Monday, June 22, 2020

Believe Care Invest: The Babadook

Why Amelia may be hard to identify with:
  • She’s a very selfless character, and there’s always a big risk onscreen that this will be the same as self-less. Her life is consumed by taking care of her disturbed son and the residents of the old folks home where she works. She has no hobbies or interests of her own. Do such people exist? Of course, but it’s hard for us to identify with them. We identify most readily with moments of self-interested motivation. 
  • It’s absolutely essential that, after we’ve seen her selflessly serve her son and the old folks, we finally see her (reluctantly and morosely) masturbate in bed with a vibrator. She does have her own needs. Of course, she’s interrupted by her son, who’s had a bad dream and insists on sleeping in her bed. Later, when none of the old folks are responding to her bingo calling, she starts calling out numbers like five billion. She shows just enough independent personality for us to believe in her reality. 
  • We care for her immensely, as her life is almost all suffering. Her husband died on the way to the hospital where she gave birth to her son. Her son is now getting increasingly emotionally disturbed, endangering the lives of everyone around him. 
  • We see right away that she’s a good, loving mother as she shows her son that his closet and under his bed is empty. We see her do a good job taking care of the old folks. When her son reads the disturbing titular picture book, she seemingly stays up all night reading him pacifying books. 
Five Es
  • Eat: She’s briefly glimpsed having breakfast with her son. 
  • Exercise: No 
  • Economic Activity: She works her job. 
  • Enjoy: Her co-worker Robbie tries to a bit to joke around with her, but she can’t really join in. It’s tricky with horror movies, where you’re trying to create an increasingly oppressive tone. I think maybe it would have helped us believe in her if there had been a five second shot of her and her son having fun playing a game, just to convince us that she’s fully human and capable of moments of enjoyment. 
  • Emulate: Not that I could tell. 
Rise above
  • She leaves work when still on the clock to just sit in the mall having an ice cream cone (with disastrous results). 
High five a black guy
  • Nope.

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