Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams: Hidden Words to the Wise

Amy Adams stands outside bar door with No Minors painted on outside in Sharp Objects on HBO
 No Minors: Is there a meaning here.

I’m so intrigued by hidden words lying in plain sight in Sharp Objects that I had to share Kathryn VanArendonk’s piece on verbatim here. So many hidden messages! 

All of the Hidden Words You Missed in Sharp Objects
Kathryn VanArendonk

The HBO mini-series Sharp Objects is full of shadows and echoes and things you can’t quite fully glimpse — mysteries you know are there but can’t yet see, stories with contours you can’t totally make out. History lurks underneath everything, and after two episodes, we can mostly just see the outlines. But it’s also a show with words scratched on its surface. Sometimes they’re pitch-black, slantwise jokes about femininity and social expectations, sometimes they’re warning signs, and sometimes they’re straight, uninflected daggers of self-loathing.

As we discover in the last shot of the premiere episode, Camille Preaker literally carves words into her skin, turning herself into a lexicography of pain. She writes the inside words on the outside, naming and defining her story on her body. If Sharp Objects is an extension of Camille’s own self, an indication of how much its camera is also Camille’s eye, it makes sense that many of those words are also scratched and painted on the show itself. They hide in plain sight, suddenly visible in one frame and disappearing in the next.

Many of those words are hallucinatory, appearing in places that words wouldn’t otherwise show up, or you can only see them for a moment. Beyond Camille’s own hallucinations, Sharp Objects extends her fixation on words into a broader visual style, often using signage and lettering as a wry commentary on characters and their actions. These uncanny, hallucinatory images are a huge part of the show’s meticulously off-balance, unnerving feel, but they are insistently not clues — not in the traditional sense, at least. You don’t need to see them to anticipate what’s coming, nor are they a bread-crumb trail of tips to lead viewers to a hidden riddle. Their meanings are not hard to interpret: They are words from Camille’s mind, from how she understands herself, from the narrative of herself. They’re barely visible versions of everything Sharp Objects is already showing us, made explicit in language. Don’t think of them as hints; think of them as labels. Troubling, alarming, deeply scarring and scarred labels.

“Vanish” (Episode 1)

“ASK!” is seen on a cubicle wall. Photo: HBO

The first hidden word we see seems completely innocuous. Camille (or someone else) has used thumb tacks to spell out “ASK!” on the divider of her cubicle in her St. Louis newspaper’s office. It’s exactly the sort of meaningless, mindless thing you’d do while sitting at your desk. And its message reads as a chipper reminder for Camille to do her job. Once you see it in the context of the rest of the episode, though, “ASK!” seems like the viewer being prodded to ask about hidden mysteries, and like Camille begging to be asked real questions. On Sharp Objects, it surely can’t be a mistake that the word is spelled out with literal pins.

“BAD” and “A DRUNK” are carved into Camille’s table. Photo: HBO

Now we get into the less cheery vocab. There are many words scratched onto Camille’s desk, but the two most visible are “BAD” and “A DRUNK.”

“DIRT” is written on Camille’s car. Photo: HBO

This is the first of the clearly hallucinatory words. It could easily be something scrawled onto Camille’s dirty car with a finger, but there’s no word on the trunk in the first several frames, and then it appears suddenly. (The image also returns in one of Camille’s memory flashback sequences.)

Photo: HBO

Visible on a highway sign as Camille drives from St. Louis to Wind Gap: “Last Exit to Change Your Mind”

Photo: HBO

This one isn’t a hallucination, but it’s an example of the way Sharp Objects uses written language as part of its visual design. In a show where we already know about one murdered girl, another missing, Camille’s deceased sister, and the likelihood of other mysteries of Camille’s past, a sign reading “DON’T BE A VICTIM” falls somewhere between sincere victim-shaming and a very dark joke about the cruelty of the patriarchy.

“TOLERATE” and “LIMIT” are seen behind the glass. 
Photo: HBO

Another of Sharp Object’s bleak jokes, there’s a sign about knowing how much alcohol you can handle lurking behind an empty glass in the Wind Gap bar.

Photo: HBO

Right before Camille passes out in her car outside the bar, her stereo system flashes a message: “WRONG”

When Chief Vickery kneels by Natalie Keene’s body in an alley, the word “YELP” is scratched on the door frame to his left.

