Idiom: Take with a Grain of Salt

e.g. Sally tends to exaggerate. Take what she says with a grain of salt.

Meaning: to not believe completely; to be doubtful.

Origin: Some word experts think this expression first appeared in Latin by a Roman scholar in the 1st century B.C. The report was of the discovery of an antidote to poison: take it with a grain of salt (cum grano salis). Perhaps the saying refers to food that is not so tasty (like a story that is not so believable) being swallowed more easily with a little salt. Another possibility is that a single grain of salt is not worth much, just like a story you do not think is completely true.

from the Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms

About Schmidt (2002)

Story

Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) is not happy with his new status in life, as a retired widower. He sets out for a road trip to attend his daughter’s -Jeannie (Hope Davis)- wedding to Randall (Dermot Mulroney), which helps him rediscover himself.

Ο Γουόρεν Σμιντ (Jack Nicholson) δεν είναι ευτυχισμένος με τις νέες συνθήκες στη ζωή του, ως συνταξιούχος χήρος. Το ταξίδι για τον γάμο της κόρης του Τζίνι (Hope Davis) με τον Ράνταλ (Dermot Mulroney), τον βοηθάει να ξαναβρεί τον εαυτό του.

New Line Cinema

Jack Nicholson © 2002 New Line Cinema

Review

A movie about the meaning of life is not an easy topic and could become heavy, but it keeps a balance with some comic relief. In a character film, casting the right actors is important and Jack Nicholson in the title role was brilliant. He rightfully got an Oscar nomination as did Kathy Bates (Randall’s mother).

Μία ταινία για το νόημα της ζωής δεν είναι εύκολη υπόθεση, αλλά εξισορροπεί με δόσεις χιούμορ. Σε ένα φιλμ χαρακτήρων, η διανομή είναι σημαντική και ο Τζακ Νίκολσον στον ρόλο του τίτλου ήταν τέλειος. Δίκαια κέρδισε υποψηφιότητα για Όσκαρ όπως και η Κάθυ Μπέιτς υποδυόμενη την μητέρα του γαμπρού.

Favorite Quote

I know we’re all pretty small in the big scheme of things, and I suppose the most you can hope for is to make some kind of difference, but what kind of difference have I made? What in the world is better because of me?

– Warren Schmidt

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Kathy Bates, Dermot Mulroney

Written by: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor

Directed by: Alexander Payne

Idiom: Spitting Image

e.g. You must be David’s father. He’s the spitting image of you.

Meaning: a perfect resemblance; an exact likeness.

Origin: Originally this saying was “spit and image”. (“Spit” was an old word that meant likeness, but the original word might have been “spirit”, shortened into “spit”). As the years went by, “spit and” was pronounced “spittin” and later became “spitting”. The word seemed to fit because people said that a boy who looked a lot like his father could have been spit out of his father’s mouth. Today, any relative can be the “spitting image” of any other relative. A related expression is chip off the old block.

from the Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms

Les Enfants du Siécle/The Children of the Century (1999)

Story

George Sand (Juliette Binoche), a novelist, meets poet Alfred de Musset (Benoit Magimel) and they fall passionately in love. She is a mother of two, separated from her husband and he is six years younger, but together they created some of their finest works.

Η Γεωργία Σάνδη (Ζιλιέτ Μπινός), μυθιστοριογράφος, συναντά τον ποιητή Αλφρέ ντε Μυσσέ (Μπενουά Μαζιμέλ) και ερωτεύονται παράφορα. Εκείνη μητέρα δύο παιδιών, σε διάσταση από τον σύζυγό της και εκείνος έξι χρόνια νεότερος, αλλά μαζί δημιούργησαν τα καλύτερα έργα τους.

Alfred de Musset (Benoit Magimel) and George Sand (Juliette Binoche)

Benoit Magimel and Juliette Binoche © 1999 Alexandre Films and Canal+

Review

It is one of those movies that although the story is good –after all, it is based on the true tale of the tumultuous love affair between two French literary icons-  the direction does not do justice. Plus, there’s no chemistry between the leading actors.

Είναι από εκείνες τις ταινίες που ενώ το σενάριο είναι καλό – εξάλλου πρόκειται για την αληθινή ιστορία του θυελλώδους έρωτα δύο προσωπικοτήτων της γαλλικής λογοτεχνίας – η σκηνοθεσία την αδικεί. Επίσης, το ζευγάρι των πρωταγωνιστών δεν έχει χημεία.

Starring: Juliette Binoche, Benoit Magimel

Written by: Murray Head, Diane Kurys, François-Olivier Rousseau (based on his novel)

Directed by: Diane Kurys

Idiom: Spill the Beans

e.g. Don’t spill the beans, but Adrienne is getting the art award.

