Good art starts a lively conversation in your heart and/or in your head.
The 2009 French film Leaving (affiliate link) directed by Catherine Corsini and starring Kristin Scott Thomas is good art if the comments on Netflix are any indication.
On Netflix, this film got viewers more hot and bothered than Suzanne, our heroine, was over Ivan, her Latin lover. And that, my dear reader, is quite a feat as Suzanne was both deliriously mad and deliciously hot and bothered over Ivan.
So let us have a chat about Leaving culled from the rich commentary on Netflix. Because there is so many subtle layers to this film, it will be difficult, but I will try to be brief.
Why would a well-do woman leave her husband to be with the hired help?
Apparently, many of the viewers are snobs. Who knew?! But hear ye: A palatial cage is still a cage. And the human desire to feel fully alive can be a powerful one, especially if your husband is…
How could she do this to a husband who loved her?
Disparaging your aspirations openly in front of the “hired help;” dismissing your aspirations in front of your kids and your mutual friends; forbidding you to have your own feelings; locking you in your room; blacklisting you so you could not support yourself; raping you—someone, anyone, how is this love?
He couldn’t stand to lose, so he…
Whatever is she going to talk to the hired help about?
Snobbery, again! It is ridiculous to assume that “higher education” naturally implies general intelligence. Conversely, being the “hired help” does not mean one is unable to have meaningful conversations or is uneducated.
And I have a question: What is Suzanne talking to her boorish, disrespectful, abusive husband about?! What?!
There is no way a well-to-do woman would throw away a 20-year marriage and her “easy” life for poverty with the “hired help.”
Mm, she might if she was married to an abusive, controlling husband and finally had enough!
Clearly, for Suzanne the grand adornments of her upper class cage were no longer enticing.
And why do so many of us believe that feeling deader than King Tut inside but being financial secure is a worthier choice than choosing love or the desire to feel fully alive?!
Furthermore, who said anything about poverty?! She was willing return to the work force…
This is a wonderful film about the internal incitements that can drive us to behave in ways that are as surprising to ourselves as they are to others.
The director did a great job of drawing the viewer into Suzanne’s “madness” by never explicitly revealing Suzanne’s why. Like Suzanne said, “I didn’t expect to fall in love. It just hit me.”
It just hit us too. It didn’t make sense to her. Maybe, it doesn’t make sense to us…
As for the ending, which is also the beginning, of the film, it will have a visceral effect on anyone with a pulse or a heart.
Call to action: Do you understand the desperate drive to feel alive? Have you ever gone “mad” for love?