Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Obviously About Childhood Sexual Abuse
I've no idea why so many folks seem to think this is about sexual repression.
Carole is a young woman who was abused by her father, and who in this movie interacts with a string of men who behave (to varying degrees - see below) just like he did when she was a child: they treat her as a sexual object. When, all the while, she needs a psychologist.
If it wasn't clear to anyone that this is what this film is about, before the end, then surely the final frame sums it up. Carole's stare in the picture is aimed at whom? The man seated to her left (surely her father). Throughout the movie, she never really leaves this stare. It consumes her - she simply lacks the tools to extract him from her life.
Polanski's trick and genius in this movie is to make Carole the protagonist and killer at the same time. Carole is still a little girl, and she's precious and worthy of love. But, she also kills.
So, she is NOT having any kinds of fantasies due to repressed sexuality. Rather, she is constantly re-living the abuse she suffered in her childhood.
Her personality has been shattered by the trauma, but mercifully for us, it's touching to see what has survived in this dear young lady. These are the moments when we see the ironing, the postcard, the knitting, the childlike use of excessive sugar in the coffee.
What makes the story especially tragic is that the young male suitor is sincere, but obviously helpless. He's got no idea what he's up against. In the best case, Carole needs years of care, probably from professionals.
A more hopeful route their relationship might have taken, in a similar circumstance, is portrayed in the movie "Good Dick".
Night Train to Venice (1996)
Never got boring
This movie creates a mood and a kind of distance from reality and it reminded me mainly of "Eyes Wide Shut", which is one of my all-time favorite movies: it has this mix of hedonism, evil, and ultimately giving in to the lack of control. In the beginning, we are in civilization, normalcy, and even ethical righteousness, since we have this writer writing about neo-Nazis. But by the end all we have left is hedonism, an extra large dose of humility, and thankfulness. Also similar to "Eyes Wide Shut", the setting is decadent beyond belief, from the paintings on the doors in the train, the real steam engine, and the costumes to the paintings on the ceilings. (The masks are like those in "Eyes Wide Shut", too). What I like about this movie is that there's some hope in the end, where "Eyes Wide Shut" is more bleak. The final scene with the saving of the child stays with you, and makes up for all the awful images that fulfilled the evil roles in the movie. In "Eyes Wide Shut" all we're left with, after all, is hedonism; but in "Night Train to Venice", we are left with that and also just enough of our better selves to get by.
The Exorcist (1973)
What a psychologist sees in a case of child abuse
There are countless mothers who are similar to Chris -- who are on the verge of mental illness; luckily often there is a dad in the house to give the family some stability. In Regan's case there is no father; only empty wealth, which, unfortunately is no substitute. The result is that Regan lives in a kind of hell; slowly asphyxiating beneath the weight of her mother's madness. The Exorcist is a visualization of a psychotherapist's fantasy; it is the ultimate in real horror. This is the horror that children must endure in abusive houses -- not physical but psychological abuse; Regan is the victim of ironic, crushing psychological attempted murder in a posh townhouse.
Father Karras is the psychologist who is called and sees the hopelessness of the situation -- the problem is not the child but the mother, and there is no way for him to get the child out of the abusive household. His fantasy is ultimately to give his own life so that the child can be set free; we see his fantasy become reality in the Exorcist.
Only a few scenes are necessary to establish the dysfunction of the family. Not only does Regan's father, who is a continent away, not call his daughter on her birthday, the mother (Chris) makes a scene about it within earshot of Regan. The mother is in this scene abusing Regan; she is unloading her own frustration at her failed marriage and her helplessness with her own neuroses onto the child. The internal psychological life of a child in Regan's situation is hell; childhood situations like those we see in the Exorcist are the source of most evil in the world.
The father could not be farther away from the family, both physically and emotionally. Do we even hear his name? We never hear him speak, and we don't hear anything from him. As a psychologist, Father Karras asks whether Chris has contacted Regan's father -- at a point in the story when Regan's situation is so severe that it is a surprise, and heartbreaking, when we discover that Chris has not done so. Chris doesn't want to contact the father because Regan is _Chris's_ child. Regan is Chris's psychological teddy bear; she is hers to squeeze too hard and punch in the face whenever she feels like doing so. Though Chris can't help herself because of her neuroses, Regan is Chris's victim in this sad story. Regan is Chris's captive ally in her fight against everything that terrifies her -- which in Chris's case is _everything_.
Some more strong evidence for this interpretation is the scene when Father Karras discovers -- alone -- that Regan's behavior is a cry for help. This is often the case with a therapist in such situations. Chris doesn't see the real little girl in Regan at all; she thinks she does but she cannot. But Karras is tipped off to the real Regan when he is led to the room where he sees the message 'help me'. And he is led to the room not by Chris but by Sharon. Chris is completely blind to the message; Sharon sees hints of it; Karras' genius is that he can see the little girl under the layers of abuse.
Another touch that I found to be genius was how the ringing of the door and phone is extremely loud whenever Chris is around; that is what life is like when you live with people with neuroses. That is what life is like for them: everything that happens in life, even the smallest things, are perceived with terror and fear. People who suffer from these psychological disorders, like Chris, can't help themselves: they reach out to anything they can grasp and hold on for dear life, often squeezing so hard that they find rejection. The irony in Chris's case is that she is a successful actress, but she is still in need of support. Since everyone runs away from her madness -- including her husband -- she channels all her fear, anger and hatred into the only thing that won't run away: her defenseless child, Regan.
A Friday Night Date (2000)
Actually not all that bad. It knows what it it's doing, and it does it well.
Some may think I'm crazy for giving this movie 6 of 10, but I have to say that, for what it is it's done pretty well. After reading all the bad reviews I started watching this movie and then sat through the whole thing.
It kept my attention, mainly because a lot of the action is pretty innovative. Given the hundreds (thousands?) of car-chase sequences in movies and in TV shows, it is very often the case with movies that the chases are basically pasted together of things you've seen elsewhere. That's really not the case with this movie. The whole thing is basically a car-chase which goes through different locations and phases. I thought, for example, that the chase part in the woods is novel. I've never seen a car chase on a hilly meadow before. The acting's not great, but you actually do feel for the characters at several points, which is more than can be said for a very many B movies.