Monday, December 29, 2014

What might have been....

As I've been resting up after finishing my long-in-the-works dissertation, I have rediscovered the joys of reading and watching films for pleasure. Perusing the selection at Hackney Library before Christmas, I took a few punts on some DVDs, including Sunshine Cleaning (2008), purely on the strength of the credits: two female leads, female director and female writer. Hurrah! Having viewed the film last night, I found myself annoyed at the ending and the disappearance of one plot strand without resolution.

I was so annoyed, I took to the Internet today to see if anyone else had noticed this lapse and to see if any key scenes had been deleted. The Internet did not let me down. SPOILER ALERT.

Lynn and Norah in the lift in Sunshine Cleaning
The plot strand I noted features Norah (Emily Blunt) and the woman she pursues, Lynn (Mary Lynn Rajskub), seemingly to return her childhood photos, having found them at the house of her deceased mother. What starts as a quest for Norah to get to grips with her own dead mother turns into a bit of a stalking, with Norah repeatedly seeking Lynn out, even inviting her to a party, where the woman nuzzles her neck! I sat bolt upright at this point: could this be an unexpected lesbian sub-plot? Suddenly Lynn's stroking of Norah's arm in the lift when they met made more sense. But, what was Norah's motivation? The film is quite unclear on this, and after revealing quite a bit of her family history during a "trestling" expedition, the film moved back to the main plot involving Norah's sister, Rose (Amy Adams), and her struggles with her young son and affair with a married man. But, wait! I wanted to know more about Norah and Lynn! When Norah finally hands over the photos to Lynn, the latter explodes in disbelief and a sense of betrayal: "I thought you were interested in me!" and leaves in a huff. No doubt about it: Lynn thought they were dating, and so did I. But, the film says no more about this relationship.

I thought to myself: there must be more. Something must have happened when they went trestling. Sure enough, if you check Megan Holley's script, there are additional scenes fleshing out the relationship. As Holley wrote it, Norah falls off the trestle, they go back to her place, make out and then Lynn discovers the photos. And Norah doesn't just accept the rejection. She tries to make amends by visiting Lynn's work place. It makes so much more sense! I did not listen to the audio commentary by Holley and one of the producers, but apparently, she does mention deleted scenes, but, as they do not appear on the DVD, it is unclear who cut them or why. But, like Desperately Seeking Susan, one is left to wonder what might have been. I'd like to imagine that after some time apart, Norah returns to make up with Lynn and they go trestling together. But, this time nobody gets hurt.