Terms of Endearmenti is the definitive story of the human condition : anything you may ever want to do is exceedingly difficult and will not be worth it should you succeed doing it. Meanwhile you will find yourself randomly tripped by pointless, invincible difficulties which usually result in your death - should you survive them however you’ll just grow old. Anywhere you turn you lose and the prize for trying is that you lose. Good luck with it, which means you lose.
In this broad context, the scene in which the grandmother holds the little girl in her lap right after having stated that the little girl is too old for her on-again, off-again boyfriend is particularly instructive. The old woman knows exactly just how stupidly pointless the young woman’s life is going to be, in all its winding details (that only hold the appearance of novelty and worthwhileness for they too young to know better - as there’s nothing new in this world except for the history you didn’t know). She equally well knows there’s no way to communicate this, and no point to actually trying. It’s a grandiose scene. Here you go :
This is a film of and about women. The “men” accidentally involved are typical Americans, which is a polite way of saying “pathetic excuses for slime molds”. They don’t fulfill the role, and so the perfectly natural and perfectly healthy female need for male dominance and enforcement of structure and limit rapidly turns to desperation, to the degree that the mother begins a relationship with the closest approximation of a dominant male she can find, some random neighbour whose narcisiac dedication to protecting his ego from the vaguest possibility of a wound makes him the perfect closeted homosexual, while the daughter begins a relationship with a married accountant on the basis of his generous donation of three and a half dollars. Hey, it’s a show of strength! In the end he gets the only blowjob of his life, and a picture of a woman which mostly depicts her husband (an absolute avatar of what in Romanian is known as a pampalau). And he’s quite happy with the deal! The daughter’s eventual death to cancer elegantly circumscribes the larger problem : yes, a universe made out of women and their children is indistinguishable from metastasis. That’s exactly what it is : cell growth bereft of rhyme or reason, a society bereft of men. Might as well put a slice of carcinoma on agar and call it a day.
You should probably see this thing, it cleanly illustrates the difference between actual feminism and femfanon. Pro tip : the fact that women have nothing else to talk about aside from men and their children isn’t a shortcoming of cinema, it’s a characteristic of actual life. Making movies that depict faux women isn’t a victory of art over patriarchy, but a metastasis of ideology invading art.———
- 1983, by James L. Brooks, with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito. [↩]