Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

20 April 2015

The Briefest of Reviews from 1970

Frank Perry's filmmaking style sort of freaks me out, to be honest; all of his films seem like they're made as though they're horror films. This is a really strong movie, though, and Carrie Snodgress is excellent as the eponymous housewife. There is an odd moment at the end of the movie that sort of needs analysis for which I don't have time: the man with whom Carrie Snodgress has been having an affair for most of the movie, a man with whom she has (apparently) great sex, is played by Frank Langella. At the end of the picture, his sadistic treatment of her becomes a bit too much like her husband's sadistic treatment of her and she's had enough. But then she has some sort of epiphany about the masculinity his sadism is intended to bolster and she tells him to his face that he is doing all of that because he "is really a fag". And I think the film believes this to be true. Homosexuality was sure understood differently in 1970 than it is now. He's "really" a fag, but he's been having sex with a woman – in secret, no less; no one knows they're having sex – but he's having sex with this woman in secret because he's really a homosexual? Perhaps Sue Kaufman's original novel explains this a bit better. There is, further, an odd bit of foreshadowing in regard to this "fag" moment, in which after one session of lovemaking, Carrie refers to Marcel's love for Albertine in Proust's À la Recherche du Temps Perdu. Frank laughs and says that Proust was a homosexual and Albertine was a boy. Carrie resents being laughed at, but in the next sequence she is re-reading – presumably – Time Regained, a section of the novel (for what it's worth) in which Albertine does not appear.