Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bakelite Incest

Last night I watched Savage Grace with Julianne Moore, directed by Tom Kalin. It's a dramatization of the Barbara Baekeland murder in 1972. Barbara was married to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. The couple had one child, a son, Antony, who was rumored to have schizophrenia but the father refused to allow him to be treated. They were an odd couple, Brooks was cold and distant towards his middle class wife who never quite fit in with his high society friends and she was prone to public emotional outbursts and sexual indiscretions. She sometimes forced the young Antony to read the Marquis de Sade to their dinner guests.

Over time Brooks not only left Barbara but also abandoned his son who was also showing signs of being gay. Barbara attempted suicide and Antony became not only her caretaker, but also, it is believed, her lover. The story goes that she at first paid girls to have sex with him to cure him of his homosexuality and when that didn't work she seduced him herself. In the end he murdered her with a kitchen knife.

Julianne Moore gave a hauntingly superior performance. She was fabluous throughout but when she straddled her son and slipped his cock inside of her saying "how does that feel?", Lord have mercy on those faint of heart. Mother-son incest seems exceptionally stunning and sordid to me. Not that father-daughter incest isn't just as sordid but... These were all very dysfunctional and complex characters to portray. The story is fascinating and mesmerizing. We musn't forget that human potential extends to each end of the spectrum.

I've read that Julianne Moore likes to takes risks with the controversial roles she accepts (obviously) without giving undue consideration to whether this will cause her husband and children embarrassment or make them uncomfortable in some way. Kudos to her choice. We are all the fortunate recipients of her incredible artistic talent.

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