Making the hunted the hunter
Centering on the gradual empowerment of a battered wife Michael Apted’s 2002 movie ‘Enough’ might have been made differently if had been made today. The take of spousal abuse and how the woman learns how to fight back is admirable yet lacks clarity.
Domestic abuse is a topic which is widely in focus today. Though many think that it is something which has gained much understanding during the 20th century, in countries like Sri Lanka, it is sadly still perceived in a minor angle.
Thus the Sri Lankan housewives today are expected to bear all and even if they complain to authorities like the police, they are eager to turn a blind eye on the harassment and abuse that the woman had to tolerate and proceed to patch things up with the two parties. At times this might be the right steps to take – but not always! Not many can put themselves in the shoes of domestic abuse victims and share the horrors they have experienced by living a life with the abuser.
Rightfully said, women are not doormats. From juggling to earn a better income for her family to cooking, cleaning, caring and preparing nutritious home-made meals for her family, a women multi-tasks, playing many roles around the clock. She is an unpaid labourer where her family duties are concerned. She does all her house chores putting a lot of heart into what she does and all she asks for in return is understanding, love and respect.
While husbands and children relax before the television or add a few hours to indulge in their favourite past-time most working mothers scramble for time to make a better living environment for what becomes most important to her after marriage – the wellbeing of her family.
How fair is it that she should become the battering ram for her spouses’ stress, worries and unpleasant experiences outside their domestic set-up too?
Slim’s life is transformed virtually overnight from familial bliss to a conjugal nightmare. For five years of marriage, Mitch has been nothing but a loving husband and a caring father to the couple’s daughter, Grace. Suddenly out of the blue, Slim discovers that Mitch has a relationship with another woman. Once she confronts him, Mitch turns violent. He hits her and threatens her not to consider leaving him.
Fearing the safety of her daughter, Slim sought her friend, Ginny and former boss, Phil’s help to find a means of escape. Like most spouse abusers, Mitch, is not willing to let go or face the consequences of his actions. He uses financial means to track Slim and their daughter down wherever they try to settle. Tired of being hunted like a deer, Slim finally decides to confront her husband once and for all.
One of the major drawbacks in the film is that it seems all too repetitive. Slim and Grace find a new hideout and Mitch manages use his sources to track tem down and ends up with threatening messages. This makes it a dull watch.
Abused wives fighting back is not that uncommon these days. However the nature in which it is done in ‘Enough’ does not hold much logic. Jennifer Lopez does well as slim but there is little that even she can do when presented with a plot of this nature.
In contrast Billy Campbell who had mostly played the roles of a good guy plays against type, trying to show that he can fit into the role of a badass too. Grace is just old enough to understand the situation, but not quite old enough to make an actual impact in the story. Although the film uses a child better than most movies like this would, she is still a cheap ploy to raise the stakes.
Though the ending gives the villain a piece of what he deserves, it also put across a wrong message. The lawyer at the end of the movie basically implied that by the time Slim came to him that the legal justice system couldn’t help her at all. So it gave a message of if someone hurts you it is okay to hurt them and that the justice system only works up to a point.
‘Enough’s simple and direct conclusion is not as satisfying as we hope for, but it does work for what it is.