Generally, when writing about a movie in a newspaper or some other medium, it's accepted as common courtesy that one does not give away key elements of the story, and most definitely not the climax of the plot. Yet that latter action is exactly what an American academic did recently in a blog post for a major newspaper across the pond, in discussing a recent Oscar-winning movie. The academic actually raised a very important topic of interest in the post, but for whatever reason, bloody-mindedness, selfishness, malice, or just plain stupidity, committed that cardinal sin of discussing movies in a public forum, and thus ruined the movie for anyone who hadn't seen it. More, though not all (....), below the flip....
First, here's the salient information to allow you to find the article in question, without me actually giving away the giveaway:
1. Major newspaper across the pond: The Guardian (which other did you expect from 3CM?)
2. Author of the blog post: Margaret Morganroth Gullette
3. Film in question: Amour
So for those of you who have seen the film, I've now given you enough information to search on the website of The Guardian for Gullette's write-up. If you haven't seen the film, but want to see it, then please do NOT do this search until after you've seen the film.
Gullette teaches at Brandeis University. Her web page is here. From reading it, she's obviously a scholar on aging and what is now called age studies. She has a pretty decent academic pedigree (B.A. from Radcliffe, M.A. from the University of California - Berkeley, Ph.D. from Harvard). She may even vote Democratic, or even read DK. She undoubtedly has book smarts, which I certainly respect.
What I do not respect is her high-handed arrogance in disclosing the climax of the story, where, as one comment to the blog post put it:
"The spoiler and content of this article indicate that the lady wants to score political points and prevent others from 'enjoying' the film."The 'charitable' interpretation is that Gullette was so incensed at what she found disquieting about the story that she disclosed the plot climax without thinking about it. But I rather doubt that, because of the article's overall tone, and I'm with the commenter above, that Gullette wants to 'ruin' the movie for others.
I will grant that Amour is hardly "light entertainment", and that director Michael Haneke's films have been characterized more than once as "sadistic". The only other film of his that I've seen is Caché (where actually, come to think of it, the NYT review came close to spoiling the end, albeit in a much subtler way), which does come off as often emotionally cruel to the leading character, Georges Lambert (played by Daniel Auteuil in Caché). In Amour, the depiction of the aging process is harsh, but perhaps that's as a necessary corrective to a Hollywood-ized On Golden Pond type of movie about aging.
BTW, this much I will 'spoil': the name of the old husband in Amour is also Georges Lambert. Not sure why the same names would occur in two Haneke films. In fact, the names of the wives in both Caché and Amour are the same, Anne Lambert.
So, as a parting shot, an open memo to Dr. Gullette, even though she will never read this: you may be a scholar. You may be very smart in your chosen field. But you need a lesson in basic courtesy, not to mention common sense, since book smarts don't always translate to street smarts. You could have raised the important issues that you wrote out without ruining the plot for those who haven't seen the movie. You owe readers an apology for that spoiler. (I also noticed that you didn't reply to any of the commenters in the article.) In short:
When you spoiled the movie, you did a very dumb thing - big time. You should not have done that.
I repeat: you should not have done that.
One more time: you should not have done that.
So, meaningless vent done, time for the usual SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week......