Director, Lucky Mckee's The Woman (much like Kevin Smith's Red State) is a black fairytale for these troubled times. Saturated with social commentary, buried underneath a layer of dried blood and grime, The Woman is a film that tackles the myth of so called "Family Values" and knocks it on its ass.
From the very start, it's clear that something is wrong with the Cleek Family - we meet them at a suburban barbecue and witness father, Chris (Sean Bridges) sweet-talking an older woman into letting him take over the sale of her land (he can't get her much, but it will be a fair price, he assures her)...then we witness his pre-teen son, Brian(Zach Rand) standing by watching a little girl being cruelly harassed by a group of older boys. The youth turns his attention to a basketball and shoots hoops ignoring the little girl's cries for help...meanwhile, mom, Belle (Angela Bettis) appears an ineffectual creature afraid of her own shadow. There are two daughters as well in this clan, the eldest, Peggy (Lauren Ashley Carter) seems to be going through some type of internal melt down with only the youngest member of the family, Darlin' (Shyla Molhusen) seemingly well adjusted.
That the captive is kept chained up in a cruciform manner should not be lost on the viewer, it's as if Cleek worships this wild woman as much as he desires her - he even sacrifices his ring finger to her in a sort of twisted homage to a holy communion.
|"when I get out of here, I am gonna eat Rush Limbaugh's fucking face"|
But while keeping a bestial babe prisoner in a storm cellar would seem bad enough, it's also apparent that the Cleek clan have many other skeletons in their collective closet; the teen daughter may be pregnant with her father's child, mom is an abused enabler, and little Brian is a sociopath/chip off the old block...and exactly what the hell is going on in the barn with those damn yapping dogs?
Whatever the case, The Woman is an ambitious film that tackles the age old battle of the sexes theme and gives it the kick in the balls it needs...you can forget morons like that self-proclaimed Mama Grizily from Alaska, the titular character in this film would probably eat her alive just a soon as look at her. In fact, the anti heroine of this film ends up gaining all of our respect and sympathy - sure, she may be a cannibalistic crazy, but does she torture others for pleasure (or vote Republican) - hardly. Her modus operandi is to just survive...by any means possible. In a way, she's the psychic, unbridled force of women everywhere - a force that, once unleashed, could topple nations.
A tight, intelligent script, terrific acting (especially by Bridges, Rand and McIntosh) and a horrifically optimistic ending make The Woman a must-see.
PS, stay with the movie for a tiny treat after the final credits role.