I saw this play back in college at the Cleveland Play House, Cleveland’s Tony Award winning companies (which finished its 99th season with Fairfield, which I saw twice). It was a very enjoyable show, well worth the time my college roommate and I spent waiting at the bus stop. I can’t give you that experience, but I this film does a good job of capturing the spirit of this play. Gweneyth Paltrow plays a young woman who has devoted herself to caring full time for her mentally ill father, a mathematical genius. When he dies, his daughter has an opportunity to come into her own as a mathematician. However, life, unlike numbers, are far less certain.
The play (and film) is called Proof, which is both ironic and fitting because there is a certain amount of ambiguity in the play. The story deals with themes of madness, genius, trust, and love. The characters search for proof, well aware that it may not exist.
2 The Accused
I have to give a trigger warning with this film. This film has an incredibly long rape scene. I’m serious, it seemed endless.
Jodie Foster won a well deserved Oscar for this film playing a rape victim. When she unleashes her fury at the prosecutor for making a deal with the perpetrators, the prosecutor responds seeking a daring indictment; she will charge the witnesses as accomplices to the rape.
The film tackles the subject of rape and what it means to be culpable. At what point does a person cross the line between a witness and an actor. It isn’t perfect; a key witness is found through the most ridiculous of means. However, Jodie Foster was wonderful in this difficult role. She was very brave to make this film. I also really appreciated the relationship between Jodie Foster’s character and the prosecutor.
3 Dance Girl, Dance!
Dorothy Arzner was the rare female director in old Hollywood. In this film, she tells the story of two women trying to make it in show business. Maureen O’Hara’s character is a classically trained ballet dancer who longs to make it in ballet; Lucille Ball plays a scheming woman who becomes a burlesque dancer.
This film is wonderful and has a lot going for it. Maureen O’Hara is wonderful in this film and Lucille Ball is striking as a scheming burlesque dancer. Plus, the heart of this film is a woman director examining the male gaze. There is a memorable scene where Maureen O’Hara speaks to the camera about this very subject. Go watch that scene. Now.