Exercise #9

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.

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One thought on “Exercise #9

  1. battysgirl says:

    My Favorite Movie: What Dreams May Come

    A happy couple is torn apart when their two children are killed in a car accident. Mom, unable to cope becomes mentally unstable and attempts suicide. She is institutionalized and they nearly divorce as a result. After much healing, they reconcile and she eventually recovers. However, on the anniversary of the day the couple decided not to divorce (which they call their “Double-D” anniversary) Dad is involved in a car accident, dying a short time later. After his death, Dad sticks around Mom trying to let her know he is still with her, this causes her pain, however, so he leaves for the afterlife.
    When he wakes up in heaven, he finds that he is living in one of his wife’s paintings and is greeted by a man he recognizes as a friend from his medical residency. Because he and his wife are soul mates, as she continued to paint, new things would show up in Heaven for the father.
    In his travels, the Father meets a woman named Leona who shows him the children’s realm in Heaven. After recognizing the area, he realizes that this woman, Leona, is in reality, his daughter and when he voices that, she tells him she took this form because he told her at one point that a airline stewardess with this name that was Asian as well was lovely, graceful and smart.
    While the Dad explores this world in Heaven, Mom is unable to cope with the loss of the last of her family and commits suicide and goes to Hell. When he learns this, Dad insists he will rescue his wife and ignores all warnings that no one has ever been able to succeed in doing so. Eventually, Albert agrees to help and finds him someone who will lead him to his wife’s soul. In their search, Dad recalls a conversation with his son in which he tells him he’d want no one else by his side if he were to go through hell and realizes Albert is actually his son. When he reveals he’s figured this out, Albert goes back to heaven and Dad continues on to find his wife.
    Once they cross into Hell, Dad crosses a sea of faces and notices Mom in them but as he runs to her the ground breaks open and he falls. He sees his house and heads towards it, and his wife, but he is warned if he stays too long he may become trapped here as well. When he finally finds his wife, he is unable to rouse her enough out of her grief to recognize him and decides he would rather stay with her in Hell.
    Dad’s sacrifice to stay with her enables his wife to wake up and recognize her husband who is, by now, falling into his own despair and carry him with her up to Heaven. In heaven, Mom and Dad are reunited with their children but later decide to be reincarnated to fall in love and marry again.

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