"Based on true events" is cliché to the point of being metaphorically criminal to use. The Rosewood Institute in Maryland, during the time period this film is placed, was filled with low IQ'd children and children with other mental disabilities. It was not filled with wealthy women with mental disabilities. So, whatever truth there is in this film, it is not about this particular hospital no matter what the opening credits show with actual newspaper clippings etc.,
I would have loved to have seen an actual film closer to what actually may have happened at such "hospitals", with the varying experimentations and the like, and some films in the past have attempted the feat but they either made it too sadistic or catered to a specific genre (such as Horror and/or Thriller) to where it just became nonsensical. Or, to the very least, perhaps even a film based on an institute where society basically throws people away and dumps them in a very poor environment; and in Maryland (and other places in the US), they did it to children. That would have been a film to watch. A film to disgust and anger people.
I have no clue what this film is about. I've actually enjoyed some of the non-mainstream films that James Franco has put out these past few years but as I keep watching these 'experimental' films of his, I keep thinking that he just likes to hear himself talk. I am one of those who actually enjoyed his film "The Sound and the Fury". It wasn't great but it was good, in my opinion. This film: I have no idea the point of this film. Franco seems to be all about quantity these days. He reminds me of the early days of film where those in the silent era pushed out one film after another as if throwing money into a crowd. Of course, most those films were short and without substance. He's doing the same, it seems. I mean he's directed four films (in which he also stars in) this year alone. Contemporarily, he's like a B-film production company; the difference is: that's their actual living. So, what's Franco's point with these 'candy' films?
Let's forget the poor technical faults of "The Institute" (lighting, decorum, sets etc.,) or the Quasimodo character, or the rip of the film "The Wicker Man" from 1973; and the excessive and unnecessary amount of nudity of almost every single female actress in this film (who happen to be clean shaven in 1890). Let's forget the poorly delivered lines, the writing, and the direction. Let's even forget about the accents going in and out etc., let's forget all of that. I just have one simple question: What the f--- is this film supposed to be about? Supposedly: woman enters asylum after tragedy, becomes brainwashed but remembers and seeks revenge and a way out! Which only happens in the last ten minutes of the film. See, it starts in 1893 when the actual asylum had just children in it (boys and girls, separated) but ends with it stating it happened in the 1930s. Really? Age restriction was removed in 1950. I'm not saying bad things didn't happen at Rosewood, bad unethical things did happen (and not just to the girls, but mainly the girls) but the story itself goes quite deeper than this film seems to portray it; this film is just trash.
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