The Problem with the Role of ‘The Wife’ in Movies like ‘Dark Waters’ – ‘Big Picture Film Club’

‘‘Don’t talk to me like I’m the wife,’ Sarah Billot (Anne Hathaway) says towards the end of Todd Hayne’s latest film Dark Waters. Until now, she’s had a few scenes complaining that her husband, Rob (Mark Ruffalo), hasn’t picked up granite samples on his way home from work, telling Rob’s boss that she used to be a lawyer before she had kids, and complaining that Rob’s workload has overtaken his ability to pay attention to his family. She’s been hovering around the home, chastising their three kids for their behaviour, and acting as a voiceless, sounding board for Rob’s theories about the corporate juggernaut, DuPont. She has existed to support Rob, to show what he is sacrificing in his crusade against the establishment. Now, teary and with her voice cracking, she defends him.’

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