“GIRL” is seen on a painting in Amma’s dollhouse. 
Photo: HBO

The sneakiest one of the episode: When Amma shows Camille her absolutely fantastic, uncanny Gothic miniature dollhouse version of Adora’s southern mansion, the word “girl” is briefly visible, scratched onto one of the perfect replicas of the house’s artwork. Based on the layout of the house, it hangs right outside Camille’s room. (Also notable: Camille’s is one of the few rooms not built into Amma’s dollhouse — the tiny door to where her room would be leads nowhere.)

Photo: HBO

In the final shots of the episode, Sharp Objects gives us the reveal that will be familiar to anyone who’s read the Gillian Flynn novel: Camille’s skin is covered with scarred words. They’re all over her back and her legs, and in the final frame, the episode title, “VANISH,” appears suddenly highlighted on the back of her arm.

“Dirt” (Episode 2)

Photo: HBO

Sharp Objects hasn’t yet given a clear shot of Camille’s entire body, but we do get a flash of one scar in the montage at the beginning of the second episode.

At Natalie Keene’s funeral, a church banner that previously read “Hope” changes to “Hurt.”

As Camille sits in her car outside the memorial at Natalie Keene’s home, Bob Nash comes storming out of the house. The license plates on the surrounding cars read “BUNDLE,” “PUNISH,” and “TANGLE.”

The word “SCARED” is seen scratched on Camille’s car as she slams the door and walks into the Keene house.

Another onscreen textual joke: Camille looks around Natalie’s house and spots a girl’s pink T-shirt with “Whatever” printed on the back. It’s a fantastic encapsulation of the person Camille decides Natalie was — someone stuck inside a set of girly social expectations and restricted to a palette of pink and purple, but whose own tastes and interests didn’t conform to the feminine norm.

Photo: HBO

We then get another shot of Camille’s car door. This time, the word shifts to “SACRED.”


Which leaves me with two questions. 

Does the No Minors sign on the bar doorway have a specific meaning? This is a show where words we can see have a specific meaning, and the uneven, slapdash sign saying No Minors is too deliberate a choice not to have some other meaning. Clearly, according to the sign, no one under 21 is allowed YET we see the brother of the missing girl drinking so we know the sign is a lie, and the bartender giving him a pass. Why?

2    What words will be hiding in plain sight on tonight’s episode?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Watching the Great American Read: Gone Girl Based on the Book by Gillian Flynn #book2movie #review

Gone Girl Movie poster featuring Ben Affleck for the movie based on book by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck

Watching Sharp Objects? Is it possible that you haven’t read  Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl or seen the movie starring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck? Gillian Flynn’s popular thriller made it on PBS Great American Read, meaning it’s one of the Top 100 books on your fellow American booklover’s lists. 

Now that Flynn’s Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams is airing on HBO, you might want to watch—or rewatch—the book2movie that put the author on that revered Top 100 list. 

Like it or not Flynn’s Gone Girl has a place alongside classics like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. The truth is the list is very egalitarian: juicy fiction like Fifty Shades of Grey and romantic reads like The Notebook take their place alongside the greatest stories ever told vis a vis The Picture of Dorian Grey, The Sun Also Rises and Moby Dick. The book has been published in translation around the world.

Let's watch a trailer. 

Gone Girl is available to stream on Amazon Prime, YouTube,
Google Play, Vudu and iTunes

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Matthew Goode, Michael Caine & Bill Nighy: One for the kids #book2movie

Image of Matthew Goode as father in The Four Kids and It based on the book by Jacqueline Wilson shooting in Ireland

Matthew Goode plays Dad in The Four Kids and ItOn Location in Dublin

Imagine Matthew Goode, Michael Caine, and Bill Nighy together in one film. Ah, the prospect makes my mouth water! Such a trio of talents working together. So what do I do when some of my favorite actors are about to star not in some rich drama or grown-up comedy but in a movie based on a children’s book written for 8 to 11-year-olds? Cover it of course. But I’m finding it hard work to get past this book cover.

