Time for another installment of READ MY HOMEWORK!!! I bet that you thought these types of assignments would end once you left school- right? WRONG! There was always some lonely masochistic dork (C’est Moi) who would do homework of their own free will.
9. Summarize the plot of your favorite novel, movie, or TV show in your own words.
My favorite movie is most definitely “Now Voyager” with Bette Davis, Paul Henried, Claude Rains, and Gladys Cooper. There was a much larger ensemble cast, but these are the characters that I remember and think of when the name of this film comes to mind. I’ve seen photos of this film in color, but there must only be black and white and shades of gray whilst I watch Bette Davis slip further and further into her “nervous breakdown”, which we modern folk can recognize as a fully grown woman being manipulated by her over-bearing mothers guilt trips, put downs, and manipulations in a world where a woman can’t just BE self sufficient.
So Claude Rains swoops in as the psychiatrist to make sure that Bette goes to his sanitarium where she finds some peace and becomes a self assured woman. Now I don’t think too much about the fact that part of her transformation is being allowed to diet and wear sexy clothing, but quite honestly I’ll let the feminists argue about the sexist implications.
Once out of the loony bin, Bette goes on a Cruise where she meets a handsome Frenchman in Paul Henried, and they begin an emotional affair with each other that we can translate into modern day people bumpin’ uglies on a boat. He’s married, she’s crazy- they know that it would never work and when they get to Boston, the two part ways. She goes back to her life and is pursued by rich men who want to marry her and he goes back to his autocratic and manipulative wife. Needless to say- Bette almost has another breakdown, which does feel a little whiny to me, but it’s a plot device so who cares!
When she ends up back at the sanitarium she latches on to this very vulnerable 12 year old girl, who just happens to be the daughter of the married man that Bette had an affair with- awkwaaaaarrrrrdddd. In a very creepy and hand that rocks the cradle sort of way, Bette becomes this girls mother and even takes her back to her mansion in Boston to live in society (there’s actually a sequel that continues this part of the plot) and be happy. She inherits all of her mother’s money when the witch dies and becomes a spinster philanthropist who “hires” Jerry to build a new wing for a hospital. Fade to black.
As you can hopefully tell- my modern sensibilities and brainwashing from the women’s rights movement make me slightly ambivalent to this plot, but there is something so wonderful about Bette Davis’s portrayal of this woman who, in any other situation would have always been this strong wonderful person, but who just could not break out of her mother’s shadow without help. It doesn’t have a happy ending per-se and maybe that’s what I like about it.