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Author Topic: Alma & Lureen  (Read 143710 times)

Offline Dave Cullen

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Alma & Lureen
« on: January 03, 2006, 09:49:17 PM »
Nearly everyone sees this story as a tragedy, and most of us have focused on the two biggest victims--or most tragic figures--Ennis and Jack.

But this is a story of at least four lives torn apart, and this thread is dedicated to Alma and Lureen--and any others you wish to add. (Ennis' daughters?)

Did Alma and Lureen suffer just as badly as Jack and Ennis? Was it worse for them because they were left in the dark? Or because the boys at least got a few weeks a year with the love of their lives, while their wives got zero? (Although Alma eventually found another husband of her choice.)

Were they just as trapped by the same forces as the guys?

Why are so few people focusing on the women? I expected the critics to focus much more attention on them. I expected straight audience members to identify with them very strongly. Perhaps they have been--are we just not hearing about it here?
« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 06:40:43 AM by peteinportland »

Offline Nado

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 09:55:44 PM »
And lets not forget Cassie.  :)
"It could be like this - just like this always." - Jack Twist

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2006, 09:59:06 PM »
Straight women and straight men, where are you? I'm particularly eager to hear your take on this. (I think we all are.)

This thread is definitely open to everyone--and it will be interesting to see if/how the four quadrants of gay/straight-male/female see this differently.)

If you are straight and have felt shy about posting, I want to encourage you to post anywhere and everywhere on the site--we really want to hear from you, and your point of view really enriches the discussion.

But hear in particular, we really need your perspective.[/i] Please join in.

lynn

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2006, 10:07:33 PM »
My god, dave, can't we get ANY sleep   :D - I need my beauty rest.   But since you asked so nicely... here is an excerpt from my review today on the main thread: "I saw plenty of angst and love in Alma, and without the distraction of anyone laughing during her "discovery" scene, I was able to cry along with her as she faced losing her marriage." It's very sad, she really did nothing wrong and hangs on a long time without saying anything. I felt for Cassie too, but she's not the first woman to throw herself after the wrong man, at least she didn't marry him.

I think many of the reviewers DO point out the toll taken on the wives, but that's not the main story, sad as it is.


Offline Caroline

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2006, 10:07:48 PM »
Dave.. I think the reason why there hasn't been so much focus on the women is because our gay friends are more focused on the story of the gay men.. after all for them it is a gay story and of utmost importance. I don't think that the plight of the women is so important... they are in periphery of the gay consciousness
How strong a person is can be measured by what it takes to discourage them.... church sign, Trafalgar Rd, Georgetown, Ont Canada.. 01/30/2006

Offline Caroline

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2006, 10:08:51 PM »
LYNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!hey us straight women have GOT to stick together....nice to see you
How strong a person is can be measured by what it takes to discourage them.... church sign, Trafalgar Rd, Georgetown, Ont Canada.. 01/30/2006

lynn

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2006, 10:11:01 PM »
Hi, C, I'm always here  ;D

Dave, tell me what the motive for your question is -- what are you thinking here?

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2006, 10:17:17 PM »
Dave.. I think the reason why there hasn't been so much focus on the women is because our gay friends are more focused on the story of the gay men.. after all for them it is a gay story and of utmost importance. I don't think that the plight of the women is so important... they are in periphery of the gay consciousness

Thanks, Caroline. We actually kinda thought that was going on: that there were some people very interested in this topic, but the majority of gayguys were not so focused on it, so it was getting lost in the discussion, unable to gather its own momentum. So we wanted to create a place for it.

Glad to have someone come right out and say it in the first 20 minutes. Which makes me wonder . . . how do you feel about that? (You being Caroline or any other woman here, or even any of the gayguys who thought it was important.) Does that piss you off? Or not? Tell us more.

Offline Caroline

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2006, 10:21:56 PM »
Dave, its been a little frustrating and a little worrisome. It was the same as when I heard the 99% gay audience laugh at ALma, when she sees Ennis and Jack kissing.. and when they both come in the door all out of breath because of their reunion... it was laughed at. as a straight woman, I must admit that I was really taken aback that there was a sort of hostility to Alma.. I think it diminishes what Ang/Annie/Diana/Larry/Heath/Jake/Michelle/Anne/Linda/ were trying to say about the huge impact that the peripheral people in the story felt because of this love between Ennis and Jack...
How strong a person is can be measured by what it takes to discourage them.... church sign, Trafalgar Rd, Georgetown, Ont Canada.. 01/30/2006

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2006, 10:23:33 PM »
Dave, tell me what the motive for your question is -- what are you thinking here?

My motive, really? OK, but only if you tell me why you had the urge to ask that question. Seriously. I've never been asked that before since this thing started.

But I'll go first:

Two main motives:

1. Because I think it's a crucial part of the story, and think it's been overlooked.

2. I had a feeling there were people out there who wanted to discuss it and not getting a chance (see my previous post.)

Offline Scott88

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2006, 10:28:47 PM »
I'll throw in my $.02 (and speaking as a gay man)...

Clearly, if you've read my posts, the major thrust of the story for me has been the tragic arc of Jack & Ennis's story.  But one of the aspects of the film I really cherish is its ability to shine a human light on ALL of its characters.  If the story had been handled by lesser filmmakers (or a lesser novelist), Alma & Lureen would have been treated as mere cardboard cut-outs whose feelings weren't worthy of consideration.  But they're not.  Proulx and Lee invite us to also feel their pain, their confusion, their own experiences of devastation.

