Monday, December 19, 2011

The Stepford Wives

Year: 1975
Director: Bryan Forbes
Writer: Ira Levin, William Goldman
Genre: Thriller

I went into The Stepford Wives with little interest or knowledge of the film. I knew that there was something wrong with the Stepford women, of course, but that's all. Beyond that I've managed to avoid most analysis or spoilers of the story all this time.

Basically the story starts off with a husband and wife who are moving to the small, kindly town Stepford. It seems like a real taste of the country when they speak to neighbors who seem completely radiant, polite, and proper. Joanna quickly makes friends with a couple of the women but finds the others are wholly impenetrable. All they seem to want to talk about is housework or other simple things.

Joanna and her newfound friend Bobbie attempt to start a consciousness raising group because there is obviously something a little dated about the women inhabitants. From there, things slowly become more chilling and weirder. The story is wound tight and as it continues you can almost taste the tension getting tighter and tighter until it finally snaps.

I absolutely adored this movie. It isn't technically horror but it honestly might as well be for anyone sitting down and watching it today. While we have come pretty far thanks to the feminists movements of the past The Stepford Wives is still insanely pertinent. While the "truth" behind the story may be goofball, it certainly doesn't diminish the point of the film (although it does diffuse a lot of the tension of the climax). There's something about Ira Levin that I really appreciate. He might not have a knack for believable endings, but he seems to really have an interest in women and the world and rights they have.

Definitely check this one out. Now I need to hurry up and read the book so I can see if that's even more enthralling than this brief film affair.

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