It’s easy to focus on the big things of the year. Top 10s, best actors, blockbuster box-offices – these are the things that dominate the headlines. But what of the little things? We’ve gathered together a couple of Exeposé Screen writers to talk about their favourite smaller moments of the year.
Margo Hanson in The Magicians – by Sophie Norton
Syfy’s The Magicians was hardly short on strong female characters in season three: there was Julia, a sexual assault survivor who went on to become a goddess; the Fairy Queen, who went from antagonist to anti-hero, sacrificing her life to protect her people; Harriet, the deaf leader of the resistance against the authoritarian Library; as well as Fen, Kady, Alice, and Marina. But the character arc that really stood out for me this year was that of Margo Hanson.
Played by Summer Bishil, Margo has always been smart, ambitious, practical and loyal, with a to-die-for wardrobe and killer one-liners, but on season three of the fantasy show she really came into her own. The series opened with Eliot and Margo, as High King and Queen of Fillory, struggling under fairy occupation. Over the course of the series, Margo was put through the wringer by the Fairy Queen, but she held her own, developing into a true leader along the way, and eventually forming a respectful alliance with her former enemy.
“a rare instance of a bisexual woman of colour in a position of power on screen”
Margo finally got her reward in the penultimate episode of the season, when she was crowned High King of Fillory, despite not even being on the voting ballot (as a woman she was prevented from running). Winning as a write-in by the talking animals, who supported her as she was the only human to listen to them on Eliot’s campaign trail, she triumphed against the Fillorian patriarchy that had consistently held her back. It was especially notable as a rare instance of a bisexual woman of colour in a position of power on screen. Margo’s progression from side-lined queen to High King was one of the most inspirational and empowering arcs I’ve seen this year, and I can’t wait to see where she’ll go next season. Long may she reign.
The Ending of Bodied – by Phil Hadley
It has been a tremendous year to be an Eminem fan. Kamikaze was a welcome return to form and his beef with Machine Gun Kelly made the rapper feel more relevant – and dominant – than he has in years. The icing on the cake was Bodied – a superb rap-battle dramedy produced by Em – and the cherry on top of that icing was the film’s ending.
Following his triumphant but ruthless performance, our protagonist Adam (Callum Worthy) has been left without a home, friends or love interest as a result of taking free speech way, way too far. Whilst sitting on the bench he lives on, bleeding from a well-deserved punch, he suddenly thinks of the perfect rap name, saying ‘My name is…’. Cut. Then comes the credit music, ‘Hi! My name is… Slim Shady.’ Suddenly the whole narrative is reframed; this isn’t simply produced by Eminem, this is an allegorical origin story for his alter ego.
“It’s a jaw-dropping moment that poses so many questions about the differences between the man and his infamous persona”
This is an anti-8 Mile, flipping that script right down to turning the heroic moment where B-Rabbit reveals the name of his enemy, into a moment about betraying a friend and officially crossing an invisible moral line. This is a film about the darkness inside Marshall Mathers (and perhaps all of us) – his every evil thought encapsulated within a character we had rooted for and sympathised with for much of the movie. It’s a jaw-dropping moment that poses so many questions about the differences between the man and his infamous persona, leaving us unsure if we are supposed to like one, none or both of Eminem and Slim Shady. The moment immediately makes you want to rewatch and dissect the film with this in mind; a little thing for most, but Christmas come early for fans of rap music and thought-provoking film-making alike.