Bruce Hall Goes Overboard
By Bruce Hall
June 4, 2013
She suspects at first that this is an obvious lie, so I unexpectedly had to give the film credit for being self aware. in response, Russell goes so far as to have a resourceful friend whip up some fake family photographs (this was in the days before Photoshop, so that’s one hell of a friend) to bolster the deception – a deception that Kurt, the kids and the Best Friend coordinate with Teutonic precision. It works, and it’s all the convincing she needs, because movies.
She resigns herself to the fact that this is her life and she is home. Queue the obvious story beats – Goldie can’t cook, can’t clean, and can’t do anything the mother of four children should be able to do. She is humiliated and in over her head and for a while, Kurt’s demonic plan works to perfection. But just when she doubts herself the most, she suddenly bonds with the kids, has an epiphany right at the midpoint of the film and begins to take pride in her new “family”. Russell now wants to tell the truth but can’t, because the horrible lie is now wound way too tight to unravel neatly.
So her alter ego falls in love with him, and he unexpectedly falls in love with her. They have a romantic moment and boom, they make sweet, earth shattering love the likes of which neither have ever experienced before. Clearly, these two are meant to be together all along. At this point, The Missus turns to me and says, without irony:
“That’s so sweet, I love this movie!”
My response was: “So now he’s guilty of kidnapping, brainwashing AND rape? What is this guy, (untimely reference alert) David Koresh?”
The Missus was displeased.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the point of the story, and the person who wrote the script is the same person who wrote Mrs. Doubtfire and the reboot of Freaky Friday, so a higher than average level of irony was to be expected. I genuinely give the story credit for simply finding a fairly creative way to tell the very old tale of how opposites often attract. The movie’s well enough acted, the leads have good chemistry (and one of them is Kurt Freaking Russell), there are some amusing, memorable supporting players…it’s a harmlessly enjoyable date movie.
Except for the rapey part. You see, Kurt’s character was a carpenter who built something for Goldie, who then refused to pay him. She owed him $600, so he decides to kidnap her, brainwash her into believing she was someone she was not, and enlists the help of four children and a former Coast Guard officer to put her into temporary slavery. And since she had no idea who she was (thanks to the brainwashing) – and the “real” her would never have consented to it – when he has sex with her, he basically rapes her.
And that is the basis of a romantic comedy. And I get that it’s a comedy but…dude…that’s fucked up.