Kaliofthedolls’s review published on Letterboxd:
I am not okay.
I felt that sickness you get when you take shrooms. That wretched uncomfortableness but without any of the mirth that usually accompanies.
Before my therapeutic rant commences I want to say I saw this at the Alamo Drafthouse, which just soft-opened this weekend, which is a magical place. I also want to say I’m glad their seats recline and are comfy because I was so fucking uncomfortable throughout this film I shifted around and literally had to hold my tummy to calm it, I was wincing and afraid the entire time and I have never - I really don’t believe ever - been so emotionally affected by a film. Every second was deeply upsetting. I could not get up after the movie finished. It has been hours and I am still tightly wound.
I also want to just link to my Runes bag that I designed, carved and created all by hand when I was doing leatherwork ~
Long strap version
Actually I made silver clasps that I used precious metal clay with for these and carved runes into silver for the drawstring closure, you can't see in these photos but yeah, they were special bags!
On 11.19.2007 my husband and I were having our 8 year anniversary. Not of our marriage but of the day we met, 11.19.1999, which had been an evening where we made love that night, and then were simply together from there on, until it went to crumbling. But we always celebrated our anniversary, which fell on the Leonids meteor shower so we’d go to a beach or the woods or somewhere and watch the stars… we were married during the Perseids in August, since that’s the largest meteor shower of the year and that way we could enjoy that one special every Sommar.
We weren’t going anywhere that year though, because my husband was fucking with me again, literally pretending to love me one day and then acting like he didn’t know me the next. He was just like the douche in this film. The shots where she looks at him like “are you even human?” resonated so hard.
I’d picked up a sixer of Sierra Nevada and two rare Roscoe Mitchell albums worth over a buck as a present for him. And we cuddled on the couch and I thought we were going to have a lovely evening, but as the records played and we clinked our 4th beer Dave told me he thought we should “take a break” “for a while”.
I was beyond devastated, became an actual sobbing heap. He had put me through so much. He’d already left me for a woman almost two years before, I’d moved to Seattle, he’d convinced me to return to Chicago even though I hated Chicago but he swore he’d move West with me he just wanted to do it “together as husband and wife” and so I’d quit my six figure job in Seattle, moved back to be with him and he’d financially sucked me dry through all of it, but just days before he’d asked me for a few hundred dollars more… and now on our fucking anniversary he was pulling that shit. We’d still been having sex regularly, but he chose our anniversary to let me know he wanted “a break”.
I've mentioned in a past review how he had that Mason/Gnostic/whatever weird black magic cult friend, the weird fake one who acted like Kermit the Frog all guileless and happy to see me whenever he spoke to me but behind my back he told Dave to leave me and was in this weird creepy mind-control cult, and he’d been the one to get him to move out the first time, when I’d come home to my apartment just half empty and I fell on the ground crying, my husband had just moved into Mike’s place and it looked like a hurricane had hit, and that same weekend I learned from fucking MySpace that he had a girlfriend who was madly in love with him.
But yeah he’d left her and talked me into returning from Seattle… only to fucking emotionally terrorize me on our 8 year anniversary.
I had been nothing except loving to him. I always was loving to him, because I did love him. It was simple on my end. But I always felt exactly like the girl in Midsommar. Like I was doing my best to hang in there, pretend shit was normal, believe in the future, believe in people, try to stay strong…
When I was with a complete asshole who had no empathy and just used me.
So yeah, Mike, his weird Mason friend, he told me he was going to get me a job at his work. He’d been a graphic designer for a firm on the top floor of this high rise on Michigan Avenue, and he told me I’d be a project manager and make $19/hour which I really needed to make, but even though he’d worked there for years he was quitting for another job and I wouldn’t start until the Monday after he’d left. Which I thought was really strange. I was also really confused and freaked out by Mike getting me a job because I never trusted Mike’s sincerity - I mean he did that after Dave told me he was "taking a break". But I really needed the money.
