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Susan Traherne has been irreparably changed by her wartime experiences as a Resistance fighter. She sets out in the post-war world to make her way to what she wants, no matter who is hurt, or how. Written by
There is now and has been since 1985 a lot of conjecture as to what this film is about. The reaction I had after I first saw this film was one of the first times I was genuinely depressed after I had seen a film. Depressed by an outside force not from within myself. Women in my family were of the similar age Meryl Streep's character of Susan Traherne...so I asked them how they felt during the war and after. Their candid replies (not prompted by any film discussion either) led me to believe PLENTY was a state of mind, a post war feeling of "winner's feast after survival"...I came quickly to realize Susan Traherne, her men, her lovers, her descent into disillusionment, unhappiness, into madness, irrationality. the realization she had to live with herself and her gauche cruelty, snobbery, foolishness and self deceit... was about Great Britain herself, Susan is the Nation, Brittania. PLENTY is possibly the saddest film I have ever seen, on par with MILLION DOLLAR BABY but for different reasons. I also think Susan represents the women baby boomers in every country had as their Mother, who after taking a deep sunny breath of freedom after struggle found that their family and suburbia was a prison and that post war servitude and struggle was the hell they never reckoned with. PLENTY is a great title for this film of 'the promised land" that turned into a supermarket car park. I never want to see it again. Such is the heartbreaking success of this production. PLENTY is a major achievement in film making and it's emotional reality is absolutely crushing.... like Susan's soul and promise was crushed by post war plainness. THE HOURS goes into the same territory in the 1950s sequences with Julieanne Moore wanting to suicide. Susan's sex scene during the Queen's coronation is the cruelest, most superb observation of the relationship between the Royal family and Britain. PLENTY is a character study and not a popcorn movie. Not all films are 'flicks' as some people demand they be. THE FIGHT CLUB and the effect on 30 year old men of today of the pressures commercial modern living as personified by Ed Norton in his famous "ikea" speech is a good equivalent for today's crushed male soul.
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