Jucy (Alston, 2010)
Jucy is a film that celebrates female friendship. The title comes from the names of the two main characters, Jackie and Lucy, whose (we are told frequently enough to almost be homophobic) platonic friendship is so deep that they are almost one person.Female friendship is an admirable topic, and one I am actually somewhat interested in, never having had a BFF myself. I’m a little suspicious, though, about people who make films about their own friendships. They seem to be like people who make art about their own love relationships–always falling prey to the affective fallacy and thinking that if their conversations are so darn interesting to have that must be because they are such interesting people.
It’s not that Jackie and Lucy aren’t interesting or nice people. They are, insofar as twenty-six year old’s working at a video store, putting on plays, and wishing the rest of the world would just “fuck off” can be. If I find them (or the film, which director Louise Alston admitted was autobiographically inspired) a bit pretentious, it is not because their lives are so banal and they don’t know it, but rather because there seems to be an implicit message that their being female elevates their love, work, and family trials to the level of high seriousness. There is lots of easy rapport and witty repartee in the film, and it’s pleasant in a Gilmore Girls sort of way, but it doesn’t have much of a perspective beyond “friendship is good” and “our very special friendship is so very special because it is ours and we are such good friends in the way that only two special lady friends can be.”
See, I’m two paragraphs into a review, and I’m already annoyed at myself for being more catty towards the film than I actually felt. I like that the film focused on two interesting and normal female characters. I wish there were more films about women and their relationships with each other. Maybe a little more showing and a little less telling?
Truth is, Jucy, probably caught me on the wrong day. There have been periods of my life that I’ve been interested in and argued in a fem theory kind of way about the ways women are marginalized in art and culture and for a recognition about the distinct qualities of their relationships with each other. But there are other periods (days) in which I think, “Well, every relationship has some distinctive qualities, and I am more engrossed by the works of art that will draw on experience or imagination to draw me in to a really interesting or engaging relationship, whether it be between two males, two females, or a horse and his boy, then I am by works of art that draw on social generalizations.” Stereotypes may have seeds of truth in them, but generalization is a form of abstraction and can also be a form of laziness.
The most interesting character in Jucy, for my money, is Lucy’s sister, Fleur, who admirably takes on the role of responsible sibling whom Lucy (and the audience) can simultaneously envy and resent. To Lucy’s (and the film’s) credit, when Fleur finally does speak her mind, she (and it) recognize some validity in Fleur’s point of view. I would point out that none of the very, very superficially painted men in the film get anything remotely resembling a perspective or a personality if I thought that doing so wouldn’t automatically make the film’s advocates pounce and say, “We knew it! Another guy who wants even our movies to be about them.”
Not really. I just want it to be about something.
There will be people (yeah, most of them women) who love this film, and…you know what? I don’t feel much inclined to talk them out of it. I want them to have something that celebrates the unique problems and perseverance of women while I am re-reading Jane Eyre.