Saturday, March 6, 2010
Hitchcock once said he had done his best to put murder where it rightfully belongs: the home. The kind of psychotic domestic inferno described in the film, where life itself may be constantly at risk, objects flying and blows suddenly raining for no reason (a home is an arsenal of lethal weapons), is a reality and the author of the novel may have based herself on such a real life experience. To have emerged from this in one piece physically and spiritually would be an extraordinary and rare victory of a human being in a stormy voyage of life.
For the rest, it is pretty much staple twice told melodrama, for all it's edifying qualities. The dilineation of characters resorts to garish primary colors, and the stereotyping of the good, bad and ugly is tiresomely familiar. The film virtually orders you to have the expected responses (or else) placing few demands on your intelligence and imagination. It has little to add to the discourse on the human condition. One can but dutifully exclaim, "How sad! How brave!".
Gabourey Sidibe in the main role does her assignment with restraint and dignity. Mo'Nique as the mother also gives a powerfull histrionic performance, leaving one somewhat dumbfounded by a fluency of invective or self-justification. The final encounter of mother and daughter where the mother is stripped of irrational defenses and the daughter has traveled far beyond, is a memorable one.
A sentimental run of the mill film destined for a short heyday of commercial success. It will serve a purpose by hopefully inspiring people in comparable dillemas. After all it is not fair to fault a product for that which it never claimed to be or have. And you can't fault it for being obscure or over-subtle.
It makes me salivate for the novel.