Cinematic Horoscopes: Capricorn Season
By: Daisy Stackpole
We feature twelve films each month that relate to the twelve zodiac signs, accompanied by lighthearted astrological advice.
Capricorn (December 21 - January 20): Norma Rae (1973) directed by Martin Ritt
Happy Cappy Season! Capricorn, we know you are the workaholics of the zodiac. What you do defines much of who you are and your determination knows no bounds. However, you are always cautious and calculated in your decisions regarding everything from career to relationships. Of all the Earth signs, the skeptics of the zodiac, you are the most practical and pessimistic, Capricorn. So, this month, I challenge you to watch a film that celebrates work and life as much as you do, but will hopefully inspire you to break out of your comfort zone and push yourself to your full potential. The film I have chosen for you is the classic labor film starring the gritty Sally Field (in the performance that gave the world the iconic “You really like me” Oscar speech), Norma Rae. In the titular role, Field plays a single mother working in a textile factory that has employed her lower-class family for generations. After hearing an energizing speech on labor unions from a local organizer and reflecting on the numerous health ramifications the factory has had on her family’s health, Norma Rae is moved to attempt to unionize her factory. This, of course, is met with challenges from her family, her supervisors, other employees, and other law enforcement. However, Norma Rae continues to fight for what she knows are fair working conditions, regardless of the cost on her reputation or career. Capricorn, I urge you to watch this film and allow it to inspire you to make a bold move of your own. Think of one decision you’ve been going back-and-forth on, and STOP ANALYZING. Go with your gut. Ask that person you’ve been crushing on out on a date, apply for that position that you feel unqualified for, tell your roommate they have to take the trash out sometimes, too. It’s all in you, Capricorn, you just need to harness your power and show the world who you really are.
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18): The Favourite (2018) directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Aquarius, no one is as intrigued by mind games and confuses sex with power as much as you. I say this lovingly, of course. This month, I urge you to run to your local independent theatre to see the latest demented brain child from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), The Favourite. Fueled by ingenious cinematography that relies heavily on wide shots and fisheye lenses, impeccable production and costume design, and powerhouse, career performances from Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, The Favourite is a strong contender for top film of 2018. The film is set in early 18th Century England, under the reign of an ill and temperamental Queen Anne (Colman), while her lifelong friend and secret lover, Lady Marlborough (Weisz), really pulls the strings. England is at war with France over vague reasons that the film never really goes into, and for good reason; it is fairly immediately apparent that the only power anyone is after is self-serving. This is most obviously demonstrated in the arrival of Abigail (Stone), a charming and cunning young woman born into nobility, but whose silver spoon has rusted. Abigail quickly climbs the ranks inside the palace walls using whatever Machiavellian means necessary. The film is not only darkly hilarious, but it shows the ways in which we often use one another for personal gain under the guise of lust and love. Aquarius, I choose this film for you as you can be guilty of this at times, and as you will see, no one ends up with true happiness when you’re only concerned with influence.
Pisces (February 18 - March 20): Madeline’s Madeline (2018) directed by Josephine Decker
Pisces, you are arguably the most naturally creative and emotionally sensitive sign of all the signs. You easily pick up on others’ energies and can sometimes use these energies to inspire and fuel your creative endeavors. One thing to be careful of, however, is making sure you never exploit someone’s emotional vulnerability for your own creative gain. A recent and wonderful cautionary tale about creative exploitation is Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline. The film stars newcomer Helena Howard as Madeline, a troubled teen who finds solace in an experimental theatre troupe led by director Evangeline (Molly Parker). Evangeline sees Madeline as an untapped raw talent whose darkness can be used to give a phenomenal performance, on the other hand, Madeline’s mother, Regina (Miranda July), sees Madeline only as a lost teen with no potential. Madeline is torn between her natural love for her mother and the newfound adoration and respect of her mentor, Evangeline. As the film goes on, the lines become increasingly blurry between reality and theatre, emotion and performance; coming to a head when the other troupe members feel that Evangeline has gone too far in exploiting Madeline’s life and pain. Pisces, as you watch this film, you will no doubt feel great empathy, but I also encourage you to ask yourself if you ever conflate your empathy for exploitation.
Aries (March 20 - April 20): RBG (2018) directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen
Aries, this month’s suggestion would be truly perfect if Ruth Bader Ginsberg was herself an Aries, but alas she is a Pisces who possesses many Aries qualities. Perhaps she is an Aries Rising or has Mars in Aries, who knows. Regardless, sometimes I am a little hard on Aries and your tendency to be extreme risk-takers and trailblazers, so this month, I wanted to give you an exemplary trailblazer who has literally changed history. This excellent documentary, RBG, profiling none other than Supreme Court Justice, the Notorious RBG, was created by Betsy West and Julie Cohens, documentarians who also have backgrounds in law, and have previously worked with Justice Ginsberg, but decided to finally make the plunge and dedicate a feature-length doc to her. As you will find in the film, Justice Ginsberg had to literally carve a path for herself and her enviable career, as women simply were not high-power lawyers or judges at the time. Throughout her career, Justice Ginsberg has been known as a dissenter, one who speaks on behalf of issues she feels passionate about, even if it means others will dislike her or disagree with her. Aries, as you watch this beautiful documentary about a truly extraordinary woman, notice how gracefully and mindfully Justice Ginsberg dissents and lives her life. See that it is possible to be a total badass and have the respect of an entire nation. Sometimes you have to get inside the system to dismantle it.