Michael Caine, Bill Nighy and Matthew Goode are set to star in family action adventure pic based on Jacqueline Wilson’s novel Four Children And It (which is itself based on the 1902 E. Nesbit book Five Children And It). 
The story follows four children who are horrified to learn that their beach holiday is in fact a bonding trip with their potential future step-siblings. During an argument, they accidently find a magical, sandy, grumpy creature called the Psammead (voiced by Caine) who can grant them one wish a day — only to see the wish canceled as soon as the sun sets. The kids must learn to work together and choose their wishes wisely as an evil villain (Nighy) tries his best to steal the Psammead for himself. Principal photography starts in August.

Three lovely men—Goode, Caine, and Nighy—whose work I love but whose presence in this picture doesn’t make excited about it at all. Hooray, a movie for kids with quality actors. One that the actors’ own children and grandchildren can see—not the worst motivator in the world. I just wish I could be a tad more excited about it for the children’s sake. Go on, tell me how Nesbitt’s book—never heard of it—is a classic which impacted your childhood. I’m all ears.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams: My Take on the Series

Poster for Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams based on the book by Gillian Flynn

Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams

Are you watching Sharp Objects Sunday nights on HBO? I rewatched Episode One before tuning in to the second episode, a practice I think I'll continue throughout viewing the entire series. While it’s a mystery—Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) returns home to Wind Gap to report on the murder of two local girls to her big-city newspaper—it’s her character, what lurks beneath the surface to create the woman we see, that is the real mystery. 

Amy Adams stars as heavy drinking and cutting Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects on HBO

Amy Adams wears baggy grey sweater and black leggings in Sharp Objects

She’s a drinker and instead of packing clothes for her trip—she wears the same shapeless dark grey sweater and black jean leggings every day—she loads her bag with an assortment of vodka bottles, cigarettes, and candy. She drinks in the car, having poured the alcohol into water bottles. She drinks in the bathtub, aligning the empties on the edge of the tub, lining up the caps in an orderly row. All part of her ritual drinking. And of course, she drinks in her local bar. The only time she doesn’t drink is when an old family friend (Elizabeth Perkins) offers her a spiked sweet tea. No, Camille replies with a straight face, because she’s on duty. Which, we know, is utter nonsense. 

Elizabeth Perkins in Sharp Objects

Slowly, not until the very end of the first episode, we see it’s not just the drinking. Camille is also a cutter, carving words into her skin. Self-harming is not an altogether uncommon act for adolescents, struggling with all the stress that coming-of-age brings. Psychology Today puts the figure at somewhere between 13 and 23% of all teenagers. The practice is considerednon-suicidal self-injury’’ and is defined as the deliberate, self-inflicted destruction of body tissue, but it’s important to understand that cutters aren’t trying to kill themselves. In fact, they often inflict the self-harm in order to feel alive rather than numb. Quite a contradictory set of feelings with Camille drinking to a point where she feels numb enough to handle the pain of cutting, pricking herself with paperclips and needles. Her wounds are deep, the vanish scratched into her skin, a harsh directive she’s given to herself based on her mother’s own dismissive attitude towards her. 

Image from HBO's Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson who is rarely seen without a drink in her hand

Patricia Clarkson as Adora is rarely seen without a drink in her hand

We can see that in Camille’s house wearing your emotions on your sleeve was not allowed. Even now Camille’s mother, the chilly, Amaretto Sours drinking Adora (Patricia Clarkson) can’t bear any kind of emotional outburst. Adora too, exhibits a form of self-harm, constantly plucking at her own eyelashes. 

Still from Sharp Objects on HBO featuring Chris Messina and Amy Adams

Chris Messina, the detective on the case, has no compunction about drinking on the job 

It’s a complicated web the show weaves, fascinating to watch Camille navigate a world where she encounters a world of fellow heavy drinkers, if not outright alcoholics, at every turn. In addition to her mother, rarely without a drink in her hand: her managing editor at the newspaper (Miguel Sandoval) hides his own bottle away in a credenza away from his wife’s prying eyes, the detective working on the case (Chris Messina) enables her drinking with his own, an old family friend (Elizabeth Perkins) is half woozy with booze in every scene she appears in, her young stepsister Amma (Eliza Scanlen) has already started pilfering alcohol from the local quick-stop. 

