Monday, November 17, 2008


I saw Damage when it first came out in the movie theaters in 1992 and I was left unmoved. My personal review of the movie mirrored the following review I found this morning from The New Yorker:

A middle-aged British politician (Jeremy Irons, looking and sounding alarmingly like Boris Karloff) falls in love with his son's girlfriend, a mysterious half-French beauty (Juliette Binoche). The screenplay-by David Hare, from Josephine Hart's sensationally stupid best-seller-aims to create a sense of tragic inevitability out of a banal infidelity story: what it achieves is lethal predictability. For almost two hours, the movie alternates joyless, desperate (but tastefully lit) couplings with painfully awkward family gatherings; then somebody dies and everybody's sad and it's over. Director Louis Malle has played artistic sugar daddy to Hart's shallow little novel-provided a lavishly appointed flat for a story that isn't worth a cheap motel room. Also with Miranda Richardson (who is dreadful), Rupert Graves, Ian Bannen, and Leslie Caron.

-T.R. -Terrence Rafferty
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker

But 16 years do not pass without some change in perspective.

Rather like when I read Madame Bovary for the first time at the age of 16. I HATED it. I didn't consider it to be Flaubert's "most important work" and I thought Emma was whiny and foolish and weak and naive - certainly not a signal of a new dawn of feminism.

It was only when I reread it MANY years later that Emma became more believable to me, and I softened slightly to feel more sympathy and understanding.

And while my change in opinion surprised me then, it shouldn't have. People change. Perspectives change. The lines we draw for ourselves and others change.

There's a purity and simplicity to black and white. But without all the shades of gray, where's the fun?

I've decided to read Madame Bovary yet again. I wonder what my reaction to it will be now.

1 comment:

Robespierre said...

Whenever I watch Jeremy Irons in a movie, I am always fixated on how bad his breath must be from his obvious, insane 3-pack a day chain smoking. Poor Juliette Binoche. Apologies to chain smokers who read this ....