From family woman to homeland hero

If you want to list the feminist films with far-reaching influence since the new century, “Never Compromise” (2000) must be one of them. The film is directed by the famous director Steven Soderbergh and starring Julia Roberts. It tells the story of single mother Elin Brockovich through unremitting efforts and brave struggle to win the largest civil compensation case in the history of the United States. . The success of the film not only derives from its authentic material, but also from its concise narrative. Faced with a broken marriage and unexpected accidents, the protagonist, Elin, did not complain, compromise or yield, but bravely broke through the shackles of traditional gender concepts, shouldered professional responsibilities, and guarded the homeland, reflecting the gentle motherhood and toughness of women in adversity. , Demonstrating the independence, strength and dignity of women.

Family women who broke the shackles
British poet Coventry Bartmore’s poem “Angels in the Home” regards gentle and submissive women as models of “wives”. They are masters in caring for the family, and are the emotional comfort and gentle harbor of men, which interpret the gentleness of women in the Victorian era. And dedication, but strongly dependent on her husband financially and emotionally. This traditional female “angel” image has become the mainstream of screen women. The difference is that Elin, the heroine of “Never Compromise”, is an “anti-angel” image. At the beginning of the film, Erin’s appearance is incompatible with the image of traditional family women: miniskirts, high heels, tousled hair, smoking cigarettes, revealing independence, stubbornness and stubbornness. Erin was once the highly anticipated beauty queen. She loved medicine and had an extraordinary fascination with geology. These hobbies and pursuits were interrupted by marriage and childbirth, and marriage failed to bring her the joy she expected. In desperation, Elin bravely chose to end her marriage and raise three young children by herself, but then she encountered multiple difficulties including a rear-end vehicle rear-end, injury and hospitalization, and heavy debts. This makes the audience wonder whether a full-time housewife whose marriage has failed can still be left alone? Eileen obviously gave an affirmative answer. She was not afraid of other people’s arguments and bravely raised her claims in court. She was not humble or humble even when faced with defamation, showing extraordinary tenacity and self-strength. Compared with the loyal, tolerant, and dedicated family woman, Elin showed an independent heart and self-awareness. She is no longer the “Penelope” wife described by the ancient Greek poet Homer, looking forward to her husband Odysseus Si’s look back and favor, but to challenge, to fight for, to speak, and to show his own strength.

The film’s interpretation of Elin’s “anti-angel” image is realistic and non-ideal. It consciously shows the prejudice and slander of women in the patriarchal society, and presents the thorny road of women’s self-realization. In the trial scene, when Elin mentioned that she “has two ex-husbands”, the camera did not stop on Elin as the speaker, but quickly dispatched the scene to the jury in the audience, featuring their surprise, contempt and ridicule. His facial expressions give a dramatic bright color to the realistic scenes. This scene not only aggravated the uneasy atmosphere of the trial, but also pointed the conflict to the real world outside the film: Even after experiencing the baptism of the fierce feminist movement, mainstream American society still holds the traditional ethical positioning of women, and the value of women depends on stability. The role of family and devotee, women who leave the family are often regarded as rebellious and rebellious “dangers.” Erin’s marriage failure and the identity of a single mother became the basis for the male lawyer’s malicious speculation: “Bankruptcy, three children, unemployment, and a car accident will definitely make you a fortune.” In contrast, the male driver who caused the accident Her identity has become an excuse: “How can an emergency room doctor who is busy saving people all day get out of control?” For women, the misfortune of marriage and the loss of family have labeled her depravity, calculation and blackmail. , And men can be excused and forgiven even if they make mistakes. The unsubstantiated gender distortion and the court’s concept of “justice” constitute a strong tension, which strengthens the ironic effect of the film. It is worth noting that the director’s arrangement of jury members is also quite meaningful: not only are there more female jurors than men, but they are also arranged in a conspicuous place. The close-up shot of just one second shows the doubts of female jurors. And contempt, let the audience feel strongly that they not only lack the basic understanding and sympathy for Elin and the disadvantaged female group they represent, but also fail to realize that the patriarchal thinking and logic in the court trial has become a patriarchal value concept. Complicity.

