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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her

Are you of opinion that people can read other people just by looking at them? Once I read somewhere, “Don’t think too much of what other people say about you. They don’t do it very often.” 
THINGS YOU CAN TELL JUST BY LOOKING AT HER is not a new movie, but quite interesting to watch and contemplate in our lives. The film has five short episodes that have respective main characters and stories although inevitably some characters also appear in another episode.

The first episode is entitled “This Is Dr. Keener”. Elaine Keener—the main character of this episode—is played by Glenn Close. Keener is an obstetrician who lives only with her elderly mother who already could not do anything except with the help of the nurse. One day she invited a fortune teller that then “read” her using cards. The fortune teller read Elaine as a lonely woman, secretive, aloof, no friend coz she was difficult to trust people, but she was tough with her being alone and lonely, bla bla bla... She had a crush on a younger workmate but he did not seem to respond her feeling.

A fortune-teller is absolutely believed that he/she can read other people. But relating it to the title of the movie, can other people “read” Keener exactly as what the fortune-teller “saw in the cards”: a lonely woman, secretive, aloof, no friend, but tough in her loneliness.

The second episode is entitled “Fantasies About Rebecca”. This is the most interesting and complicated one in my opinion. Rebecca played by Holly Hunter. She was illustrated as 39 years old She was single, had a boyfriend—another woman’s husband. Their secret relationship had been for three years. She was illustrated as six-week pregnant coz she forgot to protect herself when one day she had sex with him. She had decided to terminate her pregnancy before telling her boyfriend. When she told him about her pregnancy, he said the same thing—to terminate it.

I saw her as a very tough woman, almost without any feeling. However, perhaps she was disappointed when her boyfriend supported her to terminate her pregnancy. After telling him that she was pregnant and he told her to terminate the pregnancy, she was illustrated to go to a bar where she found one of her subworker—Walter, a man. Rebecca worked as a bank manager. After meeting at the bar, Walter and Rebecca ended that night by sleeping together. The following morning, Rebecca left Walter’ house when he was still sleeping. I interpreted it as perhaps Rebecca needed sex while her boyfriend went back to his house. Or she did that coz in fact she got disappointed by her boyfriend? Or she did that coz she thought that her body is hers so she was free to do anything she wanted to do with it—whether to have sex only with her boyfriend, or with anybody else as long as she felt okay with that, and her boyfriend didnt have any right to interfere.

Going back to Rebecca and Walter. When they met in the office the following morning, Walter kissed Rebecca in her cheeks and neck. Rebecca seemed awkward with that so that she looked so cold. When Walter said something intimate to her, Rebecca said, “If you think that this will be a regular romance, you are wrong.” Walter seemed dumbfounded to hear that, a little broken-hearted perhaps.
Background before she ended that night with her subworker. A bum “read” her as a bitch because she became a Bank Manager while she was a woman. Her male subworkers must not like to be under a woman, the bum said. (The conversation happened when Rebecca was smoking outside her office, leaning against her car because smoking was not allowed inside.) Nancy—the name of the bum—suspected Rebecca to do “bitchy” things to reach the top position.

Apparently what Nancy said a bit bothered Rebecca. That afternoon, she left early from the office because she wanted to check her pregnancy. Before leaving, she asked Walter to take care of the bank on behalf of her. Before she left, she asked Walter coolly, “Do you think male employees here have sexual fantasy about me?” Walter, smiling surprisedly, answered, “Maybe...”

After she underwent the process to terminate her pregnancy, though, she cried. Was she disappointed? What made her disappointed? That she had to lose her baby disappointed her? Or the fact that her boyfriend asked her to terminate the pregnancy disappointed her? However, before she told her boyfriend about her pregnancy, she already decided to stop the pregnancy. She said to her friend who happened to be the assistant of the obstetrician, “His wife will not like it if I have his baby.”

By the end of this episode, Rebecca was illustrated to refuse her boyfriend’s coming to her house. Did she start to realize that he in fact did not really love her. If he really loved her, he would let her keep the pregnancy, wouldn’t he? In Indonesia, having a baby is one of the main goals from a relationship, as the proof of the deep love between the couple. Perhaps it is like this too in many other areas in the world.

The end of the episode made me draw a conclusion that Rebecca wanted to stay away from her boyfriend realizing that he did not really love her, the proof is when he did not seem happy with Rebecca’s pregnancy. Her decision to terminate the pregnancy was not for herself but only to make her boyfriend happy that could mean she did not want to lose him.

The third episode is “Someone for Rose”. Rose—played by Kathy Baker—was a single mother with a teenaged son. She worked as a writer—a lonely profession—this was what her new neighbor said. Albert, a bachelor, moved back to the house left by his late mother. The house was located across from Rose’s. Rose saw Albert when moving in and quite interested in it because she had a new neighbor. On the same day she met Albert in the supermarket when shopping and then offered him for a lift on their way home. Only from this “short” encounter, they could “read” each other that they were both lonely and would enjoy the relationship together.

The fourth episode entitled “Good Night, Lilly, Good Night, Christine” illustrated a short episode of a lesbian couple. Lilly was terribly sick that would kill her soon. They met for the first time in a party, where Lilly arrived with another girl, Vicki. However, since the first time Lilly saw Christine, she already had a crush on her. After introducing to each other, soon they became very intimate and involved in an interesting talk. This made a woman ask Lilly, “Are you couple?” Christine was blushed to hear that, while Lilly answered, “I have a crush on her, yes.”

How easy or difficult to “read” people as homosexual? In Indonesia, this is not that easy. Many girls have good friends and they become very intimate but it does not mean that they are lesbians. However, this is perhaps because people are still not confident to open up their sexual orientation. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to find out two girls are lesbian couple only by looking at their intimacy. Probably because I am not one so I do not know. 

The last episode is also very interesting. It is entitled “Love Waits For Kathy”. The most interesting thing from this episode is the strong sisterhood between Kathy (played by Amy Brenneman) and Carol (played by Cameron Diaz). They live together. Kathy worked as a detective while Carol worked as a teacher teaching to read using Braille. Carol herself was blind. Therefore, she depended on Kathy in some cases. Carol taught a little girl named June whose father asked Carol for a date several times. June said, “I know my dad likes you from the tone he is using when talking about you. However, I believe that he still loves mom.” Later that night, Walter—June’s father—didn’t show up in Carol’s house although he had promised her to have dinner out together.

An interesting dialog between Carol and June:
June, “Do you live alone?”
Carol, “No, I live with my sister.”
June, “Where does she work?”
Carol, “She is a detective.”
June, “That’s cool. Is she single like you?”
Carol, “Yes.”
June, “She is not blind of course. Why isn’t she married?”
Carol, “I think she just hasn’t found the right man yet.”
June, “I think she just doesn’t want to leave you all alone.”

Blind people will get difficulty to get life partner? Because other people do not want to be bothered by an invalid? It seems that what June said was quite right. Kathy possibly loved Carol very much so that she did not want to leave her. By the end of the story, Kathy was going out to have dinner together with a forensic doctor who helped her handle a murder or a suicide case. She did not tell Carol the truth that she was going with a guy. Instead, she said that she went out with her female friend. She did not want to hurt Carol? Coincidently at the same time Carol was waiting for her date, June’s father, who even went to a bar.
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