MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
The Invisible Man - In Theaters
Directed by Leigh Whannell
Starring Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen
In a beautifully composed and patiently paced opening scene, Cecilia (Moss) awakens in bed while her partner Adrian (Jackson-Cohen) continues to sleep. Carefully and quietly, Cecilia is planning her escape from Adrian’s luxurious home (and its downstairs laboratory). We don’t know much about their relationship, but something is clearly not working out; Cecilia needs a fresh start and escapes with the assistance of her sister Alice (Harriet Deer) to find refuge at the home of James, a longtime friend (and police officer) (Aldis Hodge) and his teenage daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). Cecilia is shaken and haunted by the trauma of her past, afraid to venture out into the world.
As Cecilia makes slow progress, she receives news from Adrian’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman) that Adrian has committed suicide and has made her a primary beneficiary in his will. This seems like good news, and Cecilia hopes to help Sydney finance her college education. But creepy things are happening around her; blankets are pulled off the bed and lights flash. Cecilia is convinced that there is an invisible presence in the house.
When she decides to reenter the job market and goes for a job interview at an architectural firm, paperwork from her portfolio is missing. Other aspects of her life (including her close relationship with her sister) are put into jeopardy by forces unknown. It all seems too much like the kind of torment she faced daily with Adrian. But Adrian is dead, and his brother has the urn of ashes to prove it.
So, what exactly is going on here?
Cecilia is certain that Adrian is – somehow – still in the picture and making her life a living hell. But what can you do when you just know something and just don’t have enough evidence to make a solid case? We will journey with her along the way, since the entire film is told from her point-of-view.
Fortunately, Cecilia is resolute to make sense out of things, and her friendship with James and Sydney provides her with a safe harbor. Like Jordan Peele’s films Get Out and Us, this is a genre film with something important to say.
Writer-director Leigh Whannell’s clever script forces the audience to ponder why abused women are so often put on the defensive. There are still invisible forces at work in a patriarchal culture that strive hard to push back against women who refuse to be objectified.
When you truly love someone, you must believe them when they say that they are hurting. No one should have to prove why they are feeling abused. While Cecilia is presented as a heroic character capable of taking care of herself, most of us are not so well equipped. We really do need one another if we are to be more than conquerors against the forces of evil - visible and invisible – in our midst.
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
Four halos: A film about female empowerment in the guise of a stylish horror film.
Three pitchforks: Moments of startling violence, occasional strong swearing.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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