Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Film Review: If These Walls Could Talk

A bit of background first: abortion has often been referred to as America's second civil war. In the early 1900s, abortion was in the process of being outlawed (allegedly due to the efforts of a large group of physicians who wanted a monopoly on performing abortions) in most of America. In fact, by 1965 abortion was legal in barely 3-4 states. Of course, the environment this must have lead to is unfathomable - for instance, where would a pregnant 16-year old go? The answer was: to a quack. Inevitably, this lead to a whole lot of women haemorraging to death. Although the Supreme Court overturned this law in the 1970s in the famous Roe vs. Wade case, pro-life and pro-choice movements continue to battle it out.

'If Walls Could Talk' narrates 3 separate tales of people living in the same house, set in the '50s, '70s and '90s respectively. The '50s story has Demi Morre deliver in a sensational performance as a War widow, who simply has to get an abortion if she has to live on in that town. The scene where she tries to self-abort, and the ones with the 'quack' pack a wallop. The '70s tale stars Sissy Spacek who gives a subtle touch to her role of a pregnant housewife, who just succumbs to the sheer pressure and decides not to have an abortion. The '90s story starring Anne Heche is perhaps the most in-your-face of the three, but nonetheless effective.

Incidentally, a similar 3-story technique was used in a 1980s Malayalam cinema named 'Adaminte Vaariyellu' (Adam's rib), considered almost outr'e at the time. Of course, it is now considered a mini-classic (and the director K.G.George, pretty famous in the 1980s can preen forever, even if his latest offerings are almost excretory).

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