Patterns In Film Viewing: Woman as Motivation for Redemption

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Better Off Dead     1985, Holland

Commando     1985, Lester

Faust     2011, Sokurov

Top Five     2014, Rock

This Must Be The Place     2012, Sorrentino

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens     2015, Abrams

Ride The Pink Horse     1947, Montgomery

Pixels     2015, Columbus

Interstellar     2014, Nolan

A Night In Old Mexico     2014, Aragon

     It's often a few weeks or over a month that goes by before I actually type out scribbled patterns of thoughts I have on my list of ten films. Often I'm halfway through the next list of ten (as I am now)! However, this was a fun bunch of films, and I'll confess, I saw SW7 twice. Once to get the emotional component out the door and twice to really see the film. As I thought about these movies and what could possibly draw them all together, in their own varying degrees, it was the female presence in each film that lingered for me and how in each film, that presence served as a motivation for redemption for lead male character.

     I'll lead with Star Wars because Ray was the strongest of all the characters and my favorite new character. She is certainly motivation for Finn, and others around her. In fact, she's the new Luke Skywalker driving us forward! Although Ray is very attractive, her role is somewhat asexual in that context and continuing along that thread, three other films dealt with the role of the lead character's daughter as a motivating force. "Commando," "This Must Be The Place," and "Interstellar" all employ the role of the daughter as the most beloved person to the lead male character whose presence and love must be returned to or won back. I'll even throw in the young maiden in "Faust" into this category. Faust is drawn to a young blonde girl who he feels compelled to help out somehow for whatever reasoning. Almost seems like a lost father/lost daughter situation, and then some.

     The other half of the films have the female character in a more angelic/loving role. They nurture the protagonist and inspire them. The strongest for me was the young Mexican girl in the Robert Montgomery directed/starring "Ride The Pink Horse." Its a bit of a noir/western and the girl seems like a lap dog at first but is the savior by the end. The French girl in "Better Off Dead" is John Cusack's inspirer, nurturer, angel and eventual lover. (Disclaimer: if you've never seen this movie and enjoy laughing, you need to see it) She is countered in the film by the character's ex girlfriend who is the source of the character's pain. Chris Rock directed/ starring "Top Five" has Rosario Dawson as a journalist following Chris Rock around NYC and gets him to think deeper of things and emerge a better man at the end. "A Night In Old Mexico" has a bitter lonely elderly man meet a much much much younger Mexican woman and gets him to he happy and they end up together. Good for Robert Duvall. The female in "Pixels" is somewhat of a motivating force for Adam Sandler's character as he battles video game aliens and wins her over by the end.

      With the exception of Ray in SW7, these are all male led stories that seem to find their compass of sorts in woman. After all, in a relationship, a couple should balance each other out, right? Well I know I stretch my theme thin casting a wide net to connect these diverse groupings of films, but hopefully you enjoy my short musings and cool stills! I believe I'll do one more Patterns In Film Viewing (my 20th) and then come up with a new way to share my list of ten films with you. Stay tuned and thanks for reading. All three of you:)

About the author


Baxter Martin has a B.A. in Cinema Studies from American University. Historian and scholar of international & American cinemas. Baxter Martin is contributing to Film Annex by researching silent films and other classics that should have a greater audience in the film world. Baxter is also an adviser for the…

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