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Old December 13 2011, 01:20 AM   #913
stj
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Re: Movies Seen in 2011

Caught up with library copies of The Reader and The King's Speech.

The first was rather more interesting, but it got rather more fascinated by the erotica than in fleshing out the story, which seemed to have something to do with German war guilt as well as the abused loving the abuser. We don't see enough of Ralph Fiennes adult version to get the latter.

Plus the discord between the submissive illiterate off screen in the SS and the sexually aggressive woman in postwar Germany may not inspire complete disbelief but it is a little straining. One aspect, that people who in other circumstances never would have done such things, is muddied by making Kate Winslet's character such a marginal figure. And, generally, the role of social forces in such atrocities (Philip Zimbardo of Stanford Prison experiment fame labeled it the bad barrel theory vs. the bad apple theory,) is not dramatized by a bedroom drama.

The erotica is very well done. Naked people are like pretty scenery and pretty scenery rarely detracts from a movie.

The King's Speech suffered enormously by a continual surprise that 1.) people in their right minds gave a shit about what some German princeling thought 2.) people never heard anyone stutter without feeling the utmost contempt and 3.) victory in WWII depended upon a smooth speech by the King instead of the Soviets. This was puffed up enough to be a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. On a personal level, Edward VIII was far and away the man you'd most like to party with. (Especially if he brings Wallis.) And on a political level, when George VI actually utters the phrase "divine right" you're not really any better than Edward.

Hollywood may despise stutterers because perfectly smooth speech is just the only thing, but the general notion that stutterers are just cowardly losers (Reginald Barclay Syndrome,) is a little example of the real hidebound conservatism in Hollywood. It is of course the teasing that makes stutterers shy, not the opposite.
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