Crystal Math's rating ***
Johnny Sweatpants' rating ***1/2
Crystal: This film sees the convergence of feral and modern human lifestyles when a wild woman dwelling in the forest is tranquilized by attorney Chris Cleek while he is out hunting. Cleek conveys an image of a successful attorney with the perfect family as a facade for the monster he really is. He chains the woman up in his basement and decides that it is his and his family's responsibility to civilize her. The manner in which he goes about doing so is chilling and nasty because it parallels abusive experiences so many women have faced.
For the first forty minutes or so, the footage of the family could easily make up an indie drama about a family with secrets. The footage of the feral woman could be used as a straight-up horror flick (used so for its prequel, The Offspring). Though The Woman is a sequel it is strong enough to stand on its own but I wouldn't recommend it to everybody.
I gave it 3 stars because there were some scenes that were just unrealistic. One that stands out in my mind is when the teenaged Peg Cleek's Geometry teacher attempts an intervention solo (the result isn't pretty, of course, but neither is this movie). First of all, any teacher should know that the moment they suspect something is going on at home, they are legally required to report it to administration, who contacts CPS and at this point only the authorities are involved (not the teacher). I understand from a filmmaker's point of view why they did this but it just didn't sit well with me.
JSP: I really liked this one, horrible indie shite music and all. The film's statement can be simply summarized by horrible parents raise messed up kids but it was fun to sit back (with my jaw dropped) and watch the way it all unfolded. Crystal was spot on when she called it 50% indie drama and 50% straight-up horror. In my opinion the best indie dramas pay careful attention to relationships between the characters. This is precisely where The Woman shines.
Mr. Cleek is an abusive know-it-all. His wife is the typical meek female that megalomaniacs such as him prey on. (The one time she questions his judgment to enslave the savage woman he silences her with one slap.) The son idolizes his father and is destined/doomed to follow in his footsteps. The only family member with any hope of escaping the hellish living conditions is Peg, the rebellious teenage daughter. Unfortunately she has the added burden of looking after Darlin' Cleek, who is far too young to recognize the hand that she's been dealt, let alone do something about it.