Set in an Australian lumber town in 1939. Marge (Rachel Ward), the bored wife of kindly-but-dull Sonny (Bryan Brown) begins dreaming of outside romances. She unexpectedly gets her wish in the form of Sonny's much-younger brother Sugar (Steven Vidler), whom Sonny cheerfully offers to his wife as a surrogate bed-mate. Given this curious arrangement, one wonders why Marge is so upset when she is propositioned by handsome stranger Neville (Sam Neill). Eventually, Gifford sleeps with every other woman in town but Marge. Fed up with the unimaginative lovers in her own house, Marge finally gives in to Gifford, arousing the jealousy not of the cloddish Sonny, but of the immature Sugar.
After seeing this movie, I was prompted to write and comment, once again, about the roles that husbands are afforded in almost every movie w/ a love triangle. This film offers a stark illustration of this fact. For the sake of the story, we are asked to suspend disbelief and watch as every husband portrayed in the film, is cuckolded- & offers no instance of protest, or resistance. So let me get this straight- the " GOOD WIFE" in the film, is a lustful, amoral character- who presumably destroys her marriage to pursue a worthless cad. By itself, this isn't an unbelievable tale. My pet peeve however, is how the women's spouses are portrayed, in movies of this sort. The B. Brown character not only doesn't get angry, he offers his wife to his brother, excuses her behavior w/ the barman, and willingly, immediately, and w/out reservation, offers "instant forgiveness" to his cheating wife- another predictable staple for this character. The other husband in the movie who catches his wife w/ another man, reacts the same way. In other words, every husband is weak, ineffectual & too inadequate, to show anger, towards their straying wives! No, the women are all capable of destructive actions, but the husbands?- their reaction to these actions, is reserved, measured, & minimal at best. This character is essential to filmmakers, but is so prevalent, that it's becoming a cliché' within itself! The first film that actually offers a sympathetic, strong portrayal of a betrayed man, which by the way is the usual portrayal given to betrayed wives, will be a revelation. An actual male character who doesn't whine & weakly accepts his wife's cheating. One who decides that SHE is not worthy of him- would be a first! Instead we are faced w/ the same character- gutless, weak, no balls, and willing to accept any & all humiliations, for the sake of fantasy. By no means am I one of these right-wing, "defenders of families" freaks- but it's not hard to see that the portrayal of husbands in these movies, would give one pause. What reality are these filmmakers living in- & maybe, just once, they'll join ours!
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