Taurus (April 20 - May 21): My Happy Family (2017) directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß
Taurus, like your fellow Earth signs, you are always scared to ruffle feathers. You are largely traditional and follow in the footsteps of what is expected of you; career, marriage, children, home, etc. The same is true for the lead in the stunning Georgian drama, My Happy Family, Manana (Ia Shughliashvili), a fifty-year-old wife and mother who decides to suddenly abandon her family in search for her own happiness. While at first her reasons for leaving are unclear, it is later revealed that she was simply fed-up with playing into the role she was expected to play. She was sick and tired of doting on her family and being seen as a mother, not a woman with autonomy. So, she works as a school teacher on the outskirts of town and rents an apartment and supports herself with her humble teacher’s salary. Later, Manana realizes that perhaps she made the right choice, as dark secrets are revealed about her seemingly perfect family. Taurus, as you watch this stunning film, ask yourself if you are living the life you want, or the life you have been told you should want.
Gemini (May 21 - June 21): Attenberg (2010) directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari
Gemini, your philosophical mind will be stimulated by the strange Greek film, Attenberg, starring Ariane Labed as Marina and Evangelia Randou as Bella, friends who exist almost as one soul in two bodies, the opposite of the Gemini stereotype of two souls in one body. Personally, I find the film to be a heavy homage to the iconic Czech film Daisies, directed by Věra Chytilová, which I’m not mad about. The girls live in an incredibly boring industrial Greek seaside town, and feel no connection to any humans except one another. Marina is a virgin, but is interested by sex, and so she receives sexual education lessons from the more experienced Bella. Apart from Bella, Marina’s only companion is her sick father, Spyros (Vangelis Mourikis), to whom she tells everything, including her first sexual encounter with a new engineer at her job, who remains nameless (played by Yorgos Lanthimos). The film leaves the average viewer feeling somewhat unsatisfied and empty, contemplating our purpose in life, but for Gemini, I think you will appreciate the isolation and strange worldview the film presents, as Geminis see the world in a way unique to them, and appreciate dark, witty humor. No homework for you this month, Gemini, just remember to keep your curiosity alive.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22): Dumplin’ (2018) directed by Anne Fletcher
Do you ever have those days where you just need a good cry? Of course you do, you’re a Cancer. When that particular mood strikes you this month, my sweet Cancers, hunker down with a cozy blanket, some tea or wine, and your favorite comfort food to watch Anne Fletcher’s new release Dumplin’. Based on the novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, the story centers on Texas teenager Willowdean (a fabulous performance by Danielle Macdonald), who is called “Will” by friends, peers, and coworkers, and “Dumplin’” by her pageant queen mother, Rosie (Jennifer Anniston). There is much tension between Will and her mother, as Will was largely raised by her Aunt Lucy (Hilliary Begley), a fellow fat woman who introduced Willowdean to celebrating life, a love of Dolly Parton, and to her best friend, Ellen (Odeya Rush). When Aunt Lucy passes away suddenly, Will is forced to interact with her narcissistic, critical, absent mother without the support of her kindred spirit. As Rosie prepares for a new pageant season, Will learns that her Aunt Lucy once wanted to enter the competition, but didn’t because of her weight. Will decides to compete in the pageant for the sake of Lucy’s legacy, but unintentionally instigates a larger rebellion against the pageant, encouraging other misfits to apply. Through the help of Dolly Parton and drag queens, Will overcomes obstacles while inspiring others. Cancer, you will love this movie for the pure unabashed sappiness of it, but also for its depiction of family and love.
Leo (July 22 - August 23): Susanne Bartsch: On Top (2017) directed by Anthony Coronna and Alexander Smith
Leo, this month I want you to find inspiration in a woman who I believe exemplifies all the best qualities of Leos, Susanne Bartsch. You might not have heard of her before, but you’ve surely heard of RuPaul, Amanda Lepore, Sateen Music, and Aquaria, all queer icons whose careers Bartsch was instrumental in launching. In this new documentary, Susanne Bartsch: On Top, by team Anthony and Alex, we get an insider’s glimpse into the magical world of the legendary Swiss entertainer and partier. We follow her career from moving to punk London at age 20, to opening painfully hip boutiques in NYC and Tokyo, to throwing outlandish parties at the Copacabana, to throwing “The Love Ball”, a benefit ball that raised $2.5 million to fight AIDS after Bartsch saw so many of her community succumb to the disease. We also see Bartsch as a wife and mother, and how she was able to balance her love of the nightlife and picking her son up from school. Leo, I think Susanne Bartsch is an excellent icon for you to emulate, because while she is no doubt a diva that loves the flash of a camera and a compliment, she is also fiercely loyal and protective of the ones she loves, and her success equals theirs. As you watch this film, take notes, and see what tips you can apply to your own life.