However, the film does not pit women against marriage and family, but retains the warm connection between women and family. Elin’s three children are the source of her happiness. Whenever she mentions her youngest son, Elin always smiles involuntarily. When going out to work, Elin often keeps the children by her side. The “maternal family” formed by her and her children is her. The soul harbor of comfort is also the spiritual pillar to overcome difficulties. “Family” has lost its docile and service coat, and has become a space for women to heal and realize themselves.

Pioneering and enterprising workplace elites
If Elin wants to achieve independence in the true sense, breaking through the shackles of traditional family power and ethical relations is only the first step. More importantly, she needs the right to equal participation and corresponding rights in professional and social spaces outside the family. Recognized. In the workplace, men are often regarded as protagonists-they are brave, wise, and logical, while women are timid, dull, and emotional, and seem to be confined to the inner space of the family, waiting for men’s scrutiny and discipline. In the film, Eileen strongly refutes this stereotype. She is active in the workplace, entering an open, mobile, and enterprising male space, participating in the struggle for professional discourse power, and her courage and outstanding achievements are reflected The wisdom and courage of women are not inferior to men.

The loss of the lawsuit is an opportunity for Elin to switch from family to work. After repeated failures in the job search, Erin went to the office of defense attorney Ed Masri to fight for a job, and got a job as a clerk without employee benefits. The task was to file the documents and arrange them in alphabetical order. The job assignment Ma Sirui assigned to Erin reflects the society’s perception of the division of labor for women in the workplace: lack of courage, logic and creativity. However, Erin’s performance clearly surpassed such social cognition. In the process of sorting out the documents, Elin found some medical documents related to the discharge of toxic substances, and then decided to investigate. She consulted experts in related fields, visited local residents, checked water supply and drainage records, and gradually grasped evidence that Pacific Gas Power Company secretly discharged hexavalent chromium industrial wastewater and endangered the health of residents. During the investigation, Elin played a leading role and undertook extremely complex and arduous tasks. Not only did he carefully read relevant documents and extensively understand the knowledge of industrial wastewater pollution, but also cleverly obtained additional data to support the prosecution. The rights defenders are looking for the truth together. On the other hand, Elin negotiated a game with Pacific Gas and Power Company to strive for maximum compensation for residents. Throughout the advancement of the case, Elin has become the “secret weapon” of lawyer Masri. She has her own insistence on the bottom line of legal negotiations. She is thoroughly familiar with the information of more than 600 plaintiffs, and she has independent opinions when it comes to matters. Have ideas, often turn the tide in a crisis. Unlike the gentle and dignified professional women in traditional workplace films such as “Intern” and “American Stewardess”, Erin is not a good and “rule-abiding” employee. She dares to provoke the authority of the superior, dare to argue and fight, When dissatisfied with the salary, he declared that “remuneration is the respect and affirmation of personal value” and issued a declaration of independence for working women.

What’s interesting is that while depicting Erin’s career experience, the film also uses the role of Erin’s boyfriend George to transfer the gender positioning of men from “workplace” to “family”. George helped Elin take care of household chores, accompany and take care of Elin’s youngest son, sing nursery rhymes to the children, and witnessed the first time Elin’s little daughter Beth learns words. He has become the child’s “good dad” “. When Elin encountered professional difficulties, George gave her gentle comfort and encouragement, making the family a warm harbor and stable rear for Elin. In the film, the lens focusing on George is often in a closed family space, while Elin is driving a car on the highway, and the overhead shot captures the vast wilderness on both sides of the highway. In sharp contrast, women’s pride and courage to gallop in the workplace are ready to emerge. They break away from the static and internal family space and gain free mobility; George’s role positioning shows that in modern society, the traditional family gender power relationship and The division of labor is not the only and unshakable model. Women can practice new social interactions and constantly shape their new faces in the process of being brave, enterprising and pioneering. Men can also take root in their families and contribute to their families, which is reflected in the construction of healthy family relationships. Responsibility.

