What purpose does this film serve? I have watched it, and I have contemplated it, and I can come up with no good reason for it to exist.
This movie has several points:1. The title speaks to the societal responsibility for such a chilling crime. CPS was non-existent at this time in history. The school played no role in inquiring of the victim's whereabouts. The neighbors didn't even get involved when hearing the screams coming from the household.2. Psychopathy refers to a disorder that is categorized by a few personality traits including a lack of empathy, callousness, impulsivity, and psychosis (out of touch with reality). Gertrude Baniszewski demonstrates the latter three but not the first one, at least not consistently throughout the movie. The scene in which she tries to connect and empathize with Sylvia, when she is washing her down, is a notable exception. Attempting to understand human behavior can be difficult, and a film that allows the audience to fill in the gaps of a disturbed character's personality is an intelligent and refreshing approach. The heuristic value of this aspect of the film alone is priceless. 3. Stanley Milgrim (1963) performed a study in which humans were cued to electrically shock another person by pressing a button. This was done when an authority figure asked the person to do this. Of course, the people that were said to receive shock did not in fact receive shock, but what this illustrates is the power of authority. Think about the concentration camps of WWII, and compare that with the manner in which the neighborhood children accepted their roles as punishers to the victim. The horrifying reality is how susceptible we are to the power of authority, and how this principle appears to have no boundaries to the tragedies it creates. 4. Creating awareness of mankind's darkest capabilities serves to purposes. One, the more we learn about ourselves (mankind), the more likely we are to avoid such conforming behavior. Secondly, on a continuum of black-grey-white, this film certainly falls in the darker shades of black. In a way, we can appreciate the shades towards white more. For example, wouldn't you want there to be some kind of afterlife for Sylvia?
Sep 20 - 02:45 PM
Very well said, robpsman
Aug 9 - 09:59 PM
You said: What purpose does this film serve? I have watched it, and I have contemplated it, and I can come up with no good reason for it to exist.
Because it was there, baby.
Jun 30 - 10:24 PM
maybe yo ushould watch it again and actually pay attention this time?????
Oct 2 - 11:45 PM