MoonPluto At The Movies: Jane Campion’s In The Cut

"In the Cut"
Jane Campion: Taurus Sun/Pisces Moon

I’m currently obsessed with this movie. It’s a minor obsession. It’ll pass. But I’ll likely watch it one more time before I send it back to Netflix, making a grand total of three viewings. I guess for some of you that wouldn’t equal obsession, but more than once, for a movie, for me, means something, especially when what I’m seeking is a feeling. I like being there, in the movie, with the characters, watching their lives, living their lives. I probably won’t watch the tragic end again. I only watched that once, and that was when I saw it originally, a few years ago, some time after reading the novel (by Susanna Moore) on which the movie is based. After looking on line, I see that it’s categorized as an erotic thriller and the plot does revolve around a serial killer, but that has little to do with my interest.

Why do I love it? I wonder if I can explain. Director Jane Campion is a master of atmosphere, of the small moments of every day. Every frame sucks me in. It’s not about beauty, although that’s apparent too. It’s her attention to detail and the details tell the story. Frannie’s obsession with Detective Molloy is seen in the way, for example, she lovingly thumbtacks his card to her wall, the way she touches the card (Meg Ryan has great hands, by the way). Or the way she flips the card around her Metrocard while taking the subway. The camera lands continually on these artifacts without ever seeming pretensious or forced or out of place.

A sneak peek into Campion’s chart: Taurus Sun, Pisces Moon. It figures. Earthy sensuality, sensitivity. No wonder Ryan’s hands are so important. Campion’s Moon is in the 12th. Mercury in the 1st. Venus in Gemini in the 3rd: beautiful communication. And she does communicate, often without words, although the script is good too. I never cringed, which is saying a lot 🙂

Meg Ryan is better, smarter, than the movies she’s usually in although who didn’t love Harry/Sally and that one with Tom Hanks, about the bookstore. With this movie, she gets something dark to work with and if you watch it maybe you’ll agree with me that the character of Frannie has some serious SERIOUS Virgo going on. Jennifer Jason Leigh, as Ryan’s half-sister, has played this role before: the doomed slutty type who gives it all away. Definitely some Venus-Neptune, 12th House going on there. Mark Ruffalo is our leading man, rough tough cop on the outside and on the inside? He’s the 8th House personified, sexy, dark, possibly dangerous if only because he still knows how to love. And he’s got a Scorpio tattoo.

This movie is also a great example of good sex scenes with a minimum of nudity. We get what’s going on, we get what it feels like, from the acting, from the director’s choices.

I give this movie 5 stars on the MoonPluto scale of MoonPluto-ness. If you like Jane Campion, if you like any of the actors, if you like something gritty, seamy, New Yorky, 8th Housey, you may love In The Cut. And read the book too. Read the book first. 🙂

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