Cruel But Necessary (2005)

  |  Drama

Cruel But Necessary (2005) Poster

Cruel But Necessary is the story of Betty Munson's strange journey of self-discovery and soul-awakening in the traumatic years following the revelation, on videotape, of her husband's ... See full summary »


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8 June 2005 | shizz_27
| Interesting, but what's the point?
The third theatrical film directed by character-actor Saul Rubinek (did he flat-out own TRUE ROMANCE, or what) is a curious thing. Witty, and oddly fascinating, but at the end of the day just too damn esoteric for my taste.

The title refers to a video diary project of sorts that Betty (Wendel Meldrum) puts together to capture private confessions, or as a performance piece, or manipulation technique, or – hell, I couldn't figure it out. She hides her camera everywhere, takes it with her to the gynecologist, to work, on blind dates. Tapes herself talking about Buddhism and how "the inside of the mouth is the same kind of skin as inside the vagina".

Does she really want to know all the stuff she gets about other people, and if so, why? Will she be using the material in some evidentiary way? Is it simply to call attention to the way some people say one thing and turn around and do another, then try and justify it? Or, does Betty just need someone or thing to talk and share her innermost thoughts with, so the digital recorder acts as a therapist? The film never comes clean.

There's a scene at the end where Betty plays her tape to a roomful of people who've unwittingly acted as supporting cast members, and aside from using the word "unconscionable", they mostly remain speechless. At first, CRUEL BUT NECESSARY is funny and intriguing, but by that last scene, you gotta throw your hands up. It's well-acted and written, with Meldrum, our Betty, giving a spot-on, terrific performance. But d*mned if I know what the point was.

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