Saturday, November 12, 2005
So, last night I stayed home at watched movies. It was pretty relaxing. I rented two, C.R.A.Z.Y. – the Quebec film about a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in 1970’s Montreal – well, I only assume they were in Montreal. It was very good. I really liked it.
The other movie I saw was Thirteen starring Holly Hunter as the mother of a troubled thirteen-year-old girl. From my vague memory, I think the film was made after interviewing several thirteen-year-old girls. But, I could be making that up.
I have to say that the movie got a lot of praise and I remember people saying that it was ‘disturbing.’ I was prepared for something disturbing, and I think it had the potential to be really effective, but the movie just falls apart for me for one main reason. Well, just let me summarize the plot for you:
After a pretty young white girl from a broken home meets a troubled racially ambiguous girl she spirals downward and ends up making out with young black boys.
You see, I simply can’t help but read this film racially. The American cinema still struggles with race and I think that black men and boys are often used as symbols of a society in crisis, or the ultimate form of trouble. This film is particularly blatant. In Thirteen, the world of drugs and teenage sex is filled with young black boys and the “bad” white girls who throw themselves at them. The safe and healthy world for the main character is filled with white people. Amazingly there are no black women in this film (the girls seem to go to a school where the black population is ONLY male). Well, except for one utterly random scene, two young black girls threaten the main character for reasons that are totally unclear.
I agree that many thirteen-year-old girls are more savvy that I was as a young teenager . Yes some are doing drugs and getting into trouble. However, I think that the only telling thing about Thirteen is that white America is terrified of black people, and somehow I don’t think that was the point the film was trying to make.