Grief

Captain Fantastic

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 24, 2016

Zooming through the fast-paced lifestyle so many DC dwellers live today, it is not uncommon to discuss (in therapy or elsewhere) the desire to step away from it all and check out.   Captain Fantastic paints a cinematic portrait of a passionate, deliberate life off the grid in the Pacific Northwest.  Viggo Mortensen is utterly…

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When Breath Becomes Air

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 4, 2016

Some books are so special, articulate, and profound that the pages read as if the book has written itself.  Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air leashes words together in poetic combinations that are both a revelation but also obvious.  Sentences seem as if they were waiting to be placed beside each other with remarkable beauty and clarity.…

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 19, 2015

Teenage romantic relationships are formative experiences that can be especially difficult to capture on film.  Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s adaptation of Jesse Andrews’ novel, Me, Earl and the Dying Girl captures the gritty and evasive sphere inhabited by teenagers and draws convincing, memorable performances.  Thomas Mann plays Greg (“me”), a moody, self-deprecating teen who spends his spare…

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Still Alice

By Elisabeth LaMotte / June 22, 2015

When a parent falls ill, the family constellation is bound to change, and multiple familial relationships usually become strained or strengthened, sometimes in unexpected ways.   Most people decide to begin therapy because something has changed, and usually this change involves a family or relationship crisis.  Since most of the clients in our therapy practice are…

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Frontera

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 6, 2014

Michael Berry’s timely new film, Frontera, is sure to stir controversy and conversation.  The film’s backdrop is the border between Mexico and Arizona where Ed Harris plays a retired Sheriff living on an expansive ranch with his wife (Amy Madigan).  The couple have a deliberately independent and horse-centered life and one of their ongoing conversations…

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The Snow Queen

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 28, 2014

Michael Cunningham, 2014, 272 pages Intimate relationships are a primary focus in psychotherapy.  Through therapy, people examine their closest relationships in order to determine what aspects of their approach to others work well for them, and what aspects of their approach they might want to change in order to form healthier attachments.  In order to…

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The Fault in our Stars

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 15, 2014

If you have tween or teen daughters, it is highly likely that you have already heard an earful about John Green’s bestselling novel and subsequently recently released film, The Fault in our Stars.  Even if you do not have teens or tweens, you would have to be living under a rock to have missed the…

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The Broken Circle Breakdown

By Elisabeth LaMotte / May 9, 2014

Director: Felix van Groeningen, Screenwriters: Carl Joes and Felix van Groeningen 2012, 112 minutes, Netherlands, Belgium Many people reach out to a therapist when they are facing a crisis or a tragedy and therefore at their most vulnerable.  While conflicts and challenges related to religious faith are not at the forefront of my daily work…

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The Fitzgerald Family Christmas

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 20, 2013

THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS Edward Burns , 2012, 99 minutes  Navigating the holiday season with divorced parents is somewhat like walking a tightrope: at any moment one can plunge into dangerous territory, and it requires tremendous balance, skill and practice to avoid disaster.   People with divorced parents spend countless holidays practicing this precarious act.  Sadly,…

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PIECES OF APRIL

By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 26, 2013

Pieces of April (2003, Peter Hedges, 80 minutes) Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with many traditions — Grandma’s cranberry sauce, mom’s holiday decor and marathon football viewing fall into the category of expected traditions celebrated by the media and popular culture.  A lesser publicized truth is that, for many families, there is an unspoken tradition…

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