When women spell trou­ble

The fe­male of the species is dead­lier than the male.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By JA­SON LIM en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

NOT quite sugar and spice and all things nice, girls aren’t al­ways the an­gels they are made out to be. Stereo­types and screen­writ­ers typ­i­cally cast fe­males as the more in­no­cent, right­eous and de­pend­able of the two sexes. How­ever, as they grow up and en­counter more peo­ple, boys will tend to learn the hard way what Adam even­tu­ally fig­ured out about Eve.

Not all girls will re­turn af­fec­tion, a phone call or even a favour. True, some men may be Han So­los but it re­ally is a galaxy far far away be­fore you come across a true Princess Leia.

While films and tele­vi­sion shows are the key cul­prits nowa­days which tend to place women on pedestals of virtue and prop­a­gate the no­tion that they can do no wrong, there is a small num­ber of films that tell it like it is: More of­ten than we’d like to ac­knowl­edge it, women are trou­ble.

They ig­nite wars (like Helen Queen of Sparta in Troy), break up bands (like Penny Lane al­most did in Al­most Fa­mous), pit were­wolves against vam­pires (like Bella in The Twi­light Saga: New Moon), piss off su­per­nat­u­ral be­ings (like the fe­male lead in al­most all typ­i­cal horror films) and I’m pretty sure Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps would’ve had a woman take the blame for the re­cent global fi­nan­cial cri­sis if it wasn’t his­tor­i­cally in­ac­cu­rate (as far as we know …).

Some films re­volve en­tirely around crazy chicks and their whim­si­cal, dev­as­tat­ing ways as well as the havoc that they wreak in the lives of their loved ones.

Take Crouch­ing Tiger, Hid­den Dragon for in­stance. The film may have been a pe­riod mar­tial arts drama about Wu­dang war­riors but upon closer in­spec­tion it es­sen­tially re­volves around one very spoilt aris­to­crat girl, Jen (played by the de­lec­ta­ble but moody Zhang Ziyi), with a se­vere iden­tity cri­sis.

Through­out the film, Jen can­not de­cide if she is a rich man’s daugh­ter, ar­ranged mar­riage bride-to-be, thief, war­rior, bandit’s girl­friend or starry-eyed lover.

Seek­ing out a life of ad­ven­ture and re­belling against ev­ery­thing she can, Jen not only dis­ap­points her fam­ily and their best-laid plans for their pre­cious daugh­ter, breaks the heart of a de­voted desert bandit but also man­ages to shat­ter all hope of two long-time lovers (played by Datuk Michelle Yeoh and Chow Yun-fat) fi­nally get­ting to­gether. By the end of the film, you can’t help but be as­ton­ished at how much car­nage one messed-up pretty girl can cause.

Even lit­tle girls, typ­i­cally por­trayed in films as the epit­ome of in­no­cence, can turn out to be in­sid­i­ous char­ac­ters with de­struc­tive ef­fects on the lives of those dear­est to them.

In an­other pe­riod drama, Atone­ment, set in pre-war Eng­land, 13-year-old Bri­ony Tal­lis has a crush on the house­keeper’s son Rob­bie, who is in love with her el­dest sis­ter Cecilia.

Bri­ony stum­bles upon Rob­bie in a com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion with Cecilia and when a fam­ily friend ac­cuses some­one of rap­ing her, Bri­ony steps in to falsely im­pli­cate Rob­bie. What fol­lows is the hard­ship and tragedy Cecilia and an im­pris­oned (and later en­listed for war) Rob­bie face in or­der to con­tinue their in­no­cent in­ter­rupted love af­fair, all due to the spite­ful and naive Bri­ony.

We are made to think that men are prima- rily to blame for the demise of re­la­tion­ships. Men may phi­lan­der, fall vic­tim to vices or be just plain clue­less about af­fairs of the heart, but re­ally is there any­thing more toxic than a re­lent­less, schem­ing, un­pre­dictable chick?

The le­gendary Gone With The Wind, yet an­other pe­riod piece, would’ve been a much shorter and more pleas­ant story if not for the balmy Scar­lett O’Hara.

Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced a civil war, fi­nan­cial ruin and child­birth, Scar­lett still doggedly clings on to the self­ish hope of scor­ing with her crush Ashley who hap­pens to be mar­ried to some­one else.

Mean­while, ev­ery­one around her seems to die, in­clud­ing her own daugh­ter and she suc­ceeds in driv­ing away her hus­band, the rogu­ish Rhett But­ler, who af­ter years of putting up with her frankly can’t bring him­self to give a damn any­more.

In the film When A Man Loves A Woman, a hus­band who does give a damn, Michael (Andy Gar­cia), is mar­ried to an al­co­holic woman named Alice (Meg Ryan).

Al­though her hus­band is good look­ing and is a lov­ing fa­ther to their two chil­dren, one of whom is from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage, Alice risks los­ing her fam­ily due to her al­co­holism.

Michael con­tin­ues to be sup­port­ive and when Alice fi­nally gets through rehabilitation and re­turns home, the fam­ily is still strained and Michael ends up get­ting the blame for it be­cause he was sup­pos­edly too used to his wife’s bad habit.

Yet an­other film which fea­tures a good guy un­for­tu­nately sad­dled with a crazy chick is the teen ro­mance film, Crazy/Beau­ti­ful. Kirsten Dunst plays Ni­cole, the crazy one, while Jay Her­nan­dez is Car­los, the im­pov­er­ished strug­gling straight-A stu­dent with a promis­ing fu­ture who is on the verge of mess­ing up his life due to his choice of love in­ter­est.

Some­how Car­los is able to stop him­self from free-fall­ing along with Ni­cole who is per­pet­u­ally sui­ci­dal and suf­fer­ing from a se­vere lack of parental at­ten­tion. He also man­ages to change Ni­cole for the bet­ter and in­spires her to be a bet­ter per­son.

While the films men­tioned above help to con­firm what some of us have known all along about the fe­male of the species be­ing more dan­ger­ous than the male, what would we do with­out them?

I sup­pose all we can do re­ally is to heap them with com­pli­ments, stay pa­tient and un­der­stand­ing and try not to go crazy or die in the process.

Sib­ling ri­valry: Bri­ony’s (Saoirse Ro­nan, ly­ing down) lit­tle lie about her sis­ter’s (Keira Knight­ley) boyfriend causes so much prob­lem in Atone­ment.

The eyes have it: In GoneWithTheWind, Rhett But­ler be­comes so fed up with wife Scar­lett O’Hara’s girl­ish non­sense that he leaves her.

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