The untold want by life and land ne’er granted
I’ve never been mad on black and white movies. I watch them out of a sense of respect rather than much enjoyment – but Bette Davies moved me.
In many ways, it’s a clonky old thing. Terrible cuts and giggle-worthy back projections of Rio and the Caribbean but the story is very potent.
Youngest child under her mother’s dictatorial sway has breakdown and goes to a therapist. She travels away from home falls in love with a married man. Comes back strong and defiant. She negotiates a truce with the horrid mother who later passes away. Still in love with the holiday man, she turns down a very suitable marriage proposal and goes back to the therapeutic colony where she meets and looks after the unwanted, unhappy daughter of holiday man. She realises she can’t have her lover but she forges an unusual middle way of caring for the little girl who is also her little self.
Therapeutically that journey is very significant and sophisticated. This is what I scribbled in my notebook the following morning:
she is the model for us gays.
break free of mother. kill her with the truth (your inheritance will not be effected). but don’t look to a ‘better parent’ in love. know what you are. cry in public. admit your illness. and help others . accept that you are perhaps not the marrying kind (in the sense of hiding in a phoney parent like livingstone who gives her money and a house). but find your inner child make it happy, take it camping. and then perhaps you can live and roast wieners on the fire, happily. acceptance is key: wanting the moon as well as the stars is just foolish greed.