Many businesses like restaurants and shopping stores have taken big hits from COVID-19- especially movie theaters. In the last month places like The Loft, FilmBar, Alamo Drafthouse, and Harkins have closed until further notice due to the pandemic situation. How are you dealing without the movie theater experience? I for one am super nostalgic. I miss the Filmbar tamales and getting a big gulp of Cherry Coke with my Harkin’s Loyalty Cup.
Many movies have been postponed and the production of many TV shows has been halted. How are you substituting your movie experience? Many movies that premiered just before the pandemic have moved to online platforms, many of which are being offered digitally for a price of $19.99 for 48 hours of viewing. This sounds pricey for digital rentals but some movies may be worth it.
A week before the declaration of a national emergency and closure of theaters, I luckily got to see The Invisible Man. Elizabeth Moss, our shining Scientologist star, plays Cecilia who escapes the home of her controlling and abusive husband Adrian.
Cecilia takes shelter with an old friend and his teenage daughter. As she is still fearful of Adrian coming after her, she learns from her sister, Emily, of his suicide. Even though Adrian is presumed dead, Cecilia starts spiraling into a complete mess of paranoia because of the odd things she starts to experience which make her believe he is still alive. The first half of the movie makes you unsettled and anxious in your seat due to the amount of space between Cecilia and her surroundings. The stretch of space makes makes you wonder,
“Is he sitting in that chair?”
“Is he over there in the corner?”
It is true what they say, the unknown is quite scary, and in this scenario it’s not knowing where Adrian is. I think the significance of this film lies in its relevance to our current social climate. Many people in toxic relationships experience abuse and coercive dominance from their partner, parallel to Cecilia’s case. The central theme of dealing with the post-traumatic stress that follows a relationship with a partner that was verbally and physically abusive can almost be unbelievable, as in Cecilia’s case. The post-traumatic stress she experiences is so overwhelming that it manifests into “the invisible man”. Although it can be unbelievable, it is revealed that Adrian is in fact, still alive. His invisibility was executed through an optical camouflage suit. It’s important to stand with victims of abuse because sometimes it is not post-traumatic stress but, in fact, their ex-partners out to get them.
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is another film worth watching. A beautiful film about a secret & forbidden relationship. A painter, Marianne, is brought to a residence overseas to paint the portrait of a woman, Heloise, who is to be married to an Italian man. Painting Heloise’s portrait is not an easy task, as Marianne is told the painter before she was unable to finish Heloise’s portrait. Heloise is under the impression that Marianne is staying at her home to be her companion and accompany her on walks. Soon, their walks grow into an unknowingly intimate relationship.
Everyday Marianne gets closer to finishing the portrait and starts to feel guilty. This guilt manifests into her seeing a ghostly figure of Heloise in a wedding gown. She eventually finishes the painting and shows Heloise which disappoints her because Marianne portrays her trust. This makes Marianne ruin the painting, and this angers Heloise’s widowed mother. Despite that, she gives Marianne a few days while she is away to redo the painting. During this time, the two women’s intimate relationship escalates.
What I found especially moving is the characters reading the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. The story becomes parallel to Marianne leaving upset and abruptly. During her last glance exchanged with Heloise, is where Heloise calls out to her, “turn around.” The last ten minutes of the movie ends with Marianne watching Heloise across a concert balcony. In this final moment, we watch Heloise become overwhelmed with emotions as she watches the orchestra play. I believe in this final moment she was reminiscing on an eternal memory of Marianne playing a song for her on a harpsichord earlier in the film.
Portrait Of A Lady On Fire is streaming on Hulu so please take advantage of watching it while it’s available. It is a must-see!