There was also another friend of Mike’s who - I mean I wouldn’t call him Dave’s friend exactly, but we’d known him for years through Dave’s sister and mutual friends and the music scene. But yeah he knew me, us. He’d lived with Mike for a while, and Dave would go over to Mike’s to buy weed from him, and hang out with Kurt.
There was weirdly nothing to do when I started the job. There were no projects to manage. They told me to just sit at my desk and wait until something came up. So I was getting paid $19 an hour to sit and stare at MySpace, where my husband - still married to me - had privated his account from me because he was “taking a break” from our marriage.
At lunch I would go to a restaurant with Kurt, who would hit on me, while I talked only of Dave, and how we’d been through so much I wasn’t going to give up on our marriage. I was crying myself to sleep each night, I’d rented a room with women I didn’t know, I was just a complete wreck.
There were six of us in this little cubicle area, and the woman closest to me would have lulls in her work as well, and we would talk, and the only thing I wanted to talk about was my marriage, and how distraught I was. Eventually, everyone in the cubicles knew I was losing my mind over my situation.
Dave had left me over and over by then, but whenever I’d think it was real he’d return, and hold it against me for giving up hope, so by then I was just going to keep on believing. So I would just make excuses for him, and believe we were going to get past this hump and we were going to have a great life together, just as we’d promised when we stood on top of that mountain and promised to love each other forever.
Since he’d done this to me over the holidays, I was surprised to learn there was a Christmas holiday party for my work that I was not invited to, because I was “too new” and Mike was there and he’d invited Dave, so my husband was there. At my work party.
There was another work party, about a week and a half later, that was at a bowling alley for like a New Year’s party, where Kurt came up to me and showed me pictures of the party they’d all gone to and he showed me pictures of Dave, which I was happy to see, because I hadn’t seen him and I missed him so much.
I went over to the studio Dave had rented, after a month had passed, and I saw him leave his place with a girl and they looked like they’d just woke up together, were together. I went up to him and stuttered, what are you doing?
This girl, who had never met me, snapped at me, “It’s none of your business!”
I said, “Considering he’s my husband, I’m pretty fucking sure it is!”
Dave then pushed me to the ground, on the street, and I reached to get up and he kicked me in the side. He acted like he was "protecting her from me" and told her to run away while he "handled" me. The girl ran away, just ran down the street, not caring that he had just pushed me to the ground and kicked me, and I laid on the ground crying.
I said what the fuck? How old is she? (She was 21, we were 35, so she looked really really young and that freaked me out a lot)
Dave acted like I was a monster. He yelled at me to leave him alone, said I had “no right” to “invade his privacy” and I was sobbing, I couldn’t even find words, the only words I could say were
You’re my husband. You’re my husband.
To be clear, he had not asked for a divorce, or gotten a separation. He just said he “needed a break” to “think about things” but that there was always still hope for us.
But I realized that he’d just asked for a break so he could date this kid and see if it would last and he just wanted me to be there if things didn’t work out. (I would later learn she was the girl who answered phones for the pizza delivery place he delivered pizza part time for.)
He had put me through so much already, I mean he’d stolen tens of thousands from me, he’d gotten a 10K inheritance and spent it all on himself never giving me a penny when he’d put $10K on my credit cards that I still owed, he’d posted photos to the internet of himself with other women and I’d forgiven him, gone back to him, only to learn he’d been fucking women and me on alternate nights, I’d moved across the country and back only to be going through this again…
And all I had done was love him.
And the pain just overwhelmed me.
He didn’t love me, in fact, I didn’t believe he was capable of loving anyone.
I couldn't believe in anyone or anything ever again.
I took 88 pills and woke up days later in the hospital.
To be really clear here - the doctors contacted him, my husband, and told him that his wife was in the hospital and they did not know if I would live or not, and he told them he wasn't going to come see if I'd live, but to call him if I didn't.
