The Strange Woman (1946)

poster2 edgar g ulmer strange woman hedy lemar dvd review

Original plot
Hedy Lamarr breaks hearts and bodies in 1824 Maine.

Big changes
People in the 2010s watching what people in the 40s thought of people in the 1820s. See, Hedy’s even breaking my brain.

The Random Remake
Jaji Patel (Shraddha Kapoor) and her uncle, Tajim (Adil Hussain), emigrate from India to the U.S. after her parents die in a car crash. It was Jaji’s parents’ wish that she go to college in America. In the states (upper New England to be precise), Jaji (rebranded “Jenny” by her peers) is acclimating, but her uncle struggles. He perceives the area as unfriendly and feels isolated. He constantly berates Jenny’s new clothes, new attitude, and her new name.

Tajim forbids Jenny from going out and hanging out with friends or boys. But Jenny’s enjoying her new-found freedom, and flaunts it when her uncle acts up. “Men like me, uncle – are you jealous,” she says, as Tajim’s rage enters a boiling point. He starts to attack her, but she flees – right into the arms of a hometown schoolmate’s family, notably the father, Isaac Poster (Jason Isaacs). Isaac leers at Jenny, and suggests to his son Ethan (Logan Lerman) that Jenny come to their family for breaks and holidays and away from her uncle. Soon Jenny is exploiting the situation, flirting with Isaac. When Isaac sees better of the situation, and threatens discipline against her, Jenny “confides” in Ethan that Isaac has been anything but fatherly with her and that he has even assaulted her. Ethan, smitten with Jenny of course, rages against his father and agrees to concoct a story so he’ll be taken away by the authorities.

Ethan, however, is soon struck with guilt about lying to put his father in jail. Jenny blackmails him by saying he’ll be in trouble if he admits to his dishonesty. Ethan also is distraught because Jenny’s got her eye on a new suitor, John (Zac Efron) – the older casual boyfriend of their mutual friend and schoolmate Meg (Taissa Farmiga). As Jenny lures John away from Meg, Ethan grows into psychosis and ends up hospitalized after trying to kill himself with pills.

The story is getting out about Jenny’s lies and deceptions, now that Ethan has come clean. She denies being duplicitous and John’s influence has her stopping her schemes. John’s a 12-stepper and he’s trying to renounce his hard ways as a kid. She joins him at recovery meetings, where a raconteurish meeting leader, Lincoln Pettridge (Michael Parks), starts telling pseudo-biblical parable of “the strange woman.” “The world has labeled this woman as ‘strange,’ and of course she thinks it’s the world that’s strange, not her, because of her selfishness. The strange woman is all our undoing, falling to temptation and abuse.”

Inspired by the tale, Jenny confides in John she conspired against Isaac, and John leaves to get some space. He meets up with Meg, who urges him to go back to Jenny and reform her like he’s reformed himself. They agree Jenny can be a good person and needs someone to guide her – but when they walk out of the coffee shop, Jenny has found out they are together and comes driving toward them. She crashes into the restaurant, and bloody and disoriented tells John she deserves everything that’s coming to her.

The pitch
The Strange Woman: Culture crash

Next up: Tortilla Flat (1942)

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