Lazy storytelling

When I watch a movie usually the problems, plotholes, discrepancies only come to me a day or even a week after watching it; my brain apparently needs some time to process the information.


About a week ago I’ve watched The Cinder House Rules on TV. The story apparently is a great one, very moving with some heavy-handed message that illegal abortions hurt people (aside from the foetus, that is).

If you’re not familiar with the story here’s a short recap: Peter Parker is delivered by his mother in an orphanage, and is promptly left there. The place is run by Alfred, a gynaecologist, who grooms the boy to be his replacement. (Later on he even forges a Harvard degree for him.) He grows up learning the ropes, so to speak, emptying suspicious bowls after abortions performed (illegally) by Alfred (what would Bruce say to this I’d ask) into furnaces, helping out with deliveries, and so on, and so on. We even witness the death of a pregnant woman, who came to Alfred after a botched abortion by some other doctor.

All is well until Imperator Furiosa comes around with Ant Man, the bomber pilot, because Ms Furiosa got pregnant by her dashing pilot boyfriend. Spiderman -against the wishes of Alfred- leaves with them to see the world, and gets as far as Ant Man’s apple orchards (not very far, in other words), where he is employed to pick apples by the family (a profession with little career advancement opportunities). Ant Man goes to fight the war (we’re in 1940 here), so Peter and Furiosa get a bit too close, and surprise, surprise the FBI Instructor from Point Break, who is also an apple picker, knocks up his own daughter. It falls to our hero, the Amazing Spiderman to perform an abortion. This convinces Peter to go back to the orphanage and take up the mantle of the heroic gynaecologist/orphanage director.

We dry up our tears, and credits roll.

Now, you see this in a lot (and I mean a LOT) of movies/books. The hero has some very specific skills, he renounces his set path in life until an accident forces him to use those very skills that he does not wish to employ, hence making him realize that he has to go back to his true chosen path.

This is just lazy. Just think about it for a minute. I mean what are the odds that you have someone who needs an abortion ASAP right where our hero happens to be? Not a broken leg, not a yeast infection, not a kidney stone, but an abortion, exactly where and when our unwilling hero happens to be. As if like the fate of the world depended on my abilities to run a qPCR on Sindbis virus samples, even though I’ve left the lab, and now working as a civil servant. This makes me take the whole story less seriously, which is a shame, because there were some truly good acting (and message, don’t forget the message) in this movie. I get it: you wanted to send a strong message about why abortions should be legal. But at least the writers could have had our hero drive the pregnant daughter up to good old Alfred, so that he (you know, the actual doctor) could do it. At this point he did not know he graduated from Harvard yet, and there was no clicking timebomb scenario which would have had this abortion essential right there and then. (I can imagine the scene with the time is ticking down: “which chord do I cut?” “the umbilical one!”)

Anyhow. Good movie. You really should watch it.



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