"Crazy Chicks Are Hot?" 8 Messed-Up Portrayals of Women Going Insane in Film
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3. The Piano Teacher. This is the flip to the Lolita-style crazy woman. Isabelle Huppert portrays a piano teacher, an authority figure so repressed she loses it and delves into the depths of psychosexual self-mutilation... after, of course, she starts sleeping with an underage student. Compounded by her desire to be beaten, again, sexuality is conflated with self-destruction. Black Swan parallel : super overbearing mother, dearth of privacy. While there's enough semblance of moral retribution that some have argued this film is a critique of misogyny, the fact is the horror is tempered by the sexual heat.
4. Single White Female. A twist on the stalking film that gave life to this year's The Roommate, beleaguered unfaithful men get brief reprieve here when the crazy chick decides to turn her obsession on her flatmate. Jennifer Jason Leigh plays a psychopath who tries to subsume her roommate's identity. While the lowest instances of stalkings are women-on-women, the concept makes for great bank at the box office.
5. Breaking the Waves. Danish director Lars von Trier gets off on portraying desperately tragic women -- his career began with an art-house take on the Medea myth, and he directed a martyr-like Bjork into despondent oblivion in Dancer in the Dark. But Breaking the Waves is his most sadistic take on the crazy lady meme, depicting an innocent young woman’s descent into crazy after her husband becomes paralyzed on an oil rig (an accident she believes she caused because of her lustful prayers for his return). No longer sexually able, he begs her to sleep with other men and tell him about it, which she reluctantly does, but her love for him burns as bright as her faith, and doing so utterly destroys her. There’s also an attempted rape scene; thanks for that, von Trier. While her selflessness kills her spirit, this is the ultimate in conflating sexuality with insanity on film -- the more gratuitous sex and nudity that actress Emily Watson engages in the more delusional she becomes, and it, too, is a long snuff film touted for its "artfulness." Aronofsky owes a lot to this one.
6. Basic Instinct. The ultimate sex-charged crazy lady film, Sharon Stone made her career playing a highly attractive and highly psychopathic killer bent on bedding a cop before she kills him -- the Black Widow trope, the idea-fear that a man will be so mesmerized by a woman's beauty he will not be able to protect himself from her web. (Again, this concept is far from reality: women are three times as likely to be killed by their partners as men, and women account for 85 percent of victims of domestic abuse.)
7. Swimfan. A teen swimming star is stalked by a classmate after he has sex with her in the pool, and when he rebuffs her, she will stop at nothing to keep him from Like Fatal Attraction, this film explores the consequences of adultery with the sexy-crazy mistress as moral device… the wack concept being that infidelity is not the problem, it's that the chick is just totally crackers.
8. Girl, Interrupted. Though meant to spotlight female struggle and friendship based on author Susanna Kaysen's experiences in a mental institution in the 1970s, in this case it's not the film that had misogynistic tendencies, it was the critical reaction to Angelina Jolie's star turn as a sociopath. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for portraying a manipulative hot chick. And while her talent is formidable, you can read it as the ultimate in the glamorizing of female mental illness; a precursor to the Academy Award Natalie Portman will surely see.