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Weekend Movie Picks: Scandalous Dickens vs. Conflicted Iranian Family

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Staying inside is pretty advisable, given this weekend's predicted frigid weather. But maybe a film set in Europe will help warm you up.

Dave Luhrssen, the arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, highlighted two movies with a common theme: family struggle.

"The Invisible Woman"

Charles Dickens fans might have great expectations for the new semi-biographical movie about the 19th century English writer now reaching movie screens. But the film's subject matter may surprise those who don’t know much about Dickens’ life. 

"The Invisible Woman" tells the story of Dickens relationship with his mistress, which contrasts with the celebrated writer's image as a family man. Directed by and starring Ralph Fiennes, the movie reveals how much of a “rock star of his time” Dickens was, Luhrssen says. To have such a young mistress would have been scandalous at the time, so Dickens essentially turned her into "The Invisible Woman.”

"The Past"

"The Past" is an Iranian movie set in France which focuses on the dark personal lives of the working class. An Iranian man living in France deserts his family to return home, showing the challenges of trans-national border crossings.

Dave Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express weekly newspaper and author of its “I Hate Hollywood” blog. 

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David Luhrssen is arts and entertainment editor of the Shepherd Express, co-founder of the Milwaukee International Film Festival and co-author of A Time of Paradox: America Since 1890. He is the winner of the Pace Setter Award for contributions to Milwaukee's film community from the Milwaukee Independent Film Society. David Luhrssen has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design and Milwaukee Area Technical College.