Virgo (August 23 - September 23): Shirkers (2018) directed by Sandi Tan
Virgo, this month I selected the new Netflix documentary, Shirkers, for you for two reasons. 1) Virgos are known to appear shy but possess deep, rich inner worlds, not unlike Sandi Tan, the director of the doc and the film within the doc. 2) Virgos crave control over everything they do, especially creative projects, and in this film, Tan tragically loses control of her masterpiece, her film that was years in the making. Virgo, I think you will relate to the quiet, yet powerful creativity that emanates from Tan and the footage we see of her lost film. A lesson to be learned from this film is to be careful who you let in, and to listen to your voice of reason. Of all the Earth Signs, Virgo is the most open-hearted and empathetic, so allow this film to be a reminder to protect your heart always. This film is more fun when left a mystery, so I will say no more, but please enjoy, dear Virgos.
Libra (September 23 - October 23): The Innocents (2010) directed by Anne Fontaine
Libra, I’m not going to lie, Anne Fontaine’s The Innocents is not an easy watch, but it is a stunning film telling a heartbreaking story through sparse visuals and dialogue. There are also many lessons to be learned here, Libra. A nun, Sister Maria (Agata Buzek) in 1945 Warsaw, Poland, breaks her convent’s rules by approaching a young French woman stationed in Poland to medically aid soldiers at the Red Cross, Mathilde (Lou de Laâge), to ask for her help as many of the nuns at the convent are falling ill. Mathilde refers Sister Maria to the Red Cross, but the nun refuses this suggestion. One day, Mathilde decides to visit the convent, and finds that one of the nuns has died and is eventually informed by the Mother Superior (Agata Kulesza) that several of the nuns were raped by Russian soldiers, and are now pregnant. Having been assaulted herself, Mathilde vows that she will do what she can to help these women through their trauma and their pregnancies, despite it putting her in danger with her job at the Red Cross. Mathilde is determined to birth healthy babies and help the nuns return to their chosen lives of faith and chastity, but some of the nuns have other plans, and as the plot thickens, the lines of right and wrong are blurred to blindness. Libra, I won’t divulge anymore of the plot, but I believe this film will resonate with you, as you are always concerned with what is just and unjust, and sometimes struggle to say or do something, though your heart is in the right place. I believe the haunting spirit of this film will inspire you to act on your impulses to help, instead of staying quiet out of fear of shaking things up or causing harm.
Scorpio (October 23 - November 22): Everyone Else (2009) directed by Maren Ade
Scorpio, above all else in else, you crave intimacy in all its forms: emotional, physical, spiritual. You won’t rest until you know people on the deepest level possible, and you pride yourself on having incredibly intimate romantic relationships. However, intimacy and relationships are not a competition, and this month I’ve chosen a film to remind my Scorp squad of that, Maren Ade’s Everyone Else. You may know Ade from her highly lauded 2016 film Toni Erdmann, but I would not sleep on this delicate, quiet rumination on insecurities and relationships. The film follows young German couple, Gitti (Birgit Minichmayr) and Chris (Lars Eidinger) as they vacation on Sardinia. Gitti is gregarious and desires to make new friends while on vacation, while Chris wants to stay at the villa and relax, spending time alone together. Eventually, Gitti encounters the couple’s neighbors, Hans (Hans-Jochen Wagner) and Sana (Nicole Marischka), who appear to be more in synch and content with one another than in her own relationship with Chris. This sparks outbursts and quarrels for the couple, and they begin to wonder if their relationship is built to last, through comparing it to another relationship and feeding into their own self-doubt. Scorpio, I encourage you to watch this film and consider your own relationships as you do so. Remember that not everyone is as intense as you, or displays emotions in the same way, and that comparison is the thief of joy.
Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21): Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014) directed by David Zellner
Sagittarius, we’ve survived another one of your seasons! Now it’s time to reflect on what went right and what went wrong. As we approach a new year, it’s a great time to think of ways we are harming or helping ourselves, and my pick for you this month gives you just such an opportunity. David Zellner’s Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter centers on Kumiko (an incredible performance from Rinko Kikuchi), a secretary living in complete solitude in Tokyo. Kumiko is tormented by a job she hates, superficial peers she cannot relate to, and overbearing parents who only dream of Kumiko getting married. The only pleasures in Kumiko’s lonely life come from her pet rabbit, and treasure hunting, where on one such expedition she uncovers an unlabeled VHS copy of Fargo. When Kumiko sees the fictional fortune being buried in the snow, she is moved to travel to America and attempt to find the buried money. From here, Kumiko experiences a series of victories and failures, but mostly finds disappointments coming from her obsessions with her own delusions, instead of actively working towards personal growth and happiness. Sag, sometimes you too have a tendency to buy into delusions and grand schemes instead of intentionally working towards your goals, so let this film be a warning to you. As you watch it, think about how Kumiko could have approached her life differently, and how you might make adjustments to your own life.