I have a list of prerequisites to be used with any man to whom I am attracted. (Nearly always, whenever I tell someone this they laugh uproariously. But when I tell them what the prerequisites are, and why, they agree these are all good points. Vindicated.) This list has five items, and not one of them is anything like “Will do anything for me, including breaking the law, breaking me out of prison, or dying”. But recently, I watched Pour Elle (Anything for Her) and I thought, why not? Well, a few reasons. Let’s start with the fact that I could never ask anyone to do any of these things. But neither did the woman in question.
Anything for Her is the story of a woman wrongfully imprisoned, Lisa (played by Diane Kruger), her husband Julien (Vincent Lindon) and son Oscar (Lancelot Roche). In prison, with no chance of appeal or release, Lisa is effectively suiciding by not taking medication. Julien cannot bear to see his wife fading away, and determines to rescue her. He turns from a mild high school teacher, who looks like your average hot dad, into a brutal thug, who even looks scary. And all the time I was watching, I was totally on his side. There are various bits of the bible, and the Book of Common Prayer marriage vows, which indicate a man should love his wife as Christ loved the church - ie, he should die for her (if necessary). I wonder - frequently, not just from watching this movie - how many people can truly say they would.
On the other hand, Lisa doesn’t know of his plans until they are underway, mostly because he knows she won’t want to go through with it. So I’m not sure if he really is being a decent husband or not. Is allowing your loved one to die, to give up hope, to give up their child, just because they don’t want to cause a fuss, or break the law, any worse than breaking the law and going against their wishes? Any better?
Some thoughts, aside from the moral and relationship issues. The small things can trip you up or save you. He puts his garbage in a different bin on the morning of the escape - but is seen by the building manager, so the police still find it and all those clues to his plans. But the escapees pick up hitch-hikers to get to the airport, so are not stopped as they are not a couple with one child. Julien’s dad finds out what is about to happen, but as he is a man of few words anyway, it is not too hard for him to keep it to himself. I really feel for the brother, knowing that he is going to lose a member of his family, but can’t do anything about it.
Children. They can be so resilient, but also so affected. Oscar seems to adjust to life without his mum. But then he starts to shut her out, it becomes just him and his dad. It takes a long time for him to accept his mother back into his life, back into his circle of family.
Forensics. I love watching and reading mysteries. I’m pretty sure that forensics could have provided some ‘reasonable doubt’ in the mind of a judge or jury in the matter of Lisa’s guilt or innocence. Blood splatter, and the location of blood on her jacket, would surely indicate that Lisa didn’t murder her boss. It was so frustrating just watching this, knowing that she was innocent, knowing it was very hard to prove otherwise - and wondering, how would I be in a similar situation? How far would I be able to go to prove my innocence, and what would I be like if I couldn’t? And how would those close to me react?