Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rid of Me

MPAA (R)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

Rid of Me (written and directed by James Westby) is an award winning, well written, well acted gem of an independent film reminding one of why seeing such films can be so much fun.  It played recently at Chicago's Facets Multimedia, and I'd recommend it to young adults and above to look for it when it comes out on DVD.  It's a movie that probably anyone who's ever tried really, really hard to fit in could probably relate to.

Meris Canfield (played by Katie O’Grady) was a sweet young homebody from Irvine, California who probably never had particularly high goals in life. She married a nice, good looking guy named Mitch (played by John Keyser) from Portland, OR who had been studying and was now working in Southern California.  She planned to live happily ever after as a happy home-maker.  What could go wrong?  Well a year and an half into her bliss, Mitch lost his job in Southern California and found a new one working for a friend from high school back in Oregon.  So the two pick-up sticks and move up to Portland.

It was a long, long drive from “sunny southern California” to the “rainy Pacific Northwest.”  Yet, when they arrive at their new apartment, they turn on the lights, and “Surprise!”  There’s the old gang of Mitch’s friends (minus one) wishing him a “Welcome home!”  After extended hugs with each, Mitch introduces Meris to them as “the Wife ...”

It goes down hill from there. At home at her and Mitch's while her husband's at work, she tries making friends with a nice soft-spoken Middle Eastern accented couple named Linda (played by Adrienne Vogel) and Masud (played by Melik Malkasian) with a baby girl (who always seemed to be about to take a nap, napping or just after taking a nap...) living in a nice home down the street.  She hits it off with them quite well.  They even tell her where she could get a small plot of land for free at a nearby community garden where she could start growing things again.  She's smiling from ear to ear. Yet when she tells "the gang" that she met this great couple that was so nice, she's told:  “OMG, is that the couple who’s home the FBI stormed like right after 9/11?  They took the guy, Messhud or something away like for a month for questioning!  Don’t be fooled, just because he doesn’t wear a rag on his head anymore doesn’t mean that he’s not Al Queda.’  Meris runs into soft-spoken, thoroughly western looking Linda and her daughter in the supermarket a few days later ...

Now Mitch and all his friends (male and female) were “jocks” (athletes) in school.  Meris liked to garden and cook.  She becomes an instant embarrassment when they sign her and Mitch onto their softball team.  No worries, "Just cook them a nice gourmet meal, honey.  Show them why I fell in love with you."  Nervous, she burns the main dish and "the gang" decides to order "pizza and beer" instead.  Embarrassed at her failure, she gets drunk and says a few things that she should not have in front of Mitch and his "gang" and she's dug herself into an even deeper hole. The next time "the gang" meets, a new person is invited into the mix ... Mitch’s old (and still single) flame Briann (played by Storm Large)...  Once again, only after extended touchy-feely “hellos” does _someone_ bother to introduce Briann to Meris. ... Mitch tries, sort of, to stand up for Meris (still his wife afterall) but the writing's on the wall.  One day, he comes home, early, and, with tears ... asks for a divorce.  The rest of the movie spools out from there...

Devastated and perhaps just numb with shock, Meris stays in Portland, moves into a 1 room studio apartment with simply a mattress on the floor for a bed and gets a job at neighborhood candy store.  She’s had little previous experience working, but perhaps because she did like to cook, this seemed like a pretty good fit.  Her two coworkers, both her age age are diametric opposites.  One’s a goody two-shoes named Dawn (played by Ritah Parrish) and the other is something of a gothic burnout named Trudy (played by Orianna Hermann) .  Perhaps because she’s so depressed, Meris eventually chooses to hang-out with Trudy, the burnout. 

Much still happens.  Meris keeps running into Mitch and his yuppier, jockish friends, who continue to make her feel like a loser.  But the sun does eventually come up after her long and awful dark night.  She finds a soft-spoken boyfriend who works in a neighboring record store.  Neither is going to make a whole lot of money but they’re both happy.  She also keeps Trudy and most of her gang as friends and even makes peace with Linda and Masud (who she only alienated on account of Mitch and his friends).

Her life becomes very different from anything she had expected it to be.  But between her new friends and her plot in the community garden that she had worked on throughout the film, she’s established roots and appears that she’s going to make it.

I loved this movie.  Parents, do note that the R-rating is fully appropriate.  Though much more is implied than actually shown, Meris’ dark night is very dark (involving some initially rather awkward sex, some drugs, a phase involving a lot of gothic clothing, heavy drinking, and a whole lot of tears).

I suppose what I liked most about this movie is that it reminded me of something that I've already known for some time: If someone is acting rather strange or anti-social (like dressing like a goth, abusing drugs and so forth), there's probably a story behind it...

Biblically, one is reminded of the Geremasene Demoniac who Jesus encountered "in a grave yard," who the people "had tried to chain, but now no one could hold down," who when asked by Jesus who was possessing him answered "Legion" (many things).  While everyone else was scared of him, Jesus had compassion on him, and set him free (Mark 5).

Thanks to this movie, I'll never look at a "goth" or a "punk" the same way again ...

<< NOTE - Do you like what you've been reading here?  If you do then consider giving a small donation to this Blog (sugg. $6 _non-recurring_) _every so often_ to continue/further its operation.  To donate just CLICK HERE.  Thank you! :-) >>

No comments:

Post a Comment