This is Ward. I got an email from Zach indicating that my name did not appear in the post (to which Allyn responded) on Panic Room
, although my name did appear on my computer. I don't know if my attempt at correction worked.
To respond to Allyn: I think it is appropriate to pick up on the pro-feminist component in Panic Room
, not solely because it features a strong woman as its central character, but because of the continued, sorry absence
of strong female roles in movies such like these. "In fact, it's somewhat denigrating to women to suggest that the presence of a strong woman is so extraordinary that that, in itself, is enough to make a feminist point." I didn't elaborate on what I thought constituted the feminist-supporting subtext in the movie, but without elaborating, I essentially agree with Zach's interpretation. And besides, the presence of a strong woman is extraordinary--not in life, but in movies, and that's the context to which I speak when I say that Panic Room
has a feminist angle, perhaps not as an agenda, per se, but as an underlying tone. Have you seen I Spit on Your Grave
, a cheapo flick in which a woman is brutally raped and beaten up in the first half and then systematically exacts revenge in the second half? This movie has been convincingly argued as very pro-feminist. There are elements in Panic Room
that borrow from I Spit on Your Grave
--perhaps not deliberately, but a good argument can be constructed to defend this shared sensibility.
I believe that writers and directors and other people who contribute to character development in any movie should accept moral responsibility for the choices they make. They had many options to choose from when they wrote up the context into which Meg's husband is presented (before we meet him) and the nature of the divorce. What we imagine before we see him is a pharmaceutical tycoon who appears to be obscenely wealthy (a 4000+ sq ft "townstone" in Manhattan!) and who has made the choice to jeopardize his marriage, alienate his wife and daughter, to be with some trophy girlfriend. I didn't like the guy, and I hadn't even met him yet! When we first meet him, our first impression is that this is someone who is at least 20 years Foster's senior (in fact, Patrick Bauchau is 24 years older than Foster). There's a deliberate whiff of cradle-robbing before he opens his mouth. When he's beaten to a pulp, before he is allowed to clear his polluted name, how are we supposed to feel? I was sickened by what I saw because there is a subtext that this is some form of commeuppance on his part. It is an act of disgust for the filmmakers to associate nothing but negativity before we meet the character, and then beat him up from the get-go. Yes, it is on the verge of man-hating. But I agree with you that the man-hating element isn't coming from the women. It comes from other men. The character of Evan is borne out of man's loathing with himself.