“Magalir Mattum”… This women’s-lib drama is a much-needed movie, and should have been a much better movie

Posted on September 15, 2017

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Spoilers ahead…

Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/magalir-mattum-movie-review

One of the best scenes in Magalir Mattum begins with a housewife — Subbulakshmi (Saranya Ponvannan) — speaking to a camera, making an ad. She dreams of becoming a beautician. But soon, reality beckons. An ailing (and complaining) mother-in-law whose bedpan needs to be emptied. A husband (Livingston) who does nothing but drink and sing Ilayaraja hits, with the preludes and interludes. I laughed — the man’s hilarious. Subbulakshmi, though, is not amused. (As we see later, she smiles while calling up friends, but the smile vanishes the instant she hangs up.) This scene is shot in what appears to be one unbroken take, but this isn’t about showmanship. This is about Subbulakshmi. She isn’t a movie character. You know her. You’ve seen women like her.

Magalir Mattum is about other women like Subbulakshmi: Gomatha (Oorvasi) and Rani (Banupriya). And one unlike them: as the credits say, “Ivargaludan Jyothika.” (And with them, Jyothika.) The latter plays Prabha, a documentary filmmaker who’s always dressed in tees and shirts and pants — clothes that tell us she’s not just a modern woman, she’s almost a man in the way she leads an unshackled life, doing her own thing. But the others, they are bound in chains. It’s partly the burden of patriarchy. (Rani’s husband, played by Nasser, says, “A woman should be kept in her place.”) But it’s also that they guilt themselves into a life within four walls, believing that the family would crumble if they so much as stepped out for a movie.

Continued at the link above.

Copyright ©2017 Film Companion.

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Posted in: Cinema: Tamil