A Sin Prevention Machine

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16 Responses

  1. Rufus says:

    It sounds like a great film. I’m going to see if it’s playing in Toronto because my own city never gets films like this.Report

  2. Rufus says:

    In terms of Tilda Swinton, he says that she’s managing her own adultery fairly well, but isn’t that sort of a crappy and inaccurate thing to write? She had two children by one man, with whom she had a fifteen year relationship, but never married. Their relationship ended and she now has another partner. Meanwhile, she still maintains a platonic relationship with the father of her children and both of them raise the children together in the same house. It’s perhaps a bit odd, but it’s not polyamory, adultery, or anything else of the sort. It’s simply people finding a somewhat untraditional way to provide their children the benefit of living with and being raised by both parents, even if they’re no longer in a relationship together. It actually strikes me as more responsible than many parents are these days.

    I guess maybe this comment should go there.Report

    • Matthew Milliner in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, you’re right. That is not technically adultery, and I have made the correction thanks to you. My mistake was assuming that a man with whom Tilda Swinton had a fifteen year relationship and two children was in fact the man to whom she was married. Forgive me for still making such assumptions. The man with whom I saw her on the plane, her “romantic partner”, was quite young, and the “father of her children” is not. So, there did seem to be a sort of parallel to the film that I thought worth mentioning. In truth, I sort of felt bad for the older guy. I now see, however, that all parties have denied this is polyamory. In fact, everyone involved seems fine with the arrangement.

      Indeed, by never stepping up to the plate of marriage one does, I suppose, avoid a host of difficulties. There was never, for example, a “divorce” in this case either. Joni Mitchell’s line, “We don’t need a piece of paper from the City Hall” line comes to mind. One might even be tempted to take from Tilda’s non-traditional arrangement the following lesson: If only the characters in I Am Love were wise enough to have never bothered to actually marry, then there would never have been any adultery, and a young man’s life (due to his not having been scandalized) would have been saved.

      Funny how marriage, like most sacraments, complicates everything.Report

      • Rufus in reply to Matthew Milliner says:

        @Matthew Milliner, Okay, I’m a married man and understand the importance of the sacrament of marriage. I was just thinking of the human consequences of divorce. My wife is a therapist and I’ve asked her before if there are common traumas she sees with her patients. She says the most common, not surprisingly, is sexual abuse; but right behind that is being a child of divorced parents. It’s very unsettling for children to suddenly only see Dad or Mom once a week or more rarely, or have to be shuffled around. So, even though I’d not have the same arrangement as Tilda Swinton, and certainly it’s not the optimal situation for the children, I do want to point out that they’re in a non-traditional situation that allows for their children to be raised in a household with their mother and father, which a lot of parents couldn’t be bothered with, frankly.Report

  3. Rufus says:

    Finally, here’s something I don’t get and, admittedly, I’m a bit out of the cultural loop these days- I have no idea what Cougar Town is, for instance. He talks about the anti-adultery framework as a breath of fresh air. Brett McKracken similarly praises the film for not hewing to the “infidelity is so freeing!” formula. But I can’t think of a great deal of recent pro-adultery films. In The Ice Storm, mom and dad are screwing around so they don’t watch the kid and he dies; in American Beauty, mom and dad are cheating and the family falls apart, and Kevin Spacey gets murdered; in Little Children, the adulterers are shown to be selfish, childish, and destructive… Maybe it’s just the movies I’ve watched lately, but the only “infidelity is so liberating” films I can remember are 60s exploitation films and a few European erotica titles.

    Can anyone name a few of these pro-adultery movies? I’m certainly willing to acknowledge it if this is some recent cultural trend.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Rufus says:


      Don’t forget Eyes Wide Shut. If I’d been asked to name an adultery-preventing film before today, I’d certainly have picked that one.

      I know, most people hated it, but I’m a diehard Kubrick loyalist, and if there’s a message to Eyes Wide Shut, it’s that passion is slavery. In fancy dress, perhaps, but still… slavery.Report

    • David Schaengold in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, I can’t think of lots of pro-adultery movies off-hand, though The Piano does leap immediately to mind, but in the broader passion-vs-principles vein there are innumerable examples. Probably the most frequent tack is to have passion and principle be revealed as not really in conflict, so that the tragedy is elided rather than resolved. The Patriot is the clearest example of this I can think of. The protagonist’s participation in the revolution is inspired first by vengeance, but his patriotism grows stronger. In the end, however, the character isn’t forced to choose. He can have his cake and eat it.Report

      • Rufus in reply to David Schaengold says:

        @David Schaengold, That’s a really interesting observation. I do see where they avoid the conflict. Another example I suppose would be those romantic comedies in which one character’s heart belongs to another, but it’s because they’ve been widowed and gradually become ready to love again. That always seemed too pat to me.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, The Bridges of Madison County.Report

      • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, Okay. That was one of the few Clint Eastwood films I never had interest in seeing, but I can see where some romantic stories that that “forbidden love” angle.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Rufus says:

          @Rufus, I’ve never seen the movie nor read the book but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express once and know that the basic story (to the book, anyway) is that a loving housewife in a dull (but happy) marriage has a love affair and, at the end, breaks it off and goes back to her dull (but happy) marriage wiser and a bit happier for having shaken things up a bit.

          The book ends before we find out that she got the clap.Report

    • Cascadian in reply to Rufus says:

      @Rufus, Damage with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche.Report