Catfight


SPOILER ALERT

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have never seen a movie like this. In a good way!

For those of us who have watched Family Guy, you know when Peter gets into those mega random and ultra violent fights with the Chicken? Yeah that is this movie, but for women. And I for one, am all for it!

Catfight introduces us to Veronica – played by Sandra Oh- the upper class wife and mother, married to a man who is profiting off the war. Veronica is going to an upscale upper east side well to do party, where everyone is boring and they have paid private wait staff. Enter in Ashley – played by Anne Heche – a struggling artist, lesbian, and all round dreamer, having to bartend this party alongside her girlfriend to help pay the bills.

Fun Fact – Veronica and Ashley went to college together. And they didn’t like each other back then, and they sure don’t like each other now.

Veronica has the upper hand however, being the part of the upper class, while Ashley is merely the lowly bartend, tasked with serving Veronica her drink. Feeling the existential crisis looming from being tasked with serving her high school arch nemesis a drink, Ashley does what many of us would do, and that is go into the stairwell and smoke a doobie.

Veronica’s marriage is strained. Her husband is embarrassed of her drinking, and tells her to leave the party. Veronica dutifully obeys, and steps into the same stairwell as Ashley. I expected bickering. I expected perhaps a sharp turn into best friendship over a shared doobie. I expected a camaraderie between women, after all, the #metoo movement is still in progress, women are fighting all over the globe for our rights, and perhaps in this one moment in a concrete stairwell, Veronica and Ashley would see each other as sisters against the world.

This did not happen.

What ensued was one of the most vicious, earthy, knock-down drag-out fights i’ve ever seen between women in a movie. It was sort of shocking. And it ends with Veronica, the upper middle class wife and mother, falling down the stairs.

Veronica wakes up in a coma 2 years later to find out that not only has her husband died, but her son decided to fight in the war that broke out, and he too has died. All of the money the husband had from profiteering off the war was spent on her medical bills, and Gee it Sure was lucky she woke up when she did, as they were days away from pulling the plug. Veronica has lost it all.

Ashley however, Ashley is now in a splendid position. Her dreams of being a successful artist came true! She has a gallery and adoring fans and is moving forward towards having a family with her girlfriend Lisa – played by Alicia Silverstone – who is now pregnant. Everything is going splendid for Ashley.

Veronica meanwhile is now a maid, and whilst cleaning a room she stumbles upon a magazine with Ashley on the cover. Enraged, Veronica confronts Ashley at her next Art Showing, and funnily enough, there is a painting of Veronica and her bruised and bloodied face. Veronica rips it off the wall and runs away, with Ashley soon after her.

I’d rip it off the wall too, but only to put it up in my lounge room

Once again, no reconciliation is on offer for these two women. Nor is the viewer given any reprieve from the absolute violence and rage these two women have for each other. The fight is bloody. It’s dirty. Its harsh. And it ends with a wayward brick landing on Ashley’s head.

It’s now two years later. Ashley awakes from her coma, and good timing too! Now it is Ashley who is broke, and finds out her girlfriend lost the baby, and has left her too. The ultimate leveller – Grief.

Ashley searches out for Veronica who has now gone to live with her Aunt in the woods, and she finds her. Will these women just keep fighting?

Yes.

They do.

But, there is finally a reprieve. They exhaust each other and finally bond over their losses. The ultimate connection – Grief.

Veronica shows Ashley a home video her son had taken for her before he left for the war. They bond. And then they talk. And all seems well.

Until Ashley spills her drink. On the camcorder……

The movie closes with the women fighting each other in the woods, Veronica’s aunt looking on. The end.

What I really loved about this movie was the reversal of fortunes. From having money to not having money, from having a family to not having a family. It’s these class and social divisions that do in fact create real divisions between women, and these are taken to their utmost extremes in this film.

I also liked that it showed an artist at the dreaming stage, and then at the success stage. I don’t think women are shown skilling up enough, and the fact that the war is what heightened her popularity was very smart. The fact a war was going on at all, and that it wasn’t the main topic but instead a sort of peripheral background was very poignant when we are dealing with the lives of women.

And ultimately, I think the biggest lesson in Catfight is, we as women can continue fighting each other forever, if that is what we want.

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