Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I think this movie was supposed to be funny.

I found it absolutely terrifying. I felt uncomfortably nauseous the whole way through. I don't know that I've seen a movie that so... effectively portrays women as a slave class. No, I'm serious.

This one hit me personally hard. As somebody from a small town who dated somebody for three years who was a lot like the heroine's husband, it really hit home. And the fact that she has to rely on men to pull her out of it the whole way through. The idea that you have to be nice to assholes, to put up with abuse and bullshit just to survive... you have to smile and be nice and maybe when they die they'll leave you money!

Because in the end, what's the difference between running off with the doctor she's having an affair with and getting a check from some rich guy who treated people like crap? You're still getting ahead by serving (literally serving!) men. And not just decent guys, but fucking assholes. If I felt for one minute that anybody in this movie wasn't a total jerk, it wouldn't have been so bad, but here she is, faking her way through life, this perfect "yes sir," slave robot constantly judging her self worth by what men thought of her - and her pie.

God, it made me sick. It made me sicker still because I have this even more disturbing feeling that I was supposed to find this show absolutely hilarious.

The fucking pie contest was just a fucking afterthought montage shot, a given. Leaving her husband, in the end, was "easy." Winning the contest was "easy." There were all these hand wave easy outs for her in the end, after all this bullshit. It's like the end of Kill Bill 2 where she just sees her kid and it's all over. All is magically right with the world.

And it doesn't work that way. You have to trudge through a lot of bullshit. You're not standing up for yourself once. You do it again and again and again, every day, for the rest of your life. You have to change your entire life. Yes, kids can change your life. I get it. But having kids doesn't mean the rest of the world goes away. Far better would have been an ending where she *doesn't* like the kid, she *doesn't* get anybody's money, and she has to fight her way to the life she wants, tooth and nail, with the support of her friends.

That's real life. That's how people do it when they decide not to be slaves anymore. You don't just say to the guy once, "Hey, I'm not a slave!" It takes years of undoing.


2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Ismone said...

You know, I liked it when I watched it (although I was creeped out by her lack of agency, and surprised it was so easy to leave at the end) but you're right. It is pretty damn depressing.

I wonder to what extent the writer was aware of this, what she was thinking when she wrote it, if she thought it would start some conversations, or if she wasn't even thinking along those lines.

Kameron Hurley said...

Some part of me thinks she really did think she was being funny. I believe the writer/director were the same. The guys are shown as creepy but weak - basically big kids who just so happen to wield big sticks.

I think she may have gotten caught up in the "See, she didn't run away with the guy who she had an affair with. She made her own way!" And then totally forgot that she just had some guy give her money.

While her ex is still out there. So one day he'll shoot her or burn down her shop. It was just weird. I figure she had that central thesis - don't run away with the doctor - and ended up totally blind to everything else. Bah.