Resurrection (2022)
October 26, 2022 7:06 PM - Subscribe

Margaret's (Rebecca Hall) carefully constructed life is upended when someone from her past resurfaces, forcing her to confront the monster and the memories she has been evading for over twenty years.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rebecca Hall is so great.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Hall is indeed a wonderful actress. I think I'd see anything that she was in. This movie, for instance, wasn't really my bag, but I saw it because she was in it.

This was one grim and disturbing watch. David hadn't done very much more than simply show up in Margaret's life again (the tooth being the one exception, yikes!), and he did not seem at all interested in any actual violence towards her or Abbie, but Margaret was still so traumatized by his treatment of her and by his murder of their son that she promptly got sucked back into his manipulations and went to pieces. She began stalking and engaging with David, and behaving in an unhinged, distressing and even abusive manner towards her teenaged daughter and the guy she had been seeing.

I think Margaret had never gotten the psychological help she needed after leaving David. It's not like one leaves an abuser and is automatically fine, especially when the situation was as extreme as it was for Margaret. One has to deal with the emotional damage, and to learn or relearn how to have healthy relationships again. Margaret was driven to create an outwardly picture perfect new life for herself in which she had a second child she could protect as she had not been able to protect the first, and in which she kept an emotional distance from men, engaging with them only enough to get what she physically needed from them: a pregnancy, casual sex. It's no coincidence that she was seeing a married man who would be unable to give her much in the way of time or emotional intimacy. Her grief and trauma over her son and the abuse David had inflicted upon her went unacknowledged and unaddressed and was silently and insidiously poisoning everything.

A therapist could have helped Margaret get past her tormenting guilt over her son's death (it was not her fault at all!), and possibly helped her get to the point where she could report David for murder, which would have made it impossible for him to stalk her later. She also needed to learn how to set healthy, adult boundaries in her relationships. Her counselling of the much younger woman at her office, who seemed to be some sort of intern, looked inappropriate to me. Margaret was also fiercely overprotective of her daughter in an unhealthy way, and appeared to expect Abbie to live the kind of emotionally sterile, isolated life that she did herself. Abbie says at one point that her social life consists of visiting one friend, and her mother objects even to that.

Margaret needs to believe in her own ability to protect her child, but she's really just panicking. At just shy of 18, Abbie was old enough that she should have been told about David -- not everything, certainly, but Margaret could have said, "I was in an abusive relationship with a much older man when I was 18, and he has shown up again to try and mess with me. He is potentially dangerous and I believe that was his tooth in your wallet. Here is a photo of him, and if he tries to approach you I want you to refuse to have anything to do with him and to tell me about it. The police can't do anything about him until he actually tries something, so what we're going to do for the present is be on our guard and document everything." That would have done far more to protect Abbie and help her cope with the situation than paying her $20 to text her mother every hour.

By the end of the movie Margaret is experiencing what appears to be a psychotic break, with a subtle indication that she may be starting to return to sanity. The scene where she kills David is one of the most gruesome I've ever seen on film. I doubt the stab wound in her shoulder is life-threatening for her, so she'll live... and face murder charges. Showing up at David's hotel room armed with two knives and pre-recording a message for her daughter are indications of pre-meditation. She may get off on an insanity plea, but whether she does or not she is certainly in for a long stint in some sort of institution, be it a mental hospital or a maximum security prison. And poor Abbie will have her own emotional fallout to carry with her throughout her life.
posted by orange swan at 9:31 AM on October 27, 2022

It's been a while since I saw a film I admired but I didn't really like very much. Rebecca Hall is just spellbinding, and I can see why she wanted this film. It's a tour de force for her. As an experience, I found it deeply unpleasant and one I wanted to be over long before it actually was over. At a certain point, I realized the baby had to be in there -- there was no other possible payoff to this story. (Much like another recent film I won't name, because it's a massive spoiler if you haven't seen it.) But I think the film overplays its hand with the last scene; it really should have been more ambiguous, less clear that Margaret's simply hallucinating at the end. In any case, I feel like the film's saying some important things, and maybe it will help people in bad situations, but I would have been okay not seeing it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:46 AM on October 30, 2022

I don't know if it's just because I have a friend mired in the worst sort of post-divorce brinkmanship with the father of her children, but to me, the film worked marvelously as a sort of warped metaphor for the anxiety of an abusive ex-partner still having a claim on your kids.

I wish they hadn't had the little head fake at the end, because it was effective to me in telling the story it wanted to tell thematically whether it was real or not.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:39 PM on November 6, 2022

Didn't like the end either. It's really no ending, it feels like 2/3rds of a story. I don't know what it could have done differently.

The performance of "Blackwaterside" over the closing credits, afterwards, it got through my armor and it is wrecking me a bit. The song highlights how though she was young when it started, she was an adult, and she's an adult now. It's not so clean cut as, like, Enough... To be just damaged forever and knowing some of it is your fault for being weak or foolish, and just never really getting free of it, to feel your life disintegrating.
posted by fleacircus at 4:40 AM on January 28, 2023

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