If you were given two months to live, what would you do?
Where would you go?
What would you want?
Amy Redford’s 2008’s Guitar, stars Saffron Burrows, who plays Melody Wilder. Redford’s female protagonist has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and given two weeks to live. On the same day of her devastating diagnosis, Melody is fired from her job (she clearly hated it anyway) and abandoned by her loser boyfriend.
She is abandoned by everything she needed, and so decides to replace everything she has lost with everything and anything she has ever wanted (a penthouse apartment, furniture, meat (she was a vegetarian before, but now that she’s dying, she craves a steak like a man on death row)… and a guitar).
During these two months, she encloses herself in her self-made cocoon; she never leaves the apartment and the only people she has any contact with is a delivery man and a pizza-delivery gal.
Now this blog is a review of films I see as rated too low on IMDB.
At 6.5 I feel this is rated a little too highly.
Unfortunately the film is badly written: dialogue scenes are stilted and uncomfortable. I also didn’t appreciate the scenes portraying the initial aftermath of her diagnosis- lacking reaction, emotion. As a viewer I craved reality. But what I got was an alternate reality.
I did appreciate the allegory of credit: her credit cards restore the life she is rapidly losing; they bring people attracted to her vulnerability; they also bring her the guitar that allows her to take back some control of her preparation for the inevitable as she refuses therapy.
She regresses to childhood – her beloved guitar stolen as a child she is able to claim back with her credit card and she uses the time in her cocoon to learn how to play it.
When things start to fall apart, the message of the film becomes confused: is this a lesson on feminism and taking control of life, or is this a lecture on the instability of capitalism and consumerism?
Everything is temporary just like life.
And the pleasure of threesomes. (SPOILER ALERT!)
The opening scenes of Melody in the city streets after her diagnosis really hooked me in, and in fairness did set me up with high expectations; seeing a crowd of people on the streets of New York where Melody is almost invisible within the camera frame was a powerful moment.
Perhaps an internal monologue so that the audience could really connect with what Melody was thinking could have pushed the narrative voice of the protagonist into the faces of the viewer.
I would’ve loved to have been able to make a connection with her. For me there was just no character arc, therefore making the life changing ending of the film too unrealistic for me.
Personally, if I had two months to live, I wouldn’t be holed up in an apartment eating pizza. I already do that now!