So when the doctors told me they still didn't know if I'd make it, they also told me he didn't give a shit if I did.
Amazingly, my job was still waiting for me.
I went back to work after a week off, with a doctor’s note and a bullshit lie about why I was in the hospital.
Everything was very surreal. Wearing corporate clothes and getting on that elevator.
And Kurt and I went out to lunch, and I confided in him why I’d been in the hospital. And Kurt told me that it was good that now I knew because now I could move on. And he didn’t seem shocked or surprised about Dave having a girlfriend. And I realized he knew.
And I said as much and he said yeah, everyone knows. He brought his girlfriend to the work party. Those pictures he’d shown me, he’d removed the ones with her in them.
They all knew. All the people in those cubicles who had listened to me speak hopeful and delusional about my marriage working out all knew my husband was dating a 21 year old.
And no one said anything.
Mike had invited Dave and his girlfriend to his work party, where Dave and his girlfriend were the only two there who didn’t work there, as if to do that to me.
I can remember the nausea that I felt after talking to Kurt, and then standing in that elevator, watching the floors, going up and up toward all those people who were laughing at me every day behind my back. Standing next to a guy I thought was my friend, who knew all along that Dave was bending over a 21 year old while I waxed on about all the good times we’d had, and how he was going through something but I would be there for him…!
And that elevator dinged when we got to the floor and all their faces looked like when she became the May Queen, wobbling and distorted.
I hated everyone there so much it felt like the air was pressing me down. I sat at my computer and shook and tried to breathe. Just like she does, when everyone knows what’s happening in that barn, and they all emote with her upon her reckoning but it’s insincere, and that’s what it was like when I turned to the woman next to me and said you knew, you all knew.
And they said oh it was so awful, and they felt so bad for me.
So bad they’d all known for over a month, and they let me go on and on about how everything was going to be all right. Probably every time I left the room they all laughed, or pretended to feel sorry for me. So sorry that not one of them, not even Kurt, would tell me the truth.
And I went home and did not return to that job.
I dreamt for years about watching Dave burn in a fire. And pretty much every single way you can fantasize about someone dying horrifically. I dreamt about burning that whole fucking tower on Michigan avenue, all of them, just everyone who was in on it, fucking burn. May the flames lick the moon. I felt like I was burning all the time. Just walking down the street, in my bed at night, my body was just bursting in flames my head swam in screams.
I wanted life to be a horror film. But I can’t even get into revenge films anymore like I could then. I’d watch the Oldboy trilogy and just seethe with rage.
But in the real world, Trump gets to be president, and my ex is probably still with the 21 year old, and she’s probably still paying his rent like last I heard, and all that rage just stole a decade of my life as it cooked me and burned me inside… until I was just ashes, and now I am too old to get another chance at life.
This movie made me feel exactly like I felt for those years right after he destroyed everything. The sickness. The rage, the deep deep pain. When she howls, I howled just like that.
I believe that’s what this movie is about. She invested 4 years in him. And he wasn’t even capable of love. Officially, we were married 4 years, but weirdly, it was the 4 years before that that were good.
I loved the ending, because it’s wish fulfillment.
In reality, there is no revenge. You don’t dig two graves, only your own. Monsters get away with being monsters. They run the world. The kind ones are ground up to bits.
It’s so strange this film. Because it cycled me through emotions I have worked so hard to release and move past and let go… but then it attempts a wicked kind of closure. That makes you wonder who the real monster is. Maybe we’re all monsters, seems to be the point. Or we can be pushed to the worst parts of ourselves if enough horrible bullshit aligns.
I lost myself. For so long I couldn’t even find the happy, joyful, in-love-with-life woman that I always was. I went so deep into the darkness.
And it was so strange because all that rage was spawned from the greatest love I ever felt in my life. In the beginning, we were so happy. It was so pure. Like daisy chains and white frocks and green fields. It was so beautiful. It really was.