Introducing one of the most underrated villains ever in Lucille! It's a film about family, but how even with a singular experience, people can't help crafting their own path... I am currently reading Gogol, and some of the banalities of the townsfolk is ever so fitting. I loved it especially when Forsyth takes us out to the wild, bobbing on moonlit lakes in the search for forest children.
Arguably the most atypical film from the talented Bill Forsyth, who both directed and adapted the source material for the big screen, this nevertheless retains his strengths, warm and likable characters and moments of honesty couched in a world that feels as if it is weaving between reality and cinematic artifice. A very rewarding movie experience, helped by great performances and a nice sense of time and place.
Admirers of Bill Forsyth's Scottish films may miss some of their charm and sparkle in this rather more muted and subtle drama set in 1950s Idaho. However 'Housekeeping' is a film that becomes more unnerving as it develops, with the pastoral idyll gradually moving into wilder and more renegade territory. Poetic and thoughtful, it certainly extends the range and depth of this director's all too small body of work.
Would make for a fine companion piece to the Maysles documentary Grey Gardens. A beautifully shot, meandering dream of a film celebrating eccentricity and bold nonconformity in a post-war era where rigid, traditional values such as marriage and the nuclear family were being reinforced in American society. Quietly understated and criminally underrated, Housekeeping is a rare cinematic gem.
This film is excellent, and highlights the difficulty of not fitting into 1950's normal American society, and being slightly 'odd', so that people find you uncomfortable and confusing. It is a slow and meandering film, much like Sylvie's walks, where elements of story and folklore impact on the lives of Ruth and Lucille. Lucille refuses it, but Ruth finds it interesting. It is also something of a coming-of-age film.
This is an explicitly female story about the way women's nonconformity has always been pathologized and the anxiety/fear/trauma that creates if you are a woman that does not know how/is incapable of conforming. This isn't about ~rejecting American society~ it is specifically about women. It matters that the main characters are women. It matters that the antagonist of the story is a man. This film is about women.
A song in praise of eccentricity that depicts conformity as slavery and spiritual death. The ending, fleeing into darkness from the kindly old local policeman (this is one of the few American films that show how sinister such a character can be) is a perfect illustration of Thoreau's "If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life."
I want a Criterion version of this film. Not only is it visually outstanding, it's probably the only movie about women in the '50s that made me completely forget it was about women in the '50s. People who think crap like "The Hours" make some kind of poignant feminist statement should be required by law to watch it. Should I say "criminally underrated"? Probably. One of my all-time favorites in a walk.