Worth A Look: 26.32%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 5.26%
3 reviews, 39 user ratings
|Valley of the Dolls
A chick flick with a substantial and meaningful point, the film is not just fluff.The story involves four women in the show business world who react differently to the stresses involved in the industry. The term “dolls” in the title refers to the uppers and downers some show business people need to take in order to maintain the heavy workloads involved in the business. The film is a good lesson in why one should not use drugs.
"This film does have meaning."
This film asks the question, “What quality must a person have to be able to rise above a bad situation?” The answer is inner strength. The film demonstrates how important inner strength is to succeed in a harsh world.
The four main female characters illustrate this point.
She has self-confidence from the beginning. She goes to New York to discover herself, which shows her confidence. She is not afraid to throw herself into a strange situation.
Right away we see her self-assurance when she goes for her job interview. The following conversation takes place:
Bellamy: Some days you’ll have to work until midnight
having dinner with
me and a prospective client. I’ll drink too much and
won’t remember a damn word next morning. You’ll
have but one sherry and will remember everything.
Wells: I have an excellent memory and I love sherry.
Bellamy: Think you can handle it?
Wells: I’m sure I can.
She then goes and confronts Helen Lawson. She did then decide to quit, but I do not think this is a sign she lacks confidence, as it does not take much at all for Lyon Burke to convince her to stay.
Towards the end of the film she weakens and, in one incident gets spaced out on drugs. I think this was her catharsis. She realized the futility of using the dolls, made the decision to go back to her home town, and then dumped the boyfriend from New York. The film began with her going to New York on a journey of self-discovery, and at the end she has successfully completed that journey. Her character arc is complete.
She seems strong in the beginning, but is unable to resist the easy way to motivation, and takes uppers and downers so she can work hard and then be able to sleep after work. However, without the inner strength to rise above the need for the dolls, she succumbs to the long-term side effects of the drugs, and they end up making it harder for her to work. Her career takes a downward slide until she hits bottom and ends up in a sanitarium. It was here that she recovers temporarily.
There was one excellent scene in the sanitarium which was especially touching. I felt moved when she brought Tony (for a few moments) out of his vegetative state, and she and Tony then sang a song together.
After Neely gets out of the sanitarium, it does not take her long to return to the dolls. Then we observe her final destruction. In the last scenes of the film, we see Neely after she was replaced by an understudy. After the perfromance is over and all the fans and everyone has left, we see Neely in an alley by herself calling out the names of her so-called friends. Of course, none of them are there for her when she is alone and in despair, they are only there when she is in her star persona on stage. The last shot of her is alone, isolated, and in despair.
Her character arc is quite a tragic one. She starts out relatively innocent and as a victim (of Helen Lawson), but soon turns out to be as selfish as Helen Lawson. Unfortunately, Neely is not as strong as Lawson, and that is one reason Neelyfalls.
She is not strong. She is the also a victim in the film. Her husband dies, and she gets cancer. She falls into depression and commits suicide. Her death shows that those who are not strong can easily give into difficult circumstances.
A truly strong, albeit selfish person. She also has dignity, which is shown when she loses her wig, and instead of walking out the back of the theatre, walks out the front.
Her strength is evident in the following:
Lawson: Not me. I’ve had it rough before. I’m a barracuda. I
don’t need pills like Neely. Sure. I knew you dried her
out. But it won’t last. Neely hasn’t got that hard core
like me. She never learned to roll with the punches.
And believe me, in this business they come left, right,
and below the belt.
Belllamy: Neely had no class, no real down-to-the-gut-class.”
Lawson: But she’s talented, Henry. She’s really got it. I knew
that when I kicked her out of my show. She’d never
believe it, but I’m sorry for her. Nothing can destroy
her talent . . . but she’ll destroy herself.”
Lawson’s words also contrast Neely’s weakness with Lawson’s strength.
The male characters which include various boyfriends, agents, lawyers, and husbands are not important in themselves. They are important only in how they highlight the characters of the four female protagonists, Anne Wells, Neely O’Hara, Jennifer North, and Helen Lawson.The cover of the DVD I bought had a sticker which said, “Treat Mom to Her Favorite DVD This Mother’s Day.” This sells the film short. The film goes a simple chick flick. It tells us about the importance one possessing inner strength.
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originally posted: 04/21/05 17:17:49