As I watched Leaving Normal, I too thought it was a bit cheesy at certain points, but enjoyed it overall. The struggles that these female characters go through are very essential to many real women’s experiences: relationships, self-esteem, motherhood, Both characters seemed to push aside the typical responses to these issues and resolve them in an original way. Because they decided to live together and build a home of their own shows that they rejected normal understandings of family, structure and place. They finally learned to choose positive paths for themselves, which in turn, resulted in their success and happiness. Often times we see women in road films reach a demise because they are unable to function in a patriarchal and oppressive world. These women, however, were able to take part of that world and resist many of the oppressive things in their lives in order to reach full potential. I think it was a great way to end the semester.
Overall, I enjoyed almost all of the films. I would have to say that Sans Toit ni loi, Set it Off and Thelma and Louise were my favorites. Thelma and Louise for obvious reasons that most of my classmates have already pointed out. Sans Toit ni Loi showed a different side of film-making and narrated the story about a nameless girl in a way that was both heartbreaking and beautiful. Set It Off really struck me because I thought at first I wouldn’t be able to identify with women who had such different backgrounds as myself. Right away, I felt like I knew each of them and I cared about them. I wanted them to succeed, to be free, to escape. This wasn’t the case for most of the characters, and it made me mad. I felt frustrated for each of them, like I was stuck in their place as well. I think it is important to empathize with all kinds of individuals and have consciousness when watching films. This class showed me a better way to do that as a spectator.