Bitch (2017) – [Spoilers]

I’ve been struggling to find inspiration to write. There are stagnant periods in my life where any and all of my creativity is completely devoid. It’s like white static in my brain. With that being said, I apologize if this isn’t well-written in advance as life has really got in my way the past few weeks.

I watched a movie a few weeks ago. I didn’t particularly like it, but that’s not because it lacked depth, I think it mostly made me sad and confused and generally anxious for the day my life doesn’t feel like mine anymore. We all have those days, right? The day where you’re no longer you, instead your distinction becomes girlfriend or wife or friend or sister or relative or worker or homebuyer or provider or renter or landlord or student or teacher or patient or mom or aunt or grandmother or DYING.

With that being said, self-care is a great fucking thing but who has the time for it? We have lives that literally tell us we can’t practice self-care because we have to pay our rent and eat food everyday and take care of stuff like documents and excel spreadsheets and meetings, or building things, repairing things or generally making other people comfortable forsaking everything else we’re feeling or experiencing because we have to get the job done and done well.

You get my drift? You aren’t you, you become something else that doesn’t care about you. This something else cares about expectation and responsibility and reliability. How do you disassociate with those things? Do we ever disassociate or do we just pretend that we’re more than those distinctions to stay sane? What happens when you realize maybe you aren’t more than those other things, and that the self-care thing you want to do to get back to you – like painting or writing or watching a movie or going out dancing or listening to a podcast – you can’t do because you have necessary obligations that you can’t blow off since your life has become inextricably shared with other people, places and things bigger than you.

Phew, I know, right? You crack a little bit. If you think about it for too long, it drives you into this spiral. It’s easy to go on an escape-my-body-and-mind-vacation with that kind of weight placed on us every single day.

Bitch, the 2017 horror-drama directed by Marianna Palka is focused on just this. It’s about the story of Jill (also played by Marianna Palka who is brilliant in the role), a housewife who literally crumbles down to all fours due to the crushing weight of her family. The movie starts with a scene of Jill trying to hang herself from her living room chandelier. She’s hanging long enough to pass out, but the chandelier breaks and she wakes up and takes a look around to realize that she’s still in her living room.

From there, we view her chaotic morning with the kids. Once they’re running out the door and into their family-friendly SUV, she turns to her husband and says, “I’m literally losing it and I need you to take them to school. I can’t do it today.” And what does he do? He makes her drive the kids to school anyway, goes to work and eats out his assistant in his office. What a piece of living shit. Her husband is having an affair and her kids are ungrateful bastards who treat her like a personal uber driver that has to cook for them everyday and buy them things.

All she wants is a day to herself but no one listens or cares about her, and when she tries to take care of herself – she ASKS her husband if she can take a painting class – he says no, she couldn’t possibly and how dare she ask. (Fuck this guy, right?) Her life is continual scheduling, pick-ups and drop-offs, whining, lunch-packing, cooking, cleaning and laundry – and to top it all off, her husband isn’t fucking her. This woman has no escape.

So she actually does end up losing it and her brains and body transform into a rabid, vicious dog. A literal dog. She walks around on all fours, bites, barks, shits on the floor, etc. What does her family do when they realize their mother is acting like a “bitch?” They tie her up in the basement and feed her dog food. Yeah, what the fuck? It’s because her family is full of pieces of shit who don’t realize that they contributed to this total psyche breakdown by not giving her an actual break, and then refuse to get her help EVEN THOUGH SHE’S A LITERAL DOG. Her husband, very douchely-played by Jason Ritter says to the home-visiting psychiatrist, “How could she do this to me?”

Bitch carries on and it’s entertaining enough but terribly sad at the same time when her husband has to figure out how to be a single parent. There isn’t much that happens besides the mundanity of everyday life – he’s literally walking in his wife’s shoes trying to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. It portrays him working through the trauma of his wife turning into a dog while simultaneously dealing with four awfully misbehaved children that don’t seem to care about anything, and slowly he realizes he’s a piece of a shit that messed up and needs to do quite a bit of work on himself. There are parts of the movie where you feel for him, but he’s an extremely unlikable character.

All I’m saying is, I don’t think he deserved the ending he got.

Watch the movie to find out if Jill stays a dog or comes back to her human senses. If anything, it’s a great study of human relationships – with ourselves and with all of the other labels given to us by us and for us – and the complexities of marriage and what being you (the self) means when faced with an amount of pressure you aren’t able to cope with in a healthy and positive way. It’s also a banger for feminism. Jill is the strongest bitch of them all. ~See what I did there.~

Bitch is currently streaming on Netflix. Be forewarned: It’s a slow burn and more of a psychological drama-horror film so if you’re not into that, you might not be in to it but you could always step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I give it a 3/5.

Until next time – Keep watching, thinking and talking about horror movies.

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