Saturday, December 25, 2010

Is Marriage Like Prison?

(Photo: EuropaCorp)
Fresh back from a viewing of I Love You Phillip Morris. If you don't like spoilers, stop reading now. If you want to know what role opera plays in the film, read on!
At a crucial moment between the two actors, the soundtrack suddenly breaks out with the duettino "Sull'aria" from Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. The performance in the film is brought to you compliments of a Deutsche Grammophon recording with singers Edith Mathis and Gundula Janowitz performing under the direction of Karl Böhm.

What's most interesting is the last time I heard this piece used in a movie, it was also a prison. Is Hollywood trying to draw some correlation between marriage and prison?

The REAL Steven Jay Russell
I Love You Phillip Morris is a 2010 comedy-drama film based on the 1980s and 1990s real-life story of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell played by Jim Carrey. While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his fellow inmate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). After Morris is released from prison, Russell escapes from prison four times in order to be reunited with Morris. The film was adapted from I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks by Steve McVicker.

(Photo: EuropaCorp)
The story begins with Russell (Jim Carrey), apparently on his deathbed, recalling the events of his life. He begins with his early adult years in Virginia Beach as a happily married police officer. He plays the organ at church, has enthusiastic sex with his wife (Leslie Mann) and spends his off hours searching for his biological mother, who gave him up as a child.

After a violent car crash, Russell leaves his family and previous life behind, and goes out into the world as his true self, which is as a gay man. He moves to Miami, finds a boyfriend (Rodrigo Santoro) and begins living a very expensive lifestyle. The need for money causes him to turn to a life as a conman. When his con work finally starts to catch up with him, Russell is sent to prison, where he sees and immediately falls in love with Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).
(Photo: EuropaCorp)

From there on, the narrative becomes a story of a forlorn lover who cannot bear to be separated from his soul-mate. Russell will go to any lengths to be with Phillip.

1 comment:

  1. The opera reference from Figaro isn't about marriage and prison. In the famous duet, the Countess is dictating a deceptive letter and posing as someone she is not. She does so to try to win the affections of her partner back. Bingo. Sounds like the end of the movie to me.