Thursday, July 31, 2008
Walk softly and carry a big sawed off shotgun
I haven't mentioned that I've been in a lot of physical pain. It may account for much of my crankiness. I was in a terribly good mood for quite a while. All good things come to an end. Oh, that's a cranky aphorism, isn't it? I'm not sure I've even got it right. . .
Tonight I watched "No Country for Old Men" and was rather nonplussed. I hadn't read any reviews, so I don't know what people were saying about it. I'm not sure I'm interested enough to go find out. It's more interesting, in a way, to wonder why it was so well received.
No Country for Old Men was a movie about men. Whether they were psychopaths or not, they were all quiet and violent. Oh, sure, the sheriff didn't seem like a violent man, but when his wife admonished him not to hurt somebody before he left the house, he made a dismissive sound, as if the very idea of not hurting someone was absurd. After all, he was a sheriff.
Ah, the strong silent American male. Was the movie trying to show us how this standard was transforming into something warped? I think that may be true, but to my mind, it was always warped. The West was settled and shaped in violence and blood. Is it less understandable because it's now about drugs and not land? I say no.
I also strongly object to the gravitas of the characters. All these murders, and all we hear are monosyllabic mutterings. All that silence is not strength. It's just silence.
As to my crankiness, it's relevant, for about five minutes after the film ended, while I was searching for what made this film so "important" (okay, I'll have to google it), I thought something along these lines: Has there ever been a movie about women that portrayed such gravitas? I can't think of any. If any reader can, please tell me.
Woman still play the strength or voice of reason behind the men of power, or if the women are in power, they're bitches. If the women are in groups, they're giddy. If the women are up in arms over something, it's the plight of children or family.
I can't think of one film where we hear a female narrator that isn't sentimental or even just foolhardy. Take "Sex in the City", for example, where we hear Carrie thinking about what's she writing. What incredible fluff! I'm certainly not the first person to say this. But it really does irk me. The women in Sex and the City were supposed to "modern and empowered". Ha! They were all totally wrapped up in their relationships to others, especially to men, and they never talked about anything of any seriousness.
When a movie was made about Iris Murdoch, it portrayed her years with Alzheimer's. How fitting. If it had not, we would have seen a couple in which the woman was the intellectual in the family, and we can't have that, can we? No. If we do, the woman usually gets shipped off to a mental institution or kills herself (or both).
I've not seem one movie in my entire lifetime in which I related to a female character. It seems absurd. I know my life is a bit different than many women's, mostly because I didn't have children, but I'm not that weird. Well, some say I am, but I disagree.
Hmm. Lately I've been having trouble ending my posts. I've been having some trouble just writing them, so that makes sense. Here's tonight's ending: The End.
Image note: Catharine Macaulay, historian Arist: Robert Edge Pine, c.1775
I wish I could fly to London to see the show at the National Portrait Gallery entitled "Brilliant Women: 18th century bluestockings".