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Episode 48 - Three

posted Mar 8, 2020, 9:56 PM by Joreth InnKeeper   [ updated Mar 8, 2020, 9:57 PM ]

Three (1998) 
http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Three/60030021 - Netflix
http://www.amazon.com/Three/dp/B004VZWE4A - Amazon
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0169320/ - IMDB
 
There are several movies by this name. Every time someone recommends a movie to me called Three, I go to look for it on Netflix and half a dozen movies pop up, and I can't tell which one is which. So it wasn't until about 10 minutes in that I realized I had already watched this movie. But I haven't reviewed it yet, so I guess it wasn't a total waste of an hour and a half.
 
I'll be honest, from the Netflix description, I didn't have high hopes for this movie. The very summary makes it sound like a torn-between-two-lovers-and-forced-to-make-a-choice movie. And that is what it was. But the title screen on the DVD is incredibly misleading. It shows an FMF threesome that never happens in the movie.
 
The movie was interesting, and it certainly had a lot to say on the subject of homosexuality and coming out, so I might recommend it on that basis. But it wasn't poly. Tito and Elsie are unhappily married. Tito is an arrogant, entitled, selfish asshole and Elsie is incredibly fearful - she moves through life on the path of least courage. Tito is screwing a colleague, Susan, who is desperately trying to steal Tito away from Elsie, even though Tito has never given her any reason to think he would leave his wife (I think he's getting off on the idea of cheating even more than the sex itself, and leaving his wife for her would take that away).
 
Before Elsie married Tito (at her mother's insistence), she had a secret lesbian relationship with Alice, the "tomboy" next door. Elsie couldn't handle the idea of her mother finding out or experiencing any sort of cultural shame for being gay, so she bowed to pressure and broke up with Alice and married Tito.
 
But Alice has cancer and wants Elsie back - not just because she wants her hot lovin' but because Alice very strongly believes in personal authenticity and coming out and being true to oneself. She worries that Elsie will never come out and will continue to live a lie, unhappy in her marriage until she dies, if Alice doesn't inspire her to be more courageous.
 
But, just to add another layer of complexity, Alice has been living with another lover (whose name I never caught) who stays with her through everything, caring for her, giving her the shots & IV drips, even being with her on her deathbed and yet is tossed aside as soon as Elsie walks in the door. When Elsie leaves her husband for Alice, she manages to live with Alice and her now-former lover for 9 months before even bothering to ask the lover who she is to Alice or what their relationship was before she came along.
 
So, there's no polyamory happening here. Tito cheats on his wife. His wife leaves him for her ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend dumps her own partner to get back together with the wife. And everyone is contemptuous and disrespectful to the poor ex-lover still living in the house, caring for her terminally sick love.
 
And the story is told from her point of view.
 
There were some really interesting bits about Tito getting over his homophobia, coming out to Elsie's mother, raising a child in a gay community, parents who don't love each other trying to co-parent and live together, courage, fear, and personal growth. Anyone interested in movies on these kinds of subjects might want to check out this movie.
 
But I didn't like any of the characters, and as regular listeners might know by now, if I can't empathize with the characters, then I have trouble enjoying the story. At least this time there was a reason for putting together the main couple when they didn't actually like each other. Usually movies do that and expect us to just accept that they're in a happy relationship that we should be rooting for (or that they're not currently in a romantic relationship but that we should be hoping that they get into one in spite of not liking each other). So I didn't have any trouble wondering why they were together since they didn't like each other. I just thought that everyone did really foolish things and it was completely obvious to me why everyone was unhappy. Somehow, that made it much easier to sit through than movies that give happy endings to people who totally fuck up their own lives or who vilify or sacrifice those who do something contrary when they should have been happy.

You've been reading Poly-ish Movie Reviews, with your host, Joreth, where I watch the crap so you don't have to!

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