Brave and firm guardian of the homeland
In addition to Erin’s above-mentioned family and workplace identities, “Never Compromise” tries to present the process of the gradual failure of home governance logic oriented to absolute economic benefits, and it is women who play a decisive role. Together with other women, Eileen formed a firm resistance alliance, protected her home with unremitting efforts and an uncompromising spirit, and accomplished the feat of saving her home.

Erin works as an assistant to a law firm. The Pacific Gas & Electric Company pollution incident was originally a common case for her, but Erin took the initiative to connect the fate of Sinclair residents to the future of their homeland. For Erin, winning or losing the lawsuit is important, but it is of greater significance to protect the natural ecology of the Sinclair area, protect the homeland of the residents, and keep happy families. This kind of determination and courage is the inner logic that promotes the development of film narrative and series stories. Whether it’s consulting experts, collecting evidence, conducting house-to-house investigations, or arguing in court to mobilize local residents to participate in litigation, Erin is working hard to protect the land of Hinckley and protect Hinckley’s health and future, just like holding a weapon. The warrior who defends the land is no longer a man who charges and defends the country in the traditional sense, but a woman who has no armor but is equally sincere, persistent, and strong. As a result, “home”, which is closely related to women, has acquired a new meaning, extending from the narrow sense of “family” to the view of “home”, the protection of happiness, and the love for the land. In the film, the women who communicated with Elin, Donna suffering from a tumor, Mandy who experienced several miscarriages, and Pamela, the mother of a sick child, were both victims and a united alliance. Their understanding, trust and cooperation gave The opportunity for the rebirth of Sinclair’s land demonstrates the tremendous power of the homeland community and reflects the appeal and contribution of women in maintaining the bond of homeland. The victory of the lawsuit at the end of the film not only draws a perfect end to the narrative, but also symbolizes the final establishment of the female discourse. The classic silhouette of Elin and the victim Donna embracing excitedly is a metaphor for the alliance of women, that is, women are in the community of homeland. In the pursuit of, a united community of destiny was constructed.

Of course, the relationship between women and their homeland is mutual. Erin guards the homeland, and the homeland has also witnessed Erin’s growth and achievements. In this industrial pollution lawsuit, Elin gradually transformed from a “beauty queen” and “an angel at home” to a legal elite, from a contemptuous and framed victim to an independent woman who vie for and control the right to speak. The bystander who stays outside has become the dominant force in saving the homeland. This series of role changes reflects the close connection between women and the homeland: the homeland is a warm support, a source of growth, and a spiritual harbor. At the same time, it also deconstructed the dependence of “women” on “home”, showing that women and “home” are symbiotic and prosperous.

In “Never Compromise”, Elin, as the core figure, is undoubtedly brave and resourceful. She knows how to deal with the opposite sex, how to deal with male power, and speak in male discourse. However, Elin is not an idealized “female victor”, but is always under the strong influence of men. From this perspective, the film’s style is realistic rather than romantic. Even so, Eileen entered the workplace from the family, reintegrated into her homeland, constantly seeking self-realization, and always rooted in the land, with wisdom, perseverance and enthusiasm to protect the homeland and dedication to the growth journey of homeland, realized the female role from the internal “home” Sublimation to a social “home”. What’s interesting is that the original English name of the film is not “Never Compromise”, but is directly named after the protagonist Erin Brockovich (Erin Brockovich), which is similar to another female theme film “The End of the Road”. They are all manifestations of women’s consciousness of struggle and resistance, and they also symbolize the transformation of women’s right to speak from the periphery to the center.

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