Image of Amy Adams breaking down in Sharp Objects, based on the book by Gillian Flynn

Camille (Amy Adams) breaks down in Sharp Objects

This is not a character to emulate, to admire and yet we like her. She has our sympathies along with our disapproval. Driving drunk, erasing memories, trying to bury the past—which can’t help but come back to bite you—and blurring the present are not the approved methods for getting by in life. It’s not the way the vast majority of us live our lives so we watch, mesmerized at this walking train wreck, hoping against hope that like fellow thriller writer Paula Hawkin’s alcoholic Girl on the Train, Camille gets her drinking problem under control, the crime solved and her demons in check. All while creating a dialogue about the harm self-harming can do.

This is my summer binge, delicious and haunting. Are you watching?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig: Stanley Kubrick's Lost Screenplay Found

Burning Secret by Stefan Zweig

Lots of Hollywood buzz today as Stanley Kubrick’s so-called lost screenplay has been found. Based on the novella by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, the screenplay was co-written with Calder Willingham who counts The Graduate, Paths of Glory, and Little Big Man among his credits.

A film academic, Nathan Abrams, a professor at Bangor University in Wales, told BBC radio that the son of one of Kubrick's collaborators who wishes to remain anonymous showed him the 100-plus-page screenplay. “It’s a full script: beginning, middle, end,” Abrams told BBC radio. “As to whether that was the final one, we can’t say.”

Abrams added “whether it would fit Stanley Kubrick’s vision, that’s a whole other matter….You have to add into the mix that Stanley only ever looked at a screenplay as a blueprint to which he then added his audiovisual expertise.”

The film was adapted in 1988 by Stanley Kubrick’s assistant, Andrew Birkin, with David Eberts, Faye Dunaway and Klaus Maria Brandauer. That film—presumably written by Birkin himself—is available on Amazon.

About the book:

A suave baron takes a fancy to twelve-year-old Edgar’s mother, while the three are holidaying in an Austrian mountain resort. His initial advances rejected, the baron befriends Edgar in order to get closer to the woman he desires. The initially unsuspecting child soon senses something is amiss but has no idea of the burning secret that is driving the affair, and that will soon change his life forever.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Woman in the Window Casting Update: Wyatt Russell

Wyatt Russell has been cast to play David in The Woman in the Window
Wyatt Russell

Wyatt Russell has been cast to play David, the lodger who lives in Ana’s basement in The Woman in the Window. The son of Kurt and Goldie—named after his dad’s star-turn character in Tombstone—has been working his way up since he first appeared as an uncredited Orphan Boy in his dad’s 1996 movie Escape from LAI didn’t notice him until he appeared in Black Mirror. At 6’2’’ his rough-hewn good looks make him perfect for the part of the deeply attractive lodger sometime-handyman who Ana calls on for help throughout the novel.

Amy Adams to star as Ana in The Woman in the Window based on the book by A.J. Finn

Amy Adams in Sharp Objects

Amy Adams was cast as Ana back in April, the agoraphobic child psychologist who spends most of her days watching film noir classics and her neighbors. Witnessing a crime while watching at the window shakes her out of her self-induced wine fog. Watch Adams as Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects for a peek at how well she plays a woman slightly woozy with drink 24/7.

There have been rumors that Julianne Moore will join the cast; if so I presume in the role of Ethan’s mother, Mrs. Russell, the woman Adams sees in the window. We’ll let you know when we know. The film is still in the pre-production period, director Joe Wright still making his plans.

Have you read the book yet? 
Plenty of time before the film comes to the screen in October of 2019 but why delay? It’s a great beach read. 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

White Teeth by Zadie Smith: A Top 100 Book

One of the Top 100 books on the PBS Great American Read is White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Published in 2001 when the British writer was just 24 years old, I am reading it now for the first time. This 65-year-old woman is transfixed, blown away by the sheer force of her writing, her dazzling voice—and her ability to mimic the voices of London on the page— and the amazing epic story which spans the latter half of the 20th century. 

About the book:
At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence.

The novel was adapted for the screen as a four episode series starring Om Puri as Samad with Archie Panjabi as his fierce and feisty wife Alsana. Naomi Harris is Clara, the bucktoothed beauty married to Samad’s friend, Archie (Phil Davis). Their daughter Irie (Sarah Ozeke) is in love with Samad and Alsana’s son Magid (Christopher Sampson) who also plays his twin Malit. James McAvoy appears as their friend Josh, son of the meddling and entitled white folks, Marcus and Joyce. 