Meaning: to give away a secret to someone who is not supposed to know it.

Origin: A popular theory about the origin of this idiom goes back to the ancient Greeks and their secret societies. People voted you into these clubs by putting a white bean or a black bean into a jar (white = yes; black = no). The beans were supposed to be counted in secret, but if somebody accidentally (or purposefully) knocked over the jar and spilled the beans, the secret vote would be revealed.

Another theory holds that this is an example of American slang from the early 1900s that combined two old words, “spill” (meaning talk, from the 1500s) and “beans” (meaning information, from the 1200s), into a new phrase. A related expression is let the cat out of the bag.

From the Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms

Billy Elliot/Μπίλι Έλιοτ: Γεννημένος Χορευτής (2000)

Story

Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), an 11-year-old son of a miner, is a natural for ballet dance according to his teacher Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters). Although Billy wants to be a professional dancer, he is divided between his family and dance.

Ο Μπίλι Έλιοτ (Τζέιμι Μπελ), ο 11χρονος γιος ενός ανθρακωρύχου, έχει ταλέντο στο μπαλέτο σύμφωνα με την δασκάλα του Μις Γουίλκινσον (Τζούλι Γουόλτερς). Παρόλο που θέλει να γίνει επαγγελματίας χορευτής, είναι διχασμένος ανάμεσα στην οικογένειά του και τον χορό.

Universal Studios

Jamie Bell © 2000 StudioCanal and Working Title Films and BBC Films

Review

I loved the movie; it is funny and touching (the intense father-son scenes, the letter Billy’s mother has left him before she died). The movie may not be political, but the situation of the time (prolonged miners’ strike in 1984) infuses everything in the movie; even Billy’s dancing.

Λάτρεψα την ταινία: είναι αστεία και συγκινητική (οι σκηνές πατέρα-γιου, το γράμμα από την μητέρα του που έχει φύγει από την ζωή). Η ταινία δεν είναι πολιτική, αλλά το κλίμα της εποχής (παρατεταμένη απεργία μεταλλωρύχων το 1984) διατρέχει όλη την ταινία. Ακόμη και τον χορό του Μπίλι.

Starring: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Gary Lewis

Written by: Lee Hall

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Idiom: Salt of the Earth

e.g. Sonia is considered the salt of the earth. She volunteers for any job.

Meaning: a person or group considered to be the finest, most admirable, and noble.

Origin: For thousands of years, salt has been one of the most valuable, useful, and desired things. At one time, Roman soldiers were paid part of their salaries in salt (also see worth your salt). The expression salt of the earth is even found in the Bible (Jesus Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:13). It is a metaphor that describes the finest people on earth as being as significant as the extremely important commodity of salt.

from the Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms

Cronaca di un Amore/Story of a Love Affair (1950)

Story

Enrico Fontana (Ferdinando Sarmi) hires a private-eye to investigate his wife’s Paola (Lucia Bosé) romantic past. The detective sets in motion Paola’s reunion with her old flame Guido (Massimo Girotti) but their relationship is doomed.

Ο Ενρίκο Φοντάνα (Ferdinando Sarmi) προσλαμβάνει έναν ιδιωτικό ντετέκτιβ να εξερευνήσει το ερωτικό παρελθόν της γυναίκας του Πάολα (Lucia Bosé). Άθελά του ξαναφέρνει τον Γκίντο (Massimo Girotti) στην ζωή της Πάολα αλλά η σχέση τους είναι καταδικασμένη.

Massimo Girotti and Lucia Bosé

Massimo Girotti and Lucia Bosé © 1950 Villani Film

Review

Michelangelo’s Antonioni first feature film narrates a love story. The plot’s twist here is that the film starts from the lovers’ reunion after seven years they have been apart! The film can also help understand Italy’s social stratification right after World War II.

H πρώτη μεγάλου μήκους ταινία του Μικελάντζελο Αντονιόνι αφηγείται μία ερωτική ιστορία. Το ενδιαφέρον της πλοκής είναι πως ξεκινάει από την επανασύνδεση των εραστών μετά από επτά χρόνια χωρισμού! Επίσης, το ζευγάρι αποτελεί και σχόλιο για τις κοινωνικές τάξεις στην Ιταλία αμέσως μετά τον Β’ Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο.

Starring: Lucia Bosé, Massimo Girotti, Ferdinando Sarmi

Written by:  Michelangelo Antonioni, Daniele D’Anza, Silvio Giovaninetti, Francesco Maselli, Piero Tellini

Directed by:  Michelangelo Antonioni