Thursday, September 21, 2006

Subtext - In Her Shoes

I know a girl in Atlanta. Her name’s Rose.

She’s a southern, half Japanese, lesbian screenwriter. (It’s quite a bit of fun saying that, actually.) She was a finalist in the 2005 Writer's Arc competition. She also remodels homes for “mostly gay men who are positively neurotic about their living space.”

She has a blog called
Huh? She’s quite funny. You know you’re in for something really entertaining when you get an email from her entitled “The Further Adventure of the Half Japanese Lesbian Screenwriter.” Hehehe… See? It’s kinda fun saying that. (You can read about that particular adventure here if ya like.)

You may also know her on
TriggerStreet as Atlhalfjap. Her ID is very simple really:

Atl = Atlanta
Half Jap = Half Japanese

She's also the author of
Regular Army, which is a story about an “ambitious, but closeted Lieutenant, newly commissioned from the enlisted ranks, (who) struggles with being gay and falling in love while serving her country in the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ Army.” Not only was Regular Army a regular on the site’s Top Ten List, but it also just recently got nominated for September’s Screenplay of the Month! (Kudos, Rose!)

Her submission – wordless subtext from
In Her Shoes.

Thanks so much, Rose, you incredible, southern, half Japanese, lesbian, screenwriter-friend.


In the movie In Her Shoes, Toni Collette's character (Rose... co-incidentally my name too) has finally gone out on a date with a lawyer from her former firm after having discovered her former workplace lover and her sister "inflagrante delicto." Rose (the character) has self image issues. Her sister has always been younger, prettier, and flat-out sexy. She, on the other hand, (while not bad looking) has no confidence in her ability to attract men. Of course, it doesn't help that she caught her lover and her sister in her bed...

Anyways, she's finally decided to go out with this nice guy and whaddaya know, they wind up back at her place. The set up for the scene is that while she's in the kitchen making sure the old bottle of red wine that she's got is potable, he discovers one of those Harlequin romance type novels (like Billy Mernit might have written when he was masquerading as a woman), and he winds up reading a sex scene from it as they sit on opposite ends of the couch. It's flowery and suggestive. He remarks that he's embarrassed but turned on. He finally gets himself across the couch and goes in for the first kiss. This is where the subtext begins:

His approach is tentative (asking permission to come closer); she doesn't stop him (granting permission).

They kiss.

It deepens.

She reaches out and turns off the lamp above the couch. (I don't want you to see me, I'm not sure you'll like what you see).

He breaks the kiss, gives her an exasperated look before he, wordlessly, reaches out and turns the light on again as he goes back to kissing her (I want to see you. It'll be OK, I promise... I like you.)

She reaches out and turns the light off again. (Yeah, that's what you say now.)

He, again, breaks the kiss, gives her a "you gotta be kidding me" smile and turns the light back on. He strokes her face (No, I mean it) for a second or two as he returns to kissing her.

The scene ends with them kissing, light blazing away in the background...

Well, that's my contribution, I hope it wasn't too off the mark.



MaryAn Batchellor said...

Saw that scene. Perfect example of subtex. She screamed her insecurities without saying a word. He reassured her the same way.

Mystery Man said...

I completely agree. As soon as I read her email, I thought, "She nailed it."

Good job, Rose

mernitman said...

Hey Rose, that's one of my favorite moments in this (underrated) movie -- and not because they were reading a Harlequin I could've written (thanks) but for precisely the reasons you cite; you might enjoy the back end of this post, which finds you and I on the same page re: said lamp --