 It's hard for me to imagine this sprawling 485 page book being whittled down to fit the four episode format, and from what I can tell, you’d be hardpressed to find it on any of the streaming services. But let me know if you do, I’d be curious to see it. 

In 1970s England, cultures start to mix and cross with different experiences. Archie is contemplating suicide until he meets Clara, who is fleeing an oppressive Jehovah's Witness mother. Meanwhile, Samad has arrived in England to meet with his old war-friend Archie and to complete his arranged marriage. The two couples have different experiences of multicultural Britain and this differs from their children as the story follows the two generations across the years.

I hope you'll read the book, it is such a remarkable achievement. Smith’s ear for the myriad London voices is spot on, and what she says about the state of our diverse world is definitely worth reading right now.

Here, how Smith writes about Irie and Millat:

“And this belief in her ugliness, in her wrongness, has subdued her;she kept her smart-ass comments to herself these days, she kept her right hand on her stomach. She was all wrong.  
Whereas Millat was like youth remembered in the nostalgic eyeglass of old age, beauty parodying itself: broken Roman nose, tall, thin; lightly veined smoothly muscled; chocolate eyes with a reflective green sheen like moonlight bouncing off a dark sea; irresistible smile, big white teeth. In Glenard Oak Comprehensive, Black, Pakistani, Greek, Irish-these were races. But those with sex appeal lapped the other runners. They were a species all their own.” 
Have you read White Teeth? Where does it sit on your own list of favorite books? 

Friday, July 13, 2018

First Trailer for Mary Queen of Scots starring Saoirse Ronan & Margo Robbie #book2movie

The trailer for Mary Queen of Scots, the upcoming biopic based on John Guy’s best selling book My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots just hit and, wow, is it intense. My historical knowledge on the rivalry between Mary and Queen Elizabeth is woefully weak, I'll be putting Guy’s  'dramatic re-interpretation' on my must- read list. 

A long-overdue and dramatic reinterpretation of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots by one of the leading historians at work today. She was crowned Queen of Scotland at nine months of age, and Queen of France at sixteen years; at eighteen she ascended the throne that was her birthright and began ruling one of the most fractious courts in Europe, riven by religious conflict and personal lust for power. She rode out at the head of an army in both victory and defeat; saw her second husband assassinated, and married his murderer. At twenty-five she entered captivity at the hands of her rival queen, from which only death would release her. The life of Mary Stuart is one of unparalleled drama and conflict. From the labyrinthine plots laid by the Scottish lords to wrest power for themselves, to the efforts made by Elizabeth's ministers to invalidate Mary's legitimate claim to the English throne, John Guy returns to the archives to explode the myths and correct the inaccuracies that surround this most fascinating monarch. He also explains a central mystery: why Mary would have consented to marry - only three months after the death of her second husband, Lord Darnley - the man who was said to be his killer, the Earl of Bothwell. And, more astonishingly, he solves, through careful re-examination of the Casket Letters, the secret behind Darnley's spectacular assassination at Kirk o'Field. With great pathos, Guy illuminates how the imprisoned Mary's despair led to a reckless plot against Elizabeth - and thus to her own execution. The portrait that emerges is not of a political pawn or a manipulative siren, but of a shrewd and charismatic young ruler who relished power and, for a time, managed to hold together a fatally unstable country. MY HEART IS MY OWN is a compelling work of historical scholarship that offers radical new interpretations of an ancient story.
Let's watch!

Mary Queen of Scots — also starring Tennant, Gemma Chan, Guy Pearce, and Joe Alwyn — is set for release on Dec. 7, in time to qualify for the Academy Awards. Plenty of time to read the book first.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Ordeal by Innocence: Trailer for the Agatha Christie Classic Coming in August. #book2movie

“Smile Mother! So everyone knows we're happy!’’ 

Except they’re not. Even in the pre-social media age, families took photos, everyone putting on smiles as if they were all blindingly happy. In England, that’s what they call playing happy familiesIf you’re a fan of British detective shows, you know the phrase. It’s the kind of fake family harmony a detective might notice when interviewing suspects in a murder investigation. 

In Ordeal by Innocence it’s especially clear this is not a happy family and Mother will soon be dead. And by the looks of it, via the hand of someone in her family. Her large and extended family.

