posted by March 30 at 15:51 PMon
At this point of the first great movie of the 90s, To Sleep With Anger, Mary Alice, who plays Suzie, asks Danny Glover, who plays Harry, the ultimate question: Are you a friend?
The question breaks my heart every time I watch To Sleep With Anger, and not because of the words themselves (“Harry, are you a friend?”) but because the of existential immediacy, the spiritual heaviness, the absolute frankness Mary Alice gives these words. It is as if no other question is more important than this one, the question of intention: Do I have a wolf in my house? Are you scheming against me? Am I exposed to harm? Should I have my defenses up? Can I trust you? Who are you? What is in your head? Do you want me dead?
Suzie’s honesty is a clearing on which only an honest response can make an appearance. Harry knows this. There is no out of the way that has been cleared for the truth of who he is to appear. And he reveals himself like the wicked fox in ancient Japanese ghost stories. (“That old fox,” a born-again Christian calls Harry at another time in the movie.) Harry is not a friend, he is trying to kill her husband and master her troubled son. “I want you out of my house,” orders Suzie. As he leaves the kitchen, he leaves her with a final truth: he is what he is and he will only become better at what makes him what he is, evil. The clearing is recovered and the movie, Suzie, turns to the end which happens under the light of a full moon.