Fairy Tales 2010

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Fairy Tale as a Means of Escape

In response to Alexandra Scott's post, I did not find this movie to be sweet. In fact, I was a little disturbed. While it is clear that her world view is shaped by fairy-tales, Laura-Anne seems very bent on the fact that she will not be happy if she does not have a man to protect her and love her. She goes through 3 boyfriends (Ben, she dates twice), despite the fact that they do not treat her well at all. Perhaps watching this movie was so strange because she is only ten, yet she feels her happiness depends on having a man in her life, and that she knows she is set for motherhood. This might not be so weird if she wasn't so young. Maybe I was also shocked by the very adult like demeanor behind these children's actions, but I feel like living in such a poor town as Siddick means that innocence is left behind very quickly, and I feel like this is where I felt there was a conflict. Obviously Laura-Anne has childlike fantasies of love and being a princess who is loved by a strong and handsome prince, yet the thing is that her "childhood" fairy tale is not innocent at all.
This makes the film more interesting, and I think Laura-Anne's entire worldview is summed up when she says on Halloween, "Laura Anne was too old for the children's party, and too young for the teens, she was stranded somewhere in between." (Or something to that nature.)
Laura-Anne lives in a place where there is no escape from the harshness of that life, but it is whenever she is outside playing in the surf or on the tree that you remember that she is still mostly a child, and that is why she dreams.
I believe that her fairy-tale fantasies are created because if she can't make her life seem like a fairy tale, even in its simplicity, the reality of her situation becomes very clear. However, she makes the story fit into her life, so that it is possible for her fairy tale dream of finding love to become a reality in the small and poor town that she lives in. The beauty of the movie is that her simple life can be transformed into a fairy tale with a few rhyming words.

Someday My Prince Will Come

In this short film, Laura-Anne narrates her life as though she is the princess at the center of a fairy tale. In some ways, this young girl does mirror the classic princess. She is at the brink of womanhood (or teenage years, at least), and naturally feminine in her desires for and direction towards a more mature sexuality. Though not exceeding gorgeous, we sense that she simply has yet to bloom, as is symbolized in the scenes following her learning about the transitions of puberty in which flowers are blossoming, and all sorts of plants are spreading their seeds in the blowing wind. Further, Laura-Anne has some understanding of children, as we see in her interactions with her infant sister and cousin, as well as a caring for animals such as the bunny rabbits they find; more obvious, however, is her closeness to nature shown through the film's landscape. The scenes in which Laura-Anne appears are remarkably beautiful and serene. Finally, the princess is undoubtedly a bride and mother to be, as she both verbalizes explicitly and demonstrates through her gentle care of the young boys in her town. Granted the fact that she has a crush on him, Laura-Anne gives her coat to Ben without question while they are together on the beach. He has been ignoring her nearly the entirety of the time, busily engaged in a most disgusting and boyish game of digging for worms. This scene certainly displays the gender role cliches of male as wild and vulgar, and woman as gentle, caring, and civilized.

There is a minimal presence of Laura-Anne's father in this film. It is evident that the familial masculine presence representing home and security which is replaced by an outside lover is her cousin, Steven. He cares for her in his initial concern for Ben's "two-timing" of Laura-Anne, and his desire for her to know the truth. In the latter part of the film, after Laura-Anne has learned of and begins undergoing sexual maturation (and her fertility is represented through the images of nature), we see Steven left without the young girl whom he once protected, and thus somewhat at a loss-- much like the father of a fairy tale princess.

I really enjoyed watching this sweet story unfold through beautiful pictures, and recommend it to anyone who wants to see something fresh and full of life!