And I'd argue this is what makes the film so powerful--it shows how EVERYONE is affected by intolerance and prejudice.  Everyone.  All four of these characters are victims and are deserving of sympathy.  Each has his or her own tragic story to tell.  I can't think of a more effective or personal way to illustrate the insidious ripple effects of homophobia in our society.

In terms of specific performances, while Anna Hathaway does wonders with her final scene, I have to say it's Michelle Williams who really rips my heart out.  Seriously rips it out.  The shot of her the morning after the hotel scene, disheveled, devastated, alone in the kitchen...I get a lump in my throat everytime I think of it.  Here is a kind, hardworking woman who did her best by her husband and her children -- and then she's blindsided by a revelation she can barely fathom, let alone digest.  Heartbreaking.  

And the scene where she finally confronts Ennis is a masterful display of pent-up emotion finally rising to the surface.  Williams knocked it out of the park.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2006, 10:33:01 PM by Scott88 »

Offline Caroline

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 10:33:55 PM »
Scott, the way that she holds onto the baby and cries into its sweet body after seeing her husband "throw" the clothing and such into the back of Jack's truck.. after seeing Jack confidently leaning up against the side of the truck.. oh that broke my mother's/wife's heart... and what they do not show int he movie, but Annie writes in the story is how Jack encourages Ennis to call ALma and TELL her that he (Ennis) is going away for a few days with Jack.. We know that she is just trying to come to terms with what she saw,,, and how she reacts in the kitchen, long after the divorce, how the bile runs up into her throat, but still finds the courage to confront Ennis for the first time EVER.... it is very powerful....and how terrified she is when Ennis grabs her... part of me wanted to feel for Ennis and Jack (they finally are together again) but part of me wanted to hate both of them for what they did to her...
How strong a person is can be measured by what it takes to discourage them.... church sign, Trafalgar Rd, Georgetown, Ont Canada.. 01/30/2006

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 10:35:54 PM »
Hmmmmm. Maybe I have motive #3. I think this is a golden opportunity for the impact of the film that most gay people are zipping right by. (I have written this somewhere before, but not sure where.) Most people will try to help out minorities when they can, when it's not too hard on themselves, and when they can overcome their own biases. But most people will move mountains when they see themselves or their own people at risk. When straight people wake up to the idea that every gay man they lure back into the closet--or discourage from breaking out of it--is another man likely to marry your sisters and daughters or even divorced/widowed moms and ruin their lives.

Moving to a culture where gay people feel comfortable admitting how they are and being who they are is the only way we're going to quit torturing millions of Almas and Lureens in this world. And there are still millions of them getting trapped and tortured in that web without knowing it.

Eventually, I think millions of straight people will realize that, and that may turn out to be the tipping point in really changing the culture.

So I guess I have a vested interest in getting that conversation going. I'm interested in getting gay people to see that it's an important conversation, for them.

So all of that is kind of a secondary interest for that thread, but if I'm going to be honest, it's lurking there. But mostly I just saw it as a key aspect of the book, and was frustrated it wasn't getting the attention it deserved. Or that women who ID'd with it had a place to discuss it.

Hmmmmmm. OK, #4.

I know there are a lot of straight people here, and I've gotten emails from some of you wondering if it's OK to join in. I have tried DESPERATELY to encourage everyone who has written me that we do. I don't want just a little echo chamber where a bunch of gayguys repeat their same opinions. I want to be challenged by people with different points of view, and I want my/our horizons expanded by them.

So we have been looking for ways to give straight people a place where they could especially feel at home. (When we first came up with a list of threads before we went live on Christmas Eve, we actually had one called something like Straight People Zone, but that didn't seem quite right.) We want everyone to be able to post everywhere, but we also get that some people need a place to get their feet wet. A place they feel particularly comfortable, can post and discover that people are really glad to hear from them and they start posting more.

So when this thread was proposed, that was all the more reason for it. It was not the purpose of this thread by any means, but it was sure an added benefit. If some lurkinng straight women and straight men feel more comfortable posting here--and/or more interested--and get started and then start sharing elsewhere, that would be a wonderful thing.

lynn

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 10:38:31 PM »
My motive, really? OK, but only if you tell me why you had the urge to ask that question. Seriously. I've never been asked that before since this thing started.
Quote

Uh, oh, now I think I stepped in it... I shouldn't post this late at night. What I meant to say was do you have a specific theory or hypothesis you are testing... remember, I'm a scientist at heart... but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar (or question).

I completely agree with Scott 88 on Alma and the arc of the story and how all characters are real and complex. And further, that neither Jack nor Ennis are perfect, unrealistic heroes. They are both lieing and hurting people who love them. Regardless of the reason, it's still painful to watch.

Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: The other tragedies: Alma & Lureen
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2006, 10:39:04 PM »
Dave, its been a little frustrating and a little worrisome. It was the same as when I heard the 99% gay audience laugh at ALma, when she sees Ennis and Jack kissing... as a straight woman, I must admit that I was really taken aback that there was a sort of hostility to Alma...

yeah, that really disturbed me, too. gave me the shivers.

some of us discussed that back (in the main discussion? or was it in the early days of the blog comment threads.) but maybe we should revisit that here. if people want to.