Last week, for duty’s sake, I caught a matinee of Orphan, the disposable but not entirely deplorable new horror flick in which a troublemaking tween adoptee seems strangely wise beyond her years and psychopathic beyond her means. Some people have suggested that Orphan perpetuates the baseless stigmatization of orphans. Maybe. I have an adopted sibling myself, and he too was sort of a disinformation specialist in his day. But never was there any bludgeoning of nuns at the side of the frozen road, thank goodness.
So I would like to ask, instead, if Orphan perpetuates the baseless stigmatization of Connecticut. Maybe. I had a treehouse myself, and it too concealed some evidence of mischief in its day. But never was it quite so treacherously high off the ground, thank goodness.
Maybe I’m overreacting, or just feeling homesick, but I can’t help but wonder what the movies of recent years have been trying to tell me about my birthplace. I know this much: It’s not good.
And I know that before it was in the movies, it was in the books--influential ones, like Revolutionary Road, The Stepford Wives and The Ice Storm. None of which have happy endings. Or beginnings or middles. But--lately, anyway--the Connecticut-set movies really seem to be piling on.
Although it’s already rather a grim exercise, I’ve begun cataloging common elements, and correlating them with recent films in which they occur. I’m sure there are more. Help me out here.
A) Aggressive upper-middle-class anomie B) A disillusioned professor C) An architect living in a fancy but gloomy house D) Actor Martin Donovan living in gloomy house E) A well-heeled but quite solemn story with the word ‘road’ in its title F) Implications of incest, deleterious self-medication and the misuse of a family piano G) At least one injured, dead or dead-inside child H) At least one very troubled marriage I) At least one shattered family J) A graphic miscarriage K) No point, really
The Haunting in Connecticut (2009): F, H, I The Ice Storm (1997): A, G, H, I The Life Before Her Eyes (2007): A, G, H, I Orphan (2009): A, C, F, G, H, I, J The Quiet (2005): A, C, D, F, G, H, I, K Rachel Getting Married (2008): A, G, H, I, Reservation Road (2007): A, E, G, H, I, Revolutionary Road (2008): A, E, G, H, I, J The Stepford Wives (1975, 2004): A, H, I The Visitor (2007): A, B The Women (remake, 2008): A, K