Friday, February 19, 2010

When the Sheltered Are Set Free

I've been harboring a lot of resentment lately. It's been bubbling up and it's now at the surface and I feel myself about to explode. Even though I'm in a place that I've always wanted to be in life, I can't help but feel anger at how long it took me to get here. And at how difficult the obstacles that impeded my path were to overcome.
Instead of allowing myself to fester in the misery of my resentments, I decided to work through these toxic thoughts. One of the ways I try to deal with issues in my life, is to read/watch stories with characters that have gone through similar life experiences. I picked out a few instances in classic film in which the main character lives a sheltered life and they find themselves thrust into a new life.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Holly Golightly AKA Lula Mae Barnes

At the tender age of 14, Lula marries an older Texan man and is seemingly destined for a simple life of being a wife and mother. Lula annuls the marriage (or so she says) and transforms herself into Holly Golightly, a fashionable New Yorker who parties hard and lives beyond her means whenever possible. Holly hasn't completely severed her connection to her Lula past. It seems as though her husband still supports her brother who is in the army. The thing that fascinates me most about this movie is how Holly completely transforms herself into a new person. But since you can't completely sever blood ties, she doesn't lose all of Lula as he may have hoped.

Now, Voyager (1941) - Charlotte Vale

This movie means so much to me. So much in fact that I walked out of the Brattle in the middle of the screening, when the two idiotic women sitting behind me chose to mock this amazing film. I simply would not let these b****es ruin the movie. Charlotte Vale is a Bostonian, like me, but from a completely different generation. She is cursed by simply being born the last child of Vale matriarch Mrs. Vale. Her mother is determined to keep Charlotte under her complete control which includes managing her daughter's diet, wardrobe, social life and romantic life. Charlotte finds the strength, with the help of Dr. Jaquith, to become her own person and to lead her own life. The way she stands up to her mother inspires me when I have difficulties with my own mom.

A Patch of Blue (1965) - Selina D'Arcey

A sweet girl who suffers from the mental and physical abuse of a jealous and cruel mother, Selina has gone through so much but still maintains an optimism that is inspiring. Selina is blinded at a young age, a result of a fight between her parents. Her mother, Rose-Ann, is a part-time prostitute who brings random men whom for money. One of these men rapes Selina and the aging Rose-Ann continues to harbor jealousy towards her young and beautiful daughter while she herself grows older and uglier. Selina finds love and hope in the understanding arms of Gordon Ralfe who does not understand why Selina has to suffer so. He is black, she is white, he is seeing, she is blind but their differences are only on the surface. This story always gives me a good feeling inside. For me, the message of the movie is that no matter how dire your circumstances, there is always hope for a better life.


  1. Fantastic post, Raquelle! I have similar feelings about Now, Voyager though I'm not from Boston. I can't even imagine anyone making fun of that film, it's so powerful! And I so envy Holly Golightly.. I'd love to take on a whole new persona and shed the 'old' me.

  2. I love Now, Voyager, even if I am as far removed from Boston as one can get. I can't see how anyone with any taste or dignity could mock that film. And I do think all of us to one degree or another wish we could be like Holly Golightly and transform ourselves into a whole new person.

    I have to admit that I also use movies to work through issues, although being a guy it usually means burning up pent up aggression by watching action movies. Of course, being who I am, these are either classic action films (The Great Escape, The Seven Samurai) or overly intellectual ones (V for Vendetta or Fight Club)!

  3. Boston is a weird place. It used to be very uptight and conservative. Now it's very liberal with vestiges of it's Puritanical past!

    Kate - Isn't the thought of starting a completely new life intoxicating? My only thing is I wouldn't want to give up the people in my life. Otherwise, a life makeover would be welcome.

    Mercurie - The great thing about movies is that they feed various needs. I know sometimes I like to watch fluff to destress and sometimes my soul craves something meatier!

  4. I'm a big fan of all three of these movies. In fact, Breakfast At Tiffany's was on TCM again tonight. I've always loved that scene where Audrey Hepburn crawls in through the window to curl up next to George Peppard ...

  5. never saw breakfast at Tiffany's or any other Audrey fick for that matter but i do enjoy the other 2 mentioned. Now Voyager is one of Bette's masterworks and her transformation and struggles are so beautifully written and played. a great film but the ONE thing that is very hard to handle for me is the whole cigarette thing. i just do NOT find that at all romantic, longingly staring into each others eyes through this wicked cloud of smoke. i try to put myself in the times it was made and it doesnt bug me as much. regardless i sure wouldnt laugh at it or mock it in a theater.
    Patch of Blue is a wonderful ultimtately uplifting film. i defy anyone to start watching it and not be totally engrossed in those characters and that story. a brilliant piece of acting my Sydney Poitier.

    personally my "hope" film is Shawshank Redemption. i love that movie, seen it so many times i can play it in my head! but when the times are a weighing down on me, i use it as a little reminder not to give up!
    i also love to watch (and read) the Fountainhead because it reminds me that i must be true to myself.

    Quelle i'm sorry you had a such a struggle to get where you are but remember all those obstacles that you overcame helped make you who you are today. so i guess if you like who you are then they are partially to thank for it. if you dont like who you are, then ummm, just tell me to shut the hell up ;)

  6. I've never seen Breakfast at Tiffany's, but have always wanted to. I really like your reason for watching this film because I have been feeling similarly, and now I have more of an incentive to go out and rent it. Thanks :)

  7. Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my favorite films ever. But as people are different we love films for different reasons. When I read your description of it I realize I haven't thought much of that aspect of the movie. Maybe it's time to watch it again?

    Now Voyager is music in my ears! I think it must be 25 years since I saw it and I can't say I remember much of the film itself apart from the music. I may have been too young to get it but I've had a record of the brilliant Max Steiner score ever since my early teens. It's a brilliant score but I know Bette didn't like it.

    A Patch Of Blue I haven't seen.


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