"A Heart That Works," by Rob Delaney, is, I think, a remarkable piece of writing.
The book, by a writer and comedian perhaps best known for "Catastrophe," is a memoir about Delaney's son, Henry, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age one and - spoiler alert - passed way just before his third birthday. "A Heart That Works" chronicles the two years experienced by Delaney's family in sad and funny detail.
If that sounds odd, or even counter-intuitive, I can assure you that it is not. If "A Heart That Works" is suffused with anything, it is deep love. While heartbroken by the hand his family has been dealt, and certainly experiencing moments of rage, Delaney is able to look at Henry with enormous love, and appreciate the impact the child is having on family and friends, caregivers and co-workers. This fills his heart rather than depletes it, and Delaney manages to walk a fine narrative line, finding the humor when appropriate, the anger when unavoidable, and the lessons when they come.
I thought that "A Heart That Works" was simply extraordinary. I heartily recommend it to you.
She Said is one my favorite kinds of movies - a kind of detective story in which the heroes are journalists. (Wish fulfillment. What can I tell you.)
The movie is in the great tradition of Spotlight and All The President's Men, detailing the long, hard work of two real-life New York Times reporters - Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey - as they sought out the truth about Harvey Weinstein, the powerful Hollywood producer who also was a serial rapist, abuser and harasser.
She Said is a quiet thriller, focusing largely on the dogged legwork that the reporters have to do in order to persuade sources and victims to go on the record and expose Weinstein's misdeeds. Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan are terrific as Kantor and Twohey, finding the soul of their characters and offering little bits of illumination while never forgetting that the story - and the movie - are about the victims. There are terrific supporting performances by the likes of Samantha Morton, Patricia Clarkson and Andre Braugher, and I have to say that the film is rigorous in its honesty about how journalism is done.
And, even more importantly, it exposes a culture that allows, enables and even forgives the acts of a monster like Weinstein because he is powerful. We see this time and again in real life - not just in the movie industry - and She Said gives us a peek behind a particularly sordid curtain. A strong-minded piece of filmmaking, and I encourage you to see it.
I mentioned in my FaceTime this morning that I had dinner with my friend Morgan, who never has steered me wrong when it comes to wine. Even though he was sitting next to me instead of behind the bar, Morgan has done it again with the recommendation of the 2021 Cigar Box Malbec from Argentina - a terrifically smooth wine that goes with most things, and that I found particularly enjoyable with meat loaf and mashed potatoes. (Comfort food all around.)
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.