Jennifer Jones plays our heroine, Emma, whose overriding dream is to live out the myth of romantic love. Flaubert presents her in a compassionate light, believing her plight could be that of many women of that time, if they only had more courage to try to break free of their dissatisfaction.
Emma goes through many steps in trying to find her happiness: marriage, a home, a child, self-value through her husband’s accomplishments, being attractive, having affairs and material possessions.
From a young age, she had been exposed to many romantic books of the time, which fed her very active fantasy life. When Dr. Charles Bovary arrives at the family farm to tend to her father, her imagination is galvanized. She sees him as someone to rescue her, just like in the stories she grew up with. Charles assesses himself accurately as “just a country doctor, and not a particularly good one”, but her need to idealize him blinds her.
Jungian analyst and author James Hollis says we can bow to our fate—acknowledge and accept what cannot be changed, our “givens” such as parents, background, conditioning, early wounding and so forth. Beyond that, we can grow into our destiny and become all that we can become.
Today, long after the advent of the liberation movement, women are still seeking their destinies, both personally and in the larger world. This series of films (to be presented in three parts) describes a certain arc of female psychological evolution, mapping a part of the territory of both the individual and cultural journeys some of us may take.
Joel and Ethan Coen’s film ‘True Grit’, is an extended meditation on justice, where conceptions of right and wrong may exist in an ideal form, but in reality, the execution of justice depends less on law enforcement than having the persistence and strength of character to impose your own view of what is fair.
The film, The Adjustment Bureau, operates under the metaphysical idea that “The Chairman” has a life plan for each of us, employing angels who make sure we stay on our pre-ordained track. Even though the film lightly touches on questions of free will, fate and destiny, what is especially noteworthy is it concludes that true love conquers all, and furthermore trumps anything else in life worth living.
David Norris (Matt Damon) is an up-and-coming political hopeful who runs into dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) on the eve of losing the election for a Senate seat. (We come to find out this chance meeting has been arranged by “up above” to inspire David to deliver a memorable defeat speech). Their fateful encounter has an other-worldly feel to it, a feeling of already knowing the other, which many of us recognize as love at first sight.
How abused women who murder their abusers are portrayed in the media and dealt with by the legal system.
Part II in Guest Blogger Kimberly Greyson-Bost’s discussion of battered women in the media, including a discussion of the film “Monster” starring Charlize Theron.
[In Part I of her extended essay, guest blogger Kimberly Greyson discusses public misconceptions about battered women; Part II (to follow) will provide cinematic examples that perpetuate these myths.]
Many times we see images in the media that are based in fantasy, yet we tend to absorb them as if they were real. Unless an individual makes a conscious decision to learn more or teach others about the reality of situations presented by the media, myths and stereotypes will continue to exist.
Sometimes these Hollywood “prototypes” cause real harm to the individuals who don’t fit the role. In an age of reality TV, where half-hearted attempts are made to disclose the secret side of human lives, the distortion of battered women (hereafter “BW”) who fight back with deadly force lingers.
The movie Blue Valentine is like a Zen koan, a paradoxical riddle with no answer which encourages us to ponder things in new ways. Ostensibly this particular koan asks us to wonder about what goes wrong in love, but perhaps a more fundamental question is what is love in the first place?
Some of the themes Blue Valentine explores is how much of what we call romantic love is about the reenactment of unmet needs, trauma and role modeling in our family of origin, and the possibility of growing beyond these patterns.
The film moves back and forth through time, showing the beginning and ending of a relationship, inviting us to look closely at our own ideas about love.
A discussion of Charlie Sheen’s recent interviews and how his manic behavior reflect defenses against intolerable shame.
Unbearable grief as portrayed in the film Rabbit Hole (2010), starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and Dianne Wiest.