Tag Archives: movie

Thinking: Straightjackets

Straitjacket, originally uploaded by Prettyspot.

While watching the incredible film Changeling on the weekend I was struck with the terror that must be felt by people who are put into a psychiatric institution, knowing they don’t have a problem, but unable to convince their ‘minders’ otherwise.

Caroline Collins was placed into psychiatric care by the LAPD, after she tried to uncover a mistake they had made in the search for her missing son. Not wanting to be embarrassed by the mistake, the LAPD instead claimed Caroline had lost her mind. It wasn’t the first time they had tried to lock up a troublemaker in this way.

Upon Caroline’s admission to the institution, a patient in a similar situation gives her the following advice: “If you smile too much, you’re delusional. If you don’t smile, you’re depressed. If you remain neutral, you’re emotionally withdrawn.”

Of course Caroline tries to convince the head doctor and nurses that it is all a terrible mistake. You’d have to at least try. But after they put her in a straightjacket and take her struggling body to ‘Room 18’, she finally realises that nothing she says or does will help her escape: her fate is sealed and whatever she says will be used against her as further evidence of her unsound mind.

In the end, Caroline chooses the frank yet appropriate response to the doctor who ‘framed’ her: “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.” And I think that’s exactly what I’d say too.

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Posted by on February 9, 2009 in thinking


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Watching: Doubt

I doubt I’ll make it to the gym this afternoon. I also doubt the Gaza treaty will work. That’s the funny thing about doubt – it is constantly there; from the most insignificant suspicion to the most important allegation.
Doubt is set in the cold, wet and windy grounds of St Nicholas school in The Bronx, NY, which Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep) rules with an iron fist. When she begins to suspect Father Brendan Flynn (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) of abusing of a black student, she makes it her mission to bring him down. What follows is a power play between a woman who is too certain – or too proud – to go back on her word, and a man who is either too powerless – or too guilty – to fight it.
Doubt is based on a play of the same name, and it shows, with only three scenes in the entire 103-minute film. But it never feels boring. The wind howls and causes goosebumps to form on the back of your neck. Streep is both infuriating and enchanting, and Hoffman even more so.
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Posted by on January 19, 2009 in Uncategorized


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