A feminist critique of 'Lovers on the Bridge' with Juliette Binoche and Denis L----, by Martin Scorsese
This movie was a hard-core lesson in misogyny. The male lead character did all of the below: struck female lead twice, screamed at her in anger, conspired and went through a lot of trouble to keep her from getting a surgery that would save her eyesight, then lost his temper at her---when she didn’t jump into bed with him when he got out of jail---and grabbed her, throwing them both over the bridge into the water below, with obvious intent to kill them both.
Point 1. When he struck her, his first offense, she hit him back, fought him rather "girlishly" and ineffectually. He hit her again--in the very effective, "manly" way--knocking her on her ass. Then the next scene shows her tugging and pulling on him to try to get him to ‘open up to her’, and stop being so 'closed', and to ‘stop tormenting himself so’??!! Um, really?
Point 2. Next, he ran all over the city destroying the 'missing' posters of her, which told of the surgery that could save her eyesight. Better yet, he found the man who was putting up the posters and tracked him down, setting the car and all the posters inside on fire. The man came running back to save his car, and was shish-kabobed when the car did a little explodey thing; dead! All this to make sure the woman stayed with him on his bridge, and didn’t leave him or have that surgery she wanted so badly. In the end, she finds out anyway, and realized immediately she'd have to drug him to get away from him and find the people who wanted to help her. He’d never have let her go otherwise! Which she did.
Then, she forgives all this stuff and visits him in jail, where he’d gone for vehicular-exploding-manslaughter. Oh, she does love him, after all. He is angry with her at first; refusing to look at her, asking why she’d tried to forget him, why she hadn’t visited him---didn’t she know he’d waited for her? (Is that supposed to be romantic? Because it's not, it's scary!)
Point 3. So he gets out of jail, and they meet as they’d agreed on the bridge they’d lived on as homeless lovers. They have a good time, and in the end, she tries to go home, saying ‘some things take time.’ This enrages him, because he wants her to go to a hotel with him that he’s picked out, and he screams at her. She tells him not to yell, and that they need time; he wraps both arms around her and throws the both of them off the bridge! (Insane maniac!) They struggle underwater before freezing, staring at each other and apparently coming to some obscure deep-water understanding? (Or something.) Because they pop up on the surface and climb into a passing boat, where they decide to head to the Atlantic, grinning happily (nervously) at each other!
Was the lesson of this movie to clasp our abusers and oppressors to our bosoms? I was reeling. Was this for real? This is what we women are supposed to do with men like this? See past their problems, maybe, love them for who they are rather than what they do?
“Surely the fact that he was ugly and tormented and couldn’t sleep made up for the fact that he was evil and selfish?”
A resounding NO! I could just imagine the lead male character's reaction if/when the lead female decided she didn’t like her life threatened and wanted to end the relationship. He’d have killed her for sure. The man was a mad, selfish abuser.