Author Topic: Elle  (Read 477 times)

slowpogo

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Elle
« on: December 08, 2016, 10:23:10 AM »
Couldn't find much at all about Paul Verhoeven's Elle, which I recently saw and liked quite a bit. The Next Picture Show crowd said a few words about it on a recent episode, and they were generally very favorable. Tasha Robinson liked it but worried that "no human would react" the way characters sometimes do in Elle. Well, I love Tasha but I think she missed the boat with that remark (it sounded like one of her co-hosts thought so as well, but they didn't have time to debate). I think it's a film that reserves judgment of its characters' actions and tries to show that there's no such thing as an "inhuman" behavior. Unraveling the main character's initial reaction to an assault is the true mystery of the film.

Anyway, I wrote about it for my blog. Who's seen Elle? What do you think?

http://www.madeupwords.net/news/2016/12/6/elle-paul-verhoeven-2016

JakeIsntFake

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Re: Elle
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2016, 03:19:19 PM »
Unraveling the main character's initial reaction to an assault is the true mystery of the film.

For the most part, well said. I would say that it's not quite her initial reaction, but one that subtely develops by the end of the first act, which is a large part of what makes the film so special. That first act is standard home invader/stalker thriller fare; from there Verhoeven turns it completely on its head.

Otherwise, interesting thought. The film, with its ample external, physical mysteries, is really completed by its more abundant internal mysteries.
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slowpogo

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Re: Elle
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2016, 10:19:05 PM »
Thanks. You're right, Michele's initial reaction is fleshed out and given a bit more context soon enough, but that initial image of her sweeping up glass is what put the first bug in my brain. I would say that moment (the assault and immediately after) is the inciting incident of the film, for both the external and internal mysteries.

Totoro

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Re: Elle
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2016, 02:31:28 AM »
It's established fairly early on that she went through a fairly traumatic event at an extremely early age which continued to haunt her by memory and society for years, even until now. That inhuman comment is weird, but not surprising, given Tasha's other reviews.

I found the movie on the whole to be silly, perverted fun. I don't see many grand statements about feminism in one way or another, so I ultimately found it to be pretty shallow by the end.


DarkeningHumour

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Re: Elle
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2016, 03:10:09 AM »
What about the statement that rape victims don't have to be defined by their trauma and don't have to remain victims ? Or that you're allowed to define what normal sexuality means to you ?
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slowpogo

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Re: Elle
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2016, 10:39:35 AM »
What about the statement that rape victims don't have to be defined by their trauma and don't have to remain victims ? Or that you're allowed to define what normal sexuality means to you ?

^^Yup. Although potential consequences for any behavior are not discounted...the neighbor ends up dead, after all.

Bondo

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Re: Elle
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2017, 09:34:36 PM »
One thing I found interesting is when she's in the doctor's office after her mother's stroke, she doubts her mother, thinking it is a cry for attention. Considering this is often a reaction to rape victims, I don't think it was accidentally voiced in this other context. It is kind of showing her to be crazy for asking, which thus implies it is crazy for a rape doubter to ask too. Reminds me a bit of the "if we treated physical injuries the way we do mental illness" jokes.

Overall I really liked it. She's so judgmental of everyone else's romantic choices even as she engages in questionable ones (the affair more than the rape/rape fantasy). And then we see how she seems to carry guilt about her childhood trauma and takes a certain amount of suffering on through the interactions with the neighbor because she feels like she deserves it or something.

cinemareigns

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Re: Elle
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 08:53:38 AM »
I've had a lot of curious thoughts about the relationship with her father and that whole storyline. Did that experience help make her a killer? Was she a bigger participant in the murders her father committed than the film makes obvious to us? Does she take things into her own hands because of her horrible experience with authorities as a child?

DarkeningHumour

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Re: Elle
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 09:30:16 AM »
Bondo, did I miss your review somewhere? I have been looking forward to it.
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Bondo

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Re: Elle
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 11:47:36 AM »
The above is the extent I have posted about it after seeing it yesterday. I'm not sure I have a whole big formal review in me.

 

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