March 8th, 2006

breaking bad

Life Is Sweet

I saw most of Life is Sweet by Mike Leigh last night. An improvised film starring the usual Mike Leigh faithfuls (and David Thewlis), about a few days in the life of a working class London family.

IMDB review I don't think I'm being overly sentimental when I say that, sometimes we need films that show us that, on the whole, people are good and trying to do the best they can in a difficult world. I don't see many directors who are willing to show us flawed characters who fight through difficulties with heart and humor and work things out.

Nothing much happened, none of the problems was completely resolved. Timothy Spall is perhaps not quite up to his usual standard, because his character is a bit of a joke. But Jane Horrocks as a young woman who is a complete mess is amazing - in fact every single female character is full and real - Alison Steadman seems superficial at first but is revealed to be full of strength - incredible in a modern film to see so many good female characters.

Recommended (contains no space ships or robots, but does have licking chocolate off breasts).
breaking bad

The frozen embryo story

Do you think it is right that this woman was refused the right to implant her frozen embryo, because its father has changed his mind since (artificial) conception? I think it's a very difficult question, and I think the man ought to be kind to his discarded girlfriend, even though he doesn't love her any more. I wish he would change his mind. I think it was very irresponsible of him to make so much effort to fertilise her egg, and then renege. The poor woman can never have children now.

Having said that, I think the law was probably right. Refusing to consent to implantation is not like him forcing an abortion on her - there is no interference with her body. And I think any child born is due support from both parents. We must do everything we can to reduce the number of babies that are born uncared for. This mother might say 'I will never make demands on him for help or money' and she might mean it, but can a woman say this for her child? What if she dies or becomes ill? If a child is born it must be cared for, there can be no half measures.

So, reluctantly, I say that as there is no bodily integrity issue, it is better not to create an unwanted child. Though I wish the ex-boyfriend would show a bit of compassion for the poor woman.

A feminist blog that I respect a lot takes an alternative view here.
breaking bad

International Woman's Day

"To emancipate woman is to refuse to confine her to the relations she bears to man, not to deny them to her; let her have her independent existence and she will continue none the less to exist for him also; mutually recognizing each other as subject, each will yet remain for the other an Other."

Simone de Beauvoir