Here comes another immensely shallow but entirely honest statement from yours truly. The instant I clapped eyes on those mid-1800s women’s bonnets in those stills from Kelly Reichardt‘s Meek’s Cutoff, I said to myself, “I’m going to figure some way of avoiding this film for as long as I can.” I suspected it would be a quality-level thing because Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy proved she’s a talented, dead-serious director. Attracted to downer-type women-facing-tough-odds stories, okay, and not exactly into narrative propulsion, but Reichardt’s films require respect and attention.
And I didn’t care. I was going to avoid Meek’s Cutoff any way I could for as long as I could because I don’t like the gloomy symbolism of floppy bonnets on pioneer women’s heads. To me bonnets spell sexual repression and constipation and tight facial muscles. They suggest the existence of a strict social code (i.e, the film takes place in 1845) that I don’t want to sample or get close to because I know it’s all about men with awful face-whiskers and the wearing of starched collars and keeping everything buried and smothered and buttoned-up among the wimmin folk.
So congratulations to Meek’s Cutoff for having been voted Best Narrative Film in Indiewire’s Toronto International Film Festival poll. It’s important for films like this to get the smarty-pants seal of approval from indie-friendly elites. God, am I not looking forward to this film! I have to get past this — I realize that. I will get past this. I may, in fact, be getting past it as I write this.
Here’s a little background on the Meek’s Cutoff.