Amazon Prime has released the trailer for the original limited series based on Agatha Christie’s novel, set to stream on August 10th. 

In Ordeal By Innocence, old wounds are reopened for the Argyll family when a man suddenly turns up and claims that the black sheep of the family, Jack Argyll, could not have murdered its tyrannical matriarch — for which he was accused just one year earlier. The family must come to terms with Jack’s innocence and with the fact that one of them may be the real murderer.

Adapted by Sarah Phelps (The Casual Vacancy, The Crimson Field), Ordeal by Innocence features an ensemble cast that includes Bill Nighy (Love Actually), Anthony Boyle (The Lost City of Z), Anna Chancellor (The Hour), Morven Christie (The A Word), Crystal Clarke (Assassin’s Creed), Christian Cooke (The Promise), Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness), Matthew Goode (The Good Wife), Ella Purnell (Sweetbitter), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark), and Luke Treadaway (Fortitude).

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

IT: Thoughts on the Movie based on the Book by Stephen King #book2movie #review

Image of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise from the movie It, based on the book by Stephen King,

Bill Skarsgard is Pennywise in IT

Finally saw IT last night, sitting safely in my living room, on my fairly big-screen TV.  Good scary fun if that’s what you’re looking for in a film. Besides the creepy PennyWise the clown—played by Bill Skarsgard and who I understand will be back for IT: Chapter Two—the dynamic between the kids, fighting their childhood battles, their fears of being nerds, stutterers, fat boys, and losers, I was most intrigued by Beverly’s character. 

Image from IT based on the book by Stephen King, starring Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Finn Wolfhard,

Sophia Lillis is Beverly in IT

based on the book by Stephen King

Sophia Lillis as the young Camille Preaker in Sharp Objects 

Played by Sophia Lillis—who we can also see currently as the young Amy Adams in Sharp Objects—Beverly is the boy’s object of desire. A pretty redheaded girl-next-door type, Beverly—Jessica Chastain is slated to play the character in Chapter Two—is bullied by the other girls in school. Along with the garbage they dump down on her head while she sits in a bathroom stall, they hurl all their own self-loathing, all their pent-up insecurities, petty jealousies and worries that come with puberty.  Somebody has to be on the receiving end for all the hatred. There is a rumor that Beverly is a bad girl, that she gives out, sux you know what. In spite of the fact that she is the very image of a good girl—barely developed, pretty in a plain Anne of Green Gables kind of way, ignorant of her own appeal.

What also comes with puberty is by definition, menstruation. When Beverly brings home sanitary napkins, her father demands to know if she is still his girl. Rather than his desire to see her as the sweet innocent daughter, and we see yet another of Stephen King’s fathers with incestuous intentions.  His concern isn’t that she stay sweet and innocent, it’s that she stay sweet and innocent for him. 

Gerald’s Game

I—not someone who has read widely in the King genre—have noticed two other young women abused by their fathers in King adaptations. In Gerald’s Game where the young Jessie,  who adores her father, is forced to sit on the garden bench and fondle his penis. 

Dolores Claiborne

Likewise in Dolores Claiborne, the scene where Selena’s father navigates their seats so they are out of sight of other passengers on the ferryboat and then proceeds to plead with her to touch him is sickening. Those scenes are more horrifying to me than any clown in theatrical make-up.  

Doing a nominal bit of digging, I learn that in the novel, the sex goes beyond the scene where we see the father’s barely concealed desire, beyond the innocent-looking ogling of the boys as she sunbathes in a white cotton bra. In the book, there is apparently a sex scene, a so-called “consensual’’ gang-bang with Bev and the boys, Bev being the initiator and telling them the only way they can escape from the tunnel is if they all have sex with her. King writes that the first boy, Eddie, comes to her “the way he would have come to his mother.” 

Right. So that’s fairly creepy. Not so creepy that I will join the chorus of those accusing Stephen King of promoting pedophilia or his screen adaptations being part of some bizarre Hollywood pedophile ring. What I think is that King is an immensely prolific writer who shares a wealth of knowledge with us. If the world King shows us is weird and wicked, full of depravity, blame the world, not Stephen King. 

To be honest, now that I have seen IT, I'm much more open to seeing IT: Chapter Two, getting to know the kids as they've grown into their adult selves. Seeing what brings them back to town, and how they deal with IT, this time around.

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