20.3.09

I AM Freaksworthy!

On and off for about a year, Netflix has been recommending the movie Freaks to me based on some of the movies I've given high ratings to.




...Huh.

I was skeptical.

Here's the description:

"Director Tod Browning cast authentic circus folk, not actors, in this Greek tragedy about sideshow "freaks." Normal-sized trapeze artist Cleopatra (Olga Baclanova) marries diminutive Hans ( Harry Earles) with plans to poison him, take his inheritance and marry the brute Hercules (Henry Victor). When the freaks uncover Cleopatra's scheme and Hercules forces himself on an innocent girl, they gang up on the two miscreants. Wallace Ford also stars."

Hmmmm. Sounds like an excuse to exploit people with disabilities, and not even thinly veiled! But 4&1/2 stars? Maybe it's pretty good after all...? Anyway, I KNEW Shannon wouldn't be interested in this movie, but my curiosity got the best of me and I rented it through iTunes to watch on the plane on my way to or from Palm Springs. I ended up reading on the way there and being talked at by a woman who hates..well, everything on the way back; so it sat on my iPhone until Wednesday night. My rental would expire in a few days so I would have to watch it or eat the buck 99.

What the heck. I popped in my earbuds and started to watch.

Okay, so it's not the best movie I've ever seen, but I really enjoyed it. I especially loved that these people with disabilities were shown living their lives. I can't really explain it, but I loved to see these people able to take care of themselves and eachother while engaging in the kinds of petty dramas everyone experiences. Like the siamese twins. One of them is married to a man who loathes her sister (the feeling is mutual) and doesn't want her to "hang around that tramp anymore!" Voyeuristic? Oh, hell yes. But there was no call for pity. These "freaks" were portrayed as the people they are and were (I'm assuming many of them are gone now - the film was made in 1932) - taking care of themselves and taking care of eachother. I loved that.

Now I truly am Freaksworthy!

1 comment:

Rev Transit said...

I echo the thoughts above. Given that we're talking 1932 here, I thought the social statements were really advanced. Nonetheless, it takes a special kind of nut to watch the movie and not be particularly disturbed. Congratulations!