I happened to see this movie recently called “The purple rose of the Cairo” directed by Woody Allen, and it was charismatic!
The movie’s plot talks about how a fictional character, Tom Baxter, from a film, called “The Purple Rose of the Cairo” (That’s right! A movie within the movie steps out into the real world and falls in love with a down one her luck, lonely girl called Cecilia.
Things start to get weird when the other characters in the “The Purple Rose of the Cairo” film playing in the theatres, do not know what to do without this character in the movie. The director, the writer, and Gil, the actor who played Tom Baxter in this film, try their best to contain the situation. But Tom is intent on living a free life. the plot thickens when Cecilia falls in love with both – Tom Baxter, the poet and the adventurer, an ideal guy, but fictional and Gil Shepherd, real Hollywood actor, and upcoming star. I will talk about my observations and comments on the symbolism in the film.
- Free will: The movie touches upon the concept of free will. Tom Baxter, the fictional character decides that he will choose his own destiny and even questions who is God? Is it the writers who crafted his character or some all-powerful mystical being running the bigger show? The film touches upon subtly how Tom, a fictional man has the courage to pursue change and write his own fate, whereas, Cecelia, living with a drunk, abusive husband is too afraid to let go of her miserable life.
I was thinking about some very deep things. About God and his relation with Irving Saks and R.H. Levine. And I was thinking about life in general. The origin of everything we see about us. The finality of death; how almost magical it seems in the real world, as opposed to the world of celluloid and flickering shadows.
- Escapism: The film is set in Depression-era in America and in my opinion, reflects how the middle classes and the common men wanted to escape their dull, monotonous lives and troubles and try to live in fantasy land. Hence, the fascination with the bourgeois, the elite, and celebrities. The film quotes the following, showing how mankind craves something they don’t have, always
The real ones want fictional lives, the fictional ones want real lives.
- Stuck in a loop: I would not go as far as saying the film shows futility, because, directly, it does not. However, the scene where Cecilia is watching the scene again and again in the movie, with the same dialogue being displayed to the audience in the theatre, shows that she is stuck in a loop. The fact that she leaves her husband twice in the movie, but ends up returning to him despite being beaten and abused by him, shows how she is stuck and unable to move ahead. Even when it comes to the choice between Gil and Tom, she chooses the Gil who betrays her and she ends up winding alone at the movies, just like the beginning of the movie
- Love and what we seek from it: One can’t help feel sorry for Cecilia’s character, abusive husband, no job, no money, and no self-confidence. She is the modern woman’s nightmare. However, she meets Tom, who teaches her how to live, how to be impulsive, how to express openly, how to stand up for yourself, how to make a choice. But in the end, she falls for the guy who loves her not for who she is, but for how she made him feel, or at least pretended to love her for personal benefit and ends up getting her heartbroken.
Has anyone else seen the movie? If yes, do comment on your opinions and thoughts!