*SPOILER ALERT CENTRAL!* I have a summary and then a conversation piece with my partner about this movie. I want to understand the entire feature. It is a bothersome thing to not have a definite. Yes, binary-phobes – I want answers! Please comment and give opinions. Respectfully. The movie Felt begins with a narrative that lives up to its name – Amy's life is a 'fucking nightmare' and the whole movie convenes, rises, and climaxes just as a real nightmare would. As Amy progresses further into an anti-patriarch reality, her repressions of male angst and discontent comes out in the forms of felt costumes that she masculinizes herself with in the woods alone. Interwoven between shots of her friends trying to appease her and provide a viable social life (predominately filled with misogynistic, young men), we find our protagonist strewing herself through the forest with a compilation of different felt facades as well as a synthetically attached penis – this is her escape and victory, but she brings nobody in. Whenever she meets Kenny, who is thrown from her car by her newfound antagonistic equal, she finds a sense of attraction for what she has been isolated from and only fulfilled by in the woods through her felt costumes. It is as though she cannot either resist the male form, or the company of masculinity, although it is presumably what caused her severe psychological trauma. I have some opinions on this that are equally settling and unsettling to me. My partner and I discussed these opinions, and I have them in a colloquial and chronological back-and-forth session as follows. I am 'M' and he is 'H'.
M: She wanted to kill; she didn't want to get better – had she wanted to get better and believe in the higher order of ethics instead of the masculine threat, she would have listened to Kenny in the woods when he bravely stuck his neck out to tell her his 'secret'.
H: No – I think that she did want to kill him, but that he just ended up with the wrong chick; she was in a bad place, couldn't trust a man, and he cheated on her, fair and square.
M: How do we know that? It was implicit, not explicit.
H: The pictures; her friend; the phone.
M: What if he was in a relationship and wanted to get out of it for Amy? It's hard to, on the first date, explain that you're living with somebody if you want their company right away. What if he stopped having sex with the girl he was living with all for Amy? I mean, the guy was patient. He even set up a party supporting the whole agenda of female anatomy and feminine pride.
H: He still should've told her sooner. I do agree that she hated men, and that she preyed on him because he was weak in the sense that he was emotionally available. That was something different to her.
M: Right. Which is why she couldn't inflict harm on anybody else – they were too strong; and she was only strong in the woods, in her costume, or by emotionally captivating Kenny. I think that she didn't want to give up the notion of men being equal; I think the movie speaks loudly of rape culture and female equality, but also on extremism as well. Extremism in the sense that, had she let Kenny finish his sentence on that mossy log, he may have pleasantly surprised her. But she just ignores him. She just leaves it alone, and is ready to kill the only patient man she's ever met.
H: I don't think she set out to kill. I think he pushed her. I think he cheated on her. I think that she wouldn't have killed otherwise. I think that she only killed because she was pushed and the fact that she was 'burned' once again (she explains in the burnt tree), she needed renewal. That renewal was death for her attacker.
M: So Kenny was killed because he was the most vulnerable attacker? The weakest lion? The one who she had power over, but who still had power over her?
M: I think she was looking for an excuse to kill; to atone for all her past misfortunes; I think that she didn't know the full Kenny story and still killed him – that, to me, means that she needed a reason to feel powerful.
There are plenty of tropes throughout the movie; going into the woods is a mythological tale of rejuvenation and renewal and becoming new again (as suggested by her friends through God), is taken into Amy's own hands. I think that, overall, her fear of a male dominated world was inductive of an outlet that could only result in killing. The first time she felt strong enough to attack back, she did, and at her weakest antagonist. Felt feels like Amy's home away from home; she seems drugged out, or numb the entire film, and captivates with her despondency. Overall, Felt is a great independent film that raises so many questions that people can talk heaps over the 80 minutes allowed in the frames.