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Film Analysis

Gerald's Game (2017) - Shreya Sachdev

Gerald's Game is a 2017 Netflix thriller film that discusses how a woman fights for her survival after her romantic getaway with her husband goes awry. The main theme of this movie is the personal journey that Jessie (Carla Gugino) goes through, as well as her personal memories and history that she must remember and encounter during her time of survival. Along with all these experiences , there is also the mystery of the moonlight man, and whether or not he really exists. Overall, this film has Carla Gugino onscreen for 99% of the movie but as she is handcuffed to the bed, we learn a lot more about her relationship with her husband, as well as her father. As Jessie is calling out for help, her imagination starts to trick her by showing her figments of Gerald as well as herself. In her figment of Gerald, we learn much more about their relationship. For example, we learn about the time when Gerald told an inappropriate joke about women while speaking with a client at a party and Jessie only showed up to hear this insulting joke but still never confronted her husband about it. Clearly, this is symbolic of Jessie's personality - we can see that instead of facing her problems and standing up for herself, she chooses to bury them and lets Gerald walk all over her. We learn even more about Jessie and Gerald's relationship when we begin to see the other figment of Jessie's imagination, Jessie herself. Jessie begins to think of different situations and strategies to get herself out of the handcuffs, but the figment of Gerald appears back again telling her that these strategies are unrealistic and that they won't work. This again is symbolic of how Jessie is always trying to think of her own ideas and live a life of her own, but Gerald continues to control her and be in charge during their relationship. Moreover, when Jessie falls asleep, we witness the reason behind her weakened personality. We recount the time that Jessie's dad sexually abused her and forced her to keep it a secret from her mother. After this event, we see the time that Jessie broke her glass and cut herself due to the fact that she was extremely distracted and upset during dinner with her family. This is the key event that leads Jessie to break free from the handcuffs as she remembers that blood is as slick as oil and would provide as a good lubricant to release herself from the handcuffs. The fact that she escaped this way is symbolic of her finally leaving her father and husband behind, the controlling figures who have been dominating her her entire life are now gone. The moonlight man, however, is somebody that is still confusing to the viewers. We do see that he is actually real and is not a figment of her imagination. At the end of the film, Jessie approaches the moonlight man in court and says "You're so much smaller than I thought you were" finally putting an end to all three controlling men in her life.

Shreya Sachdev