Friday, March 22, 2013
Get Away Quickly: Illuminating the Horrible Messages Portrayed in The Others
I should have liked this movie. It had so many positives going for it: lots of fog, a creepy house, rare illnesses, obscure tombstones, an awesome possession scene, and ghosts. Still, I didn’t connect with this film. While watching it this time, I came to the conclusion the problem resides with the characters. Even though the film did many things right, the characters were so despicable, I couldn’t connect and truly enjoy the movie. Then, upon further examination, I realized it wasn’t just the characters. The film itself presented terrible messages, which disturbed me. The mother, Grace, was abusive. She related to Jack in The Shining in this manner; however, Jack had redeeming qualities, at least in the start. Jack wanted to change, and he loved his family and wanted to be the best father he could. Grace cared more about social standards and herself than her family. Notice how she reacts when the priest “won’t” come visit them. Or consider the conversation she has with her children who claimed they would lie about their religious affiliations if it mean saving their lives. Instead of worrying about their safety or even mental well-being, she criticized them for not sacrificing themselves for their beliefs--they’re like ten! Of course, [spoiler] she also killed them, which really made her the villain, and the story frustrated me because she’s portrayed as somewhat of a heroine. At least Jack was painted as the bad guy in the end of The Shining. I guess these examples illustrate how, in reality, men are easily portrayed as villains when it comes to domestic abuse, yet society has a unfair misconception of women in the same situations. The daughter wasn’t any more likable than the mother. She harassed her brother, was snarky, and overall, not pleasant. I suppose, if anything, the character was realistic since she inherited her mother’s attributes. The daughter does, at least, have the creepiest incident in the movie--her possession. This even seems suitable as a subliminal punishment or warning to change her ways. From there, even though she never becomes likable, she does change her ways--she starts to dislike the intruders, and eventually, after a few other events, builds up the gumption to escape and goes through her own path of discovery. Her initiative makes her the most interesting character, yet because she was so cranky, I didn’t shed any tears when I found out she was dead. The brother was a bit relatable because I felt so bad for him, yet he was so young and such a coward, I didn’t find myself really captivated by him either. He seemed like a secondary character the female leads dominated in order to demonstrate their dynamics. There were also the three helpers, who I felt somewhat connected to, but they were secondary characters and were not given full characterization. There was also the father, who remained in a hazy stupor for his stay; I had to wonder if his state of mind was from the war and his death or if his family’s incorrigibility had left him a broken man. I sympathized with his hightailing it. So, even though this move had a high-level of creepiness, I couldn’t enjoy it because I found myself hoping bad things would happen to the vile characters. However, the ending seemed like the worst-case scenario regarding my disposition. The abusive mother got to stay with and abuse her children for eternity--which is absurd when compared to The Shining where the abuser is removed from the family unit. The children in The Others were left being subjected to abuse for eternity. And the helpers were trapped being servants and doing yard work for eternity. None of the evil was resolved and all the good characters were punished. Well, except the father, who was rewarded for abandoning his family by getting away from the hell they’d created at the house. This movie has some truly disturbing messages.