I gave myself an end-of-semester, before my children are out of school treat today and went to the movies. I really wanted to see 42 but decided to wait until I can see it with my hubby (which really means that I'm waiting for it to come on HBO or Showtime and the children to go to sleep). I had read a couple of commentaries on it, and knew from the get-go that I was probably not the ideal demographic. I don't get along well with Tyler Perry movies. Or Kim Kardashian. But I had just watched the Grey's Anatomy episode with Jurnee Smollett and remembered that I like her. And Vanessa Williams. Perhaps most importantly, seeing it would get me out of the house and out of my head.
Not long into it, I decided that I needed to blog about it. Watching the scene from the teaser, in which Judith (Smollett) and her lover first have "sex" on his private plane was intensely disturbing to me. The clip presented this as passion-filled and sexy. But I just found it creepy and violent. If I had read Carolyn Edgar's discussion I wouldn't have been so filled with ick, but I didn't, so I was left to make confused faces in the dark with the four other people in the theater. This character, Judith, says no--repeatedly and firmly, while clawing and hitting this man. Is it just me, or is that rape? She never actually says, "yes"; she just stops actively resisting. Um, that's not the same thing, folks.
I have lots of other problems with this story, including the bland way that marriage is portrayed, and the fact that Judith complains that her husband Bryce takes her for granted while, in my estimation, she also takes him for granted. She never fully discusses her needs or desires with him--he forgot her birthday the year before, but she doesn't even mention it for the current birthday and then is in despair that he forgot again. I can't remember any scene that depicts them even getting close to sex (except for when she gets all hot and bothered by her lover's innuendos and rushes home to attack her thoroughly confused husband). Of course, when I think about it, people who have sex in this movie get punished, so maybe that's why he doesn't. Then, there is the ever-present problem with overblown, jacked-up religious silliness. I know this is some people's version of Christianity, but it's not mine. I can't even unpack all of that right now. Seriously.
And then, there is there weirdness of Judith at the end of the movie, old, alone, and limping along with her HIV and unresolved Daddy issues. I'm not sure why she needed to be barely mobile. Or why Smollett couldn't play her at the end of the film. It's all so confusing.
This probably could have been an interesting plot, but it falls flat as a pancake.
I did, at least, get out of the house, though. So I guess it was good for something!
9 months ago