100 Feet, Valentines Day and Domestic Violence
At the beginning of the 100 Feet Marnie is bringing drive home from prison by her Police officer Shanks. Marnie has been let free from prison early and put on house arrest. She is fitted with an ankle bracket that beeps if she goes farther than 100 feet from a sensor placed in the center of her home. Early in the movie we find that Marnie was convicted of killing her husband. Her husband who was a police officer had been beating her for a substantial length of time. Fed up, Marnie fought back. Now he's a ghost that is seeking to control her life.
There is a conversation early in the film that introduces us into the systemic structure of domestic abuse. Shanks used to be Jimmy's (Marnie's dead husband) partner, and he is obviously irked that Marnie is out of prison he starts an argument with her. Condemning her for killing his partner. She snapped back that if Shanks had answered her calls when Jimmy was abusing her then Jimmy would be alive. Shanks runs out of the house pouting. What's strange is that Shanks seems capable of acknowledging that Jimmy was abusing her, but not capable of talking about it. It is as if this is beyond his cognitive mapping. Is this not representative of the various systems that woman has to engage with to seek justice? It is as if hospitals, police and law has been constructed to resist admittance to the abused.
Let's take a look at Power and Control:
I think the movie is an allegory for the abuser that a target carries with her after she becomes free from a violent situation. The ghost is a kind of internalized abuser. A residue of a controlling husband. The super-ego with a whip, that condemns ever act Marnie takes to free herself from her trauma. There is a sense in which the Ghost attacks become more visceral the more she fights against her own inner fascist pathology that seeks to keep her under the label of victim.
There is an odd moment after Marnie finds dirty money under the floorboards in her bedroom that belonged to Jimmy. She has a priest come to the house so she can donate the money. As he is leaving, Marnie asks the priest to bless the home. He looks at her, then at the home and says he cannot bless the home. This signals to the role of the church in perpetuating the silence of a violent home. Yes, the church can accept money. No, we can't help you solve your problems with your abusive husband. The priest is minimizing the problem and distancing himself from the solution. So what is the solution? The solution in 100 was for Marnie to destroy the last bit of residue left behind by Jimmy. Her wedding ring. But, what changes? One woman is freed while many others are enslaved.