Film: Boxing Helena
Director: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Writer: Jennifer Chambers Lynch
Starring: Julian Sands, Serilyn Fenn and Bill Paxton
This film begins with a little boy at a party. We overhear two people talking about him and we learn that the host of the party is his mother; she is played by Meg Register. She does not seem to be too thrilled that she has a son. We then see that his mother is promiscuous and she comes out of the bedroom naked. A man came out just before her and she accuses the boy of watching her.
The boy then grows up to be Julian Sands. He is at the funeral for his mother and he leaves before it is over. He goes out to his car and makes a phone call. We learn that Sands is the chief surgeon at a local hospital. He goes into work and upsets Kurtwood Smith. Smith was performing a surgery and was taken out of the room so Sands could finish. He successful helps a boy.
Sands then goes out to meet a friend, played by Art Garfunkel. They meet at a local bar, but Sands wants to leave immediately when he sees Sherilyn Fenn. They hooked up one night and she seems to have forgotten about him completely. Sands is still in love with her though. Garfunkel tells Sands not to get too attached again, because it was only one night and took him a very long time to get over it.
He then goes home where his girlfriend, played by Betsy Clark, is preparing dinner for him. Sands tells her that he is going to go for a run first. He ends up stopping when he sees a car parked alongside the road. He goes to the door and then climbs a tree. It turns out that the apartment belongs to Fenn. She doesn’t have a shirt on and she walks around in her bra. Sands watches her walk around, until he realizes she is not alone. The man that is there is played by Bill Paxton. They make love and that is all Sands can think about when he is running. Sands ends up at the local flower shop. He writes a many different notes before deciding on the right message. He is sending them to Fenn.
When Sands finally returns home, Clark is asleep. Sands calls Fenn. It rings and rings before she finally answers it. She is slightly rude and Sands decides not to say anything. This annoys her and she ends what she is doing with Paxton. He is frustrated and leaves to go back to the club to ‘get laid’ as he says.
The next morning, Clark leaves before he gets up the next morning and Sands decides to throw a party. He invites everyone he knows, including Fenn. We shift to Fenn’s apartment and we see Paxton has entered. She has bags on her bed and Paxton tells her that she needs to come to the club tonight. She tells him that she is going to a party and then she is going to Mexico. Paxton is irate with this and he’s kicked out of the apartment.
At the party, Clark and her friend believe that Sands maybe proposing to her. Sands on the other hand is nervous and watching the door, hoping that Fenn arrives. When she does, she is rude to him and blows him off. Sands meets with up Garfunkel and their mutual friend Bryan Smith. Smith introduces himself to Fenn and they hit it off. They leave together.
Fenn then calls Sands and leaves him message, informing him that she left her purse there and that she needs him to come to the airport to give it to her, also telling him not to go through it and when to show up. Sands shows up, an hour late and when she goes through the purse, it is missing her address book. She is even madder at Sands and he takes her back to his place to look for it. It turns out that he planned this and she goes ballistic at him. She goes out into the street, yelling at him. She is then hit by a truck and her legs are run over.
We then see at the hospital that Sands has not shown up for some time. If he doesn’t come into the hospital by Monday, he will have to give up his position as the chief surgeon. Clark is asked if she has seen him and she states she hasn’t. Kurtwood Smith overhears this and decides to go to his house. While there, he finds that Sands is fine, but he is taking care of Fenn. He had to amputate her legs though. Smith wants to report him and what is going on, but Sands agrees to write a recommendation that Smith should take over his position.
Sands goes to great lengths to hide that Fenn is staying with him. He gets her a wheelchair, but when she tries to escape, he amputates her arms like the statue of Venus. Will she ever get free or will she learn to love Sands? How far will he go to keep her there with him?
Now I didn’t know much about this film before coming into it and I have to say that it is quite interesting. This film has a few issues that are explored in it. The first one that struck me is that Sands, even though is a great surgeon, when it comes to intimacy, he has issues that his mother caused him. He has no self-confidence when it comes to this, which is in stark contrast to him when he is in the operating room. This explains as well why he loves Fenn, who is a strong woman much like his mother. She belittles him a lot, which goes to the Oedipus complex. The other issue that is explored is the Stockholm syndrome, in that Fenn starts to fall in love with her captor, because she has been kept there for so long. He does seem to really love her, but she only falls for him because she feels helpless and that she needs him. I will say that the acting isn’t bad for the most part and the story is okay. The concept is what makes this film and it is character driven film.
I did have some issues with this film myself. The first being that it was kind of boring as the film is pretty repetitive. We have Fenn belittling Sands constantly and him trying to prove his love to her. She wants to escape and he prevents it. I’m not really sure what Clark sees in Sands either, he clearly is obsessed with something and ignores her, but I wonder how much of that is him being a successful doctor. I also hated the ending and felt like it was a cop out. Now the film is a little bit unrealistic and I feel like someone would have figured out what was going on much quicker than they did, but I’ll give the film some leeway there.
Now with that said, I would only recommend this film if you wanted to write an academic paper on Oedipus complex, Stockholm syndrome or some of the issues like this that the film pursues. The acting is good as the cast is pretty solid, but the film itself is boring. It is too repetitive and not a lot happens. It is also unrealistic, but with horror films, you come to expect that. For the most part, I would avoid this film.
My Rating: 4 out of 10