinuate the pair of journos from SPY magazine into the Lord house in the first place. Now they’re staying in her home to cover her wedding- a little blackmail goes a long way- and there’s nothing she can do about it.

Tracy and Dexter split up two years earlier when Tracy could no longer tolerate his drinking and he was no longer willing to put up with her Little Miss Perfect holier-than-thou attitude.

He blames her for his drinking, saying that the worse she behaved to him the more he drank. Talk about seeking to blame others for your own failings. If he’d gone to AA at all, they might have taught him to ‘own’ his own drinking and take responsibility for it, the creep.

Tracy and Dexter fought like cat and dog and they eventually broke up. Tracy’s annoying younger sister Dinah gleefully recounts how Dexter ‘socked’ her sister in the kisser before he left- and she even expresses a hope that he might do it again some day- but don’t worry folks. He didn’t actually hit her, he merely shoved her so that she fell over. Well, that’s all right then.

There’s still a major spark between the pair though. Dexter- and indeed Macaulay- are both wondering what the hell the spirited Tracy is doing getting married to the undoubtedly worthy but undoubtedly stodgy and rather dull George Kittredge.

He’s not of Tracy’s ‘class,’ you see, and he doesn’t know how to ride properly or even to wear jodphurs properly like a proper rich person. Oh dear, how shocking. Tracy needs someone she can spar with, not this dull older man who’ll probably be in bed by nine-thirty with a cup of cocoa and a lurid paperback thriller, the closest he’ll probably come to experiencing any real thrills himself. Miaow…!

Tracy is intrigued by Mike, who’s becoming more smitten with Tracy by the hour, much to poor Liz’s distress. Tracy checks out Mike’s book from the local library and falls in love with his words. What’s someone who can write like that doing covering a society wedding for SPY magazine, she demands to know. It’s clear she’s never had to work for her own living.

There’s a lot of talk amongst the men in the film, including Tracy’s own father, of Tracy’s being like a cold, untouchable statue of a goddess who doesn’t have any real human feelings and is utterly devoid of the milk of human kindness.

They imply she’s not a real human being at all, just a perfect automaton without any faults or human frailties. She’s accused of having no understanding of, or patience with, these human frailties and human imperfections that other people have but she apparently doesn’t.

Tracy is hurt by these assertions, especially coming from her father who is a randy philanderer who has hurt Tracy’s mother immeasurably with his dalliance with a dancer. Tracy, seemingly, has forced her mother to live up to her own exacting standards by kicking the Dad out, which he certainly deserves but it makes Mrs. Lord desperately unhappy.

Maybe Tracy’s standards are okay for Tracy herself, but not for everyone. Maybe she shouldn’t try to impose them on other people? Is that the lesson she’s supposed to learn in this highly popular and successful ‘comedy of re-marriage…?’

So, who does ‘Red’ wed, in the end? The rather judgemental George Kittredge, who at the end of the film pronounces that Tracy’s ‘class’ are on the way out and good riddance to every man Jack of ’em?

The starstruck Macaulay Connor, who’s too stupid to know that he has a good woman in love with him already in the form of photographer Elizabeth Imbrie, who’s obviously had to fend for herself in a way that the uber-privileged Tracy never has?

Or will it be the dashing C.K. Dexter Haven, the gadabout yacht designer who was Tracy’s first real love and the man she drove away with her criticisms and her overbearing attitude that holds that she’s right and everyone else is wrong…?

Personally I feel like Tracy, who must be worn out from uttering all that sparkling dialogue in Katharine Hepburn’s trademark haughty voice, could benefit from some time alone to work out how she really feels about each man, but what do I know? I’m just some schmuck.

The stage is set, as it were. The wedding guests are already seated, the pastor is ready with his ‘Do you, Tracy Samantha Lord, take this man to be thy awfully wedded etc.,’ and the pianist has already struck up the first few familiar bars of the Wedding March.

Tracy has clearly got to marry someone, in order to give the guests the show they’ve come for. Which man will it be? Will it be one of our Big Three, or is there even a fourth suitor possibly waiting in the wings? (There isn’t. That’s just some red herring I threw in to stir things up.) Well, watch out anyway, folks. Here Comes The Bride…


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

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