The Whales of August (1987) – old women responses

The Whales of August old women responses

7 of us. 1 had seen the film at the NFT (Older Women in Film Study Day).

Gut feelings:
Hypnotic, fascinating, a bit long at the end, felt like a play, women astounding, sisterhood very well conveyed,
truthful , Gish fantastic Davis irritating (but then felt the same about her other roles), did not like Davis, good besides the cliches and predictability , slow nearly went to sleep, felt like real time filming, third time I see it and I find something new.

The discussion centred around a few issues: the women who have sisters, found that the sisters relationship was very well exposed and how roles are defined early and remain the same.

The characterisation was well portrayed. Sarah always busy and Libby able to read and go for walks.
The compliance of Sarah to Libby’s’ demands was commented on but also that she put her foot down in the end. Feelings about Libby were divided. A demanding person, a rational being, but on the other hand afraid and vulnerable. The temperaments of the two sisters expressed in the way they dressed.

The fact that the Libby’s daughter found no interest in helping her mother.
Questions about where they lived in winter and in what year the events were taking place. The social politeness of the times.

Questions about the date of Sarah’s husband death. Opinions about the two other characters Tisha and Maranov were divided. Was Tisha well intentioned when she suggested to Sarah to separate from Libby and live with her or was she interested in profiting from the sale of the house. Did Tisha want to be part of the lives of the sisters? Was Maranov a good natured con man or a self interested parasite?

A recollection about ‘cataracts’ being mentioned but nobody remembered in what context.

Did Libby’s white appearance terrified after her nightmare connote death?
A fade to black led two people to believe that the film ended there.

The night lights on the sea were remarked on.
The noisy builder was accepted as a device to produce laughs.

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