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FLICKS: Remembering Skip Sheffield, The Midwife

Posted on 26 July 2017 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave


After 18 years of writing this column, I take pride that I am the longest film columnist in Broward County. Yet, across the Broward/Palm Beach County line, columnist Skip Sheffield bested me by a dozen years. A veteran of the old Boca Raton News, Skip had been a freelance columnist and, like me, had his own blog. As rival columnists, we crossed paths — but never swords. We shared joined interviews with Neale Donald Walsch and James Cromwell. We were not competitive and, afterward, we enjoyed conversations and swapped stories about other celebrity interviews that we had.

Skip died in his sleep last Thursday night. (pg. 12)

The last time I saw Skip was at a critic’s screening of The Last Word, starring Shirley Maclaine and Amanda Seyfried.  Typical of Skip, he arrived on his motorcycle shortly before the screening began and he left when the final credits began to roll. While I liked The Last Word more than Skip did, we both shared an appreciation for Shirley Maclaine’s performance. With Skip’s passing, my profession has suffered a major loss of a colleague who understood cinematic legends and community history.

The Midwife — a French film with cinematic icon Catherine Deneuve, opens tomorrow in area theaters. Though Deneuve is more of a supporting character, Catherine Frot portrays the title character, the Midwife. This drama starts off with serious heartbreak, but leads to comedic redemption by the final reel.

Besides being a midwife, Claire (Frot) is a single mother who has empty nest issues. Claire’s adult son is entering medical school. After a successful day of birthing babies, Claire is contacted by Beatrice (Denevue), a woman with a past. Beatrice had broken Claire’s father’s heart.

Claire and Beatrice are an odd couple. Whereas Claire is serious and focused, Beatrice is flaky with a tendency for melodrama. The two form a unique partnership because Claire is a caregiver and Beatrice is a hypochondriac. Clocking in at 116 minutes, The Midwife is a breezy movie that features good performances and many unique child births.

Steven Spielberg released Saving Private Ryan toward the end of the summer blockbuster season 19 years ago. Despite being a serious R-rated motion picture, that film dominated the box office during the summer of 1998. It looks like Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk will be repeating the cinematic history this summer. Grossing over $55 million in its opening weekend, this PG-13 rated war movie has generated much word of mouth on the street. Expect The Observer to review this future classic that has already created Oscar buzz.

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