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Cruel But Necessary (2005)

Cruel But Necessary is the story of Betty Munson's strange journey of self-discovery and soul-awakening in the traumatic years following the revelation, on videotape, of her husband's ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Wendel Meldrum ...
Betty Munson
...
Doug Munson
...
Darwin Munson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kate Albrecht ...
Betty's Assistant
...
Alan
Esther M. Appel ...
Gramma
Ian Axness ...
Paul
...
Umpire
...
Danny
...
Laura
...
Chad
...
Apartment Manager
James O'Connel ...
Teddy
Julie Payne ...
Pearl
...
Alan's Assistant (as Anya Scemama)
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Storyline

Cruel But Necessary is the story of Betty Munson's strange journey of self-discovery and soul-awakening in the traumatic years following the revelation, on videotape, of her husband's infidelity. Her marriage over, struggling to raise her teen-age son alone, Betty becomes driven to discover other secrets that may surround her and so she videotapes every aspect of her life during the gradual disintegration of her comfortable upper middle-class existence. Sometimes used as an eavesdropping device, other times as a confessional, Betty's camera dispassionately records the layers of family and personal dynamics. The film is seen entirely from the viewpoint of Betty's video camera resulting in a "surveillance tape" that is a kind of voyeurism of the absurd. Written by anon.

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Drama

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7 June 2005 (USA)  »

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Trivia

Wendel Meldrum's ex-husband and son, Mark Humphrey and Luke Humphrey, actually play her character's ex-husband and son in the movie. Portions of the movie were filmed in Meldrum's southern California home. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Digital micro gem
23 July 2010 | by (Old London, New England) – See all my reviews

"Cruel But Necessary" is a highly original experiment in micro-budget independent film-making. The opening scenes reveal suburban housewife and mother Betty's discovery of her husband's infidelity due to his inadvertent recording of a conversation with his mistress on the family video camera. After the couple's separation, Betty continues to live in the family home with her monosyllabic teenage son, Darwin, and decides to document her chaotic life and thoughts with the camera. Her video diary is made up of her monologues to the camera when alone, and episodes when she conceals the camera during meetings with friends and family. When the sullen Darwin blocks her attempts to communicate with him, she hides the camera in his bedroom. By these means the camera becomes Betty's confidante and partner-in-crime as it observes her dysfunctional family in a sequence of darkly humorous scenes.

Wendel Meldrum, who plays the central character, conceived the idea and wrote the witty layered screenplay. Her portrayal of Betty holds everything together at the center, while Saul Rubinek's direction of an excellent supporting cast complements her fine performance. The DVD comes with a rich selection of interviews and deleted scenes. "Cruel But Necessary" is the best kind of independent film-making - necessary even.


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