We have this one in our movie jar, but since it was playing in the theaters as a special event, we decided to sneak it in before we get around to The Searchers and The Pianist. I am so glad we saw this on the big screen because it was gorgeous! This might be my first actual Bette Davis movie, and oh my! Such a fabulous movie! I must see everything Ms. Davis ever did, because she is incredible! Such fire, such venom, such wit! I am almost without words, so I will just leave this here…
The plot is told from many perspectives, and it is so juicy! I am going to assume that you haven’t seen it, and I don’t want to ruin any of the electric moments by over-explaining. Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, a star of the stage who longs to play meatier, more age-appropriate roles. She doesn’t appear old, but she is more than aware that cramming her into 20 year old ingenue roles is becoming an embarrassment. I should mention, she has recently hit the advanced age of 40. Her boyfriend, and director, is 32.
It occurs to me that referring to anyone having an affair with the fabulously vibrant Bette Davis as a “boyfriend” is a perfect example of why there needs to be a better word for adults who are having a sexual, committed relationship that does not include the words “boy” or “girl.” What an awful term to use in relation to Bette Davis.
A young woman enters the story, presented as the ultimate stage-door super-fan to Margo, after meeting Margo’s best friend, Karen. Karen is simply amazing. Her best friend is a heavy drinker with a venomous tongue, but she has known her long enough to see the softer side. Through this introduction, the young Eve ingratiates herself into the lives of Margo, and her friends.
Eve is not as innocent as she initially appears, nor are her motives as pure. She has youth and beauty, but the movie leaves you guessing until the end if her sweetness can successfully snuff out the booze and cigarette soaked fire that Margo keeps so easily stoked in her relationships.
Everyone is brilliant, and witty. There are countless little clever comments that are meant to cut to the bone. I don’t really agree with the poster that this movie was “about women… and their men!” It felt much more to me a movie about comfortably aging, knowing who to trust, trusting your own judgement, and allowing people to see your weakness and fear as a source of great personal strength.
It’s also about drinking vast quantities of booze, and leaving cigarettes all over the house in convenient, cunning little boxes. It’s about smoking while wearing white gloves, smoking in cars with all of the windows rolled up, smoking in airports, and smoking in dressing rooms. Smoking in bed. Smoking over dinner. Smoking over cocktails. Smoking on stairways. Smoking in meetings. Smoking on stage. Smoking whenever they were not in the process of swallowing booze.