They say that variety is the spice of life. In a continuing attempt to embrace that variety here with One Movie Each Day, I’ve decided to dedicate each Wednesday review to the stranger side of cinema, the type of movies that I’d never normally watch, but that I’m kind of secretly glad exist. In celebration or in condemnation of the eccentric, the odd, the freaky, the kinky, the ghastly, the freaky, the fearful, and the flaky, I’ve created Wednesday Weirdness.Unfortunately today, I cannot possibly call my task a celebration, because writing about this movie of no redeeming value sent me searching for an antonym for the word celebration. Failing at that, I have no choice but to reluctantly bring you this the eighth edition of Wednesday Weirdness.
Please, do yourself a favor and avoid seeing this movie. I’m putting the rating right there at the beginning so that you don’t need to read this review, which is mostly going to me venting about a terrible film and opining on some sociological issues that contribute to it’s sucktitude.
Probably the most disturbing piece of scripted media I’ve ever seen, today’s movie, The Woman, is also easily the worst movie I’ve endured in the nearly three months I’ve been doing this. The reason for this is that the film is disturbing for no good reason. Clearly coming from a place of wild misandry, the film is generally anti-human, largely anti-rural, and specifically anti-male. It’s just a difficult movie to watch. The film isn’t bad because it’s poorly written, or because the acting is amaturistic, or the whole thing is poorly produced. That isn’t the case, in fact, given its cast of obscure actors, and what was probably a very low budget, the production quality is quite high. Instead this movie is just truly and deeply flawed in its content. It succeeds in achieving an emotional response, but it does so cheaply by stacking a series of increasingly unlikely scenarios and then bashing the viewer over the head with them as they come crashing down.
I don’t want to waste my time coming up with a synopsis for this piece of dreck so here’s the official synopsis:
When a successful country lawyer captures and attempts to “civilize” the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast coast for decades, he puts the lives of his family in jeopardy.
Of course it turns out that the lawyer turns out to be a full-blown utterly unrealistic mysoginistic scum-bag, and is raising his son to follow in his footsteps, while the women in the family are completely cowed by his violence.
And now I’ve spent more time on this movie’s plot than it deserves. This movie is most often referred to as a horror movie, but it really isn’t. At all. What it is, is filmmaker Lucky McKee’s tribute to strong women and feminism, celebrating the notion that all men are rapists, and that women must break free of this oppression and establish their own society. At least, that’s what it seems like.
Sociological critiques aside, this film’s major problems come in two varieties. First in conception, the film’s antagonist is just so incredibly twisted and everyday-evil, that it really strains the imagination that he could exist. It strains the imagination even more to conceive that he hasn’t somehow been caught or at least suspected yet. Of course, most of this evil is only ratcheted up for the viewer in the final few scenes, but it’s not like he suffers some sort of psychological break. There’s pretty clear evidence that we’re supposed to believe that this is who he’s been all along.
The second problem is with pacing. The dark subject matter makes this film difficult to watch to begin with, but it takes its time to get going. Then once it does get going, it immediately bogs down again and begins a slow, dragging slog to the inevitable and largely foreseeable conclusion.
The Woman is a terrible fiction. It’s a terrible piece of art with no redeeming value. On one level, it’s almost a good movie, if you can avoid thinking about it, but the pacing doesn’t allow this, drawing out ample time to realize it has a (possibly unintended) message, and how awful that truly is. Shockingly, the film enjoyed a largely positive ciritical reception, and a 75% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I can only conclude that these positive reviews come from critics who are either: a) idiots, b) misandrists of the first-order, c) so ensconced in a bubble of smugness as to be completely disconnected, d) garden variety misogynists who identified (slightly) with the antagonist or e) not concerned with the plot but concerned with the exciting blood and gore. Suffice to say, if I ever encounter someone who claims to have liked this celluloid garbage, I will have to exercise a fair amount of restraint to stop from clocking them right in their fat gob. That said, I conclude as I began; please, do yourself a favor and avoid seeing this movie.