Thrilling Enough Sends a Mixed Moral Message
- Friday, March 22, 2002
Best for: Mature women who enjoy "payback" movies.
The Plot: Slim, a working-girl waitress (Jennifer Lopez), falls in love with a wealthy contractor (Billy Campbell), and the two seem to be living the perfect suburban life with their 5-year-old daughter Gracie (Tessa Allen). But Slim's dream is shattered when she discovers that her husband is cheating on her, and what's worse, has an abusive side that forces her to run for her life. When Mitch and his friends (Noah Wyle) try to find Slim and threaten her daughter's life, she turns to her best friends (Juliette Lewis, Dan Futterman) for help. But when she realizes Mitch has money and that the law is on his side, Slim decides she's had "enough." She learns to fight back, toughening herself mentally and physically, to teach Mitch a lesson he'll never forget.
The good: Lopez gets better with each role. In this movie, she perfectly captures the "weak-woman-turned-aggressor" role. Not only does she get smarter, but she changes physically as well.
There's something quirky about Lewis and her husky voice that works for me. Even though her role is a small one, she gets to deliver the best line, which is arguably the most controversial line in the movie as well. Campbell delivers the wealthy "always-gets-what-he-wants" obsessive husband so believably he makes it easy for the audience to hate his character.
This is clearly a "chick flick," not only because of the woman-fights-back subject material but because it taps into victim emotions that most women have experienced themselves or seen in others.
One great line in the movie, "Today is the price you pay for having a good life," is a profound statement for many women who have traded self-respect, values, morals and personal ethics to stay in a marriage or relationship where living the "good life" is their only security. Women, if you've ever been through a divorce, lived in an abusive relationship, or been treated like your opinion didn't count -- then this movie will serve as adequate "payback" therapy. Many of you will walk out feeling vindicated, and maybe a twinge guilty, for feeling good about what happens in the end.
I kept wondering what men must feel like after walking out of a movie like this. Do they relate to any of it? Are they entertained? Men should be warned: This probably isn't a good "date movie." Don't count on any romance after seeing this one: It's a romantic mood killer!
Enough will spark plenty of discussion about extra-marital affairs, betrayal, controlling behavior, obsessive jealousy, spousal abuse (both ways) and hopefully, what couples can do to save a marriage if any of these things happen.
The bad: The saddest part about this movie is that this kind of abuse happens everyday, and children witness it in their parents. It's only a movie, but watching a woman get hit and pushed around by a man is never easy. Watching that woman then turn around and get revenge by beating the man to a bloody pulp is (I hate to admit it) somewhat satisfying. Clearly, the filmmakers created the husband to be a real jerk who deserves everything he gets (and clearly by films end, you want him to).
But that's the problem. This movie counts on the audience getting swept up into the emotions of the story and overlooking the unrealistic things that just don't happen that neatly in real life. I'm not referring to the violence or abuse itself, I'm referring to the convenient and unrealistic ways Slim gets help along the way (through a long forgotten past boyfriend, a wealthy dad who never knew she existed, a personal trainer, an elaborate escape system, etc.). And then there are the special expensive gadgets she carries with her to exact revenge on her husband.
This is a tough movie to watch because of the violence to both sexes. It's a painful reminder of what women across this country are going through everyday and an uncomfortable challenge to hopefully make them do something about it.
Offensive language and behavior: Profanity and abusive verbal and physical behavior between a husband and wife.
Sexual situations: Slim calls Mitch at a woman's house and catches him having an affair. Slim hides in another room and catches Mitch sleeping with another woman (she's covered with a sheet) but doesn't let him know it.
Violence: The fight scenes are realistic, scary and intense and may be a little hard for some people to sit through. Bloody wounds are shown.
Parental guidance: Adults only for this one.
Final take: I hope this movie causes women in abusive relationships to stand up for themselves and/or their children by getting out or getting help. But the way Lopez does it, and the way it should be done, are clearly two different things. Lopez states in the movie that she doesn't want to use a shelter and "subject" her daughter to that "scene." Yet she subjects her daughter to running for her life and hiding in fear, which isn't any better. Most women aren't as wealthy (or as able) to do what Slim's character does. Getting help, not getting revenge, should be the message women walk away with. But then again, if this movie didn't have all the things I mentioned above, we wouldn't have an entertaining and exhilarating thriller, would we?
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