Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.
Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Released in 2002 with James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
This movie was a sweet surprise. I had been warned beforehand, and perhaps you should be too, that the film explores a sadomasochistic relationship complete with spanking and eroticism. What I was not warned about, and what truly delighted me, is how very touching and tender a romance the film portrays.
The story follows Lee, (Maggie Gyllenhaal) an attractive young lady that has a problem with cutting herself. We follow her as she makes her way from institution to real world where her typing skills land her a job as secretary for the young lawyer E. Edward Grey (James Spader). As you can probably guess, here enters the romance.
Of course this is not a normal girl meets boy sort of romance as Mr. Grey has a host of issues of his own. The characters themselves don't even recognize the connection they have made and individually struggle to hold their own idiosyncrasies in check. Lee tries a more conventional dating approach with a timid young man Peter. Grey grapples with the unorthodox methods of his own affection. Living in a sort of self denial about his true nature.
The reason I have to give the film such high marks is for the way the characters are portrayed so sympathetically and with such humanity. We get to see up close and clearly how unbalanced both Lee and Grey truly are and yet there is no revulsion, only compassion. In comparison the sweet and sincere Peter looks to be the most screwed up character of them all.
With its compassion for these unusual people the film commands us to examine our own individuality. The erotic moments of the film were very captivating and I felt sexually charged at the end. Yet I had no real desire to experiment with sadomasochism or follow the characters behavior. Instead it left me feeling that individuality is the key to happiness. It does not matter what our fetishes or peculiarities or desires are; the film tells us that it is okay to admit them, to let them out. Through their empowerment Lee and Grey show us the possibilities of what can happen when we admit that there are parts of us that do not fit the norms and expectations of the world. We get to watch a person unbalanced in one direction lean against a person unbalanced in the other. The result is harmony and sweet tender love. Unconventional perhaps, but beautifully romantic all the same.
I felt very sorry for Peter. Perhaps because I see too much of him in myself. His naivete and cluelessness cause him to lose the girl in the end. But if there is love and balance for people like Lee and Grey I want to believe there is also a balance for simple sincerity. There is hope that he will find his true love. There is hope for me. There is hope for all of us. And isn't that how a romantic movie is supposed to make us feel?
There is more Jones in the archives: February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 December 2009 January 2010 May 2014