Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I rewatched MOLLY over the weekend...and decided to repost my "review" from 2009 in appreciation.
I've been hearing about MOLLY (1999, directed by John Duigan) from my friends for a few years now, and with Sarah Palin in the news again, I decided maybe it was high time I sat down for a lighthearted romp about a mentally challenged woman. Why not?
The film starts off on a good note with the wonderful Holly Cole song "Onion Girl" - unfortunately things go down hill pretty fast from there.We soon are introduced to Molly McKay (Elisabeth Shue) a profoundly autistic woman of 28 (played by a 36 year old actress) who has the mind of a spoiled brat.Molly has been raised in a nursing facility after her parents were killed in a car accident and her only relative is her older brother.Buck (Aaron Eckhart) wasn't around Molly much since he was selfishly off at school and building a successful career in advertising. Now Buck finds out that the home is closing and he needs a new place for Molly to live.
Oh at this point we are told that Molly, like many autistic people has super hearing!!! Who knew???Through a series of circumstances Molly winds up living with Buck in his spacious Venice, California loft. Let the chaos ensue. Molly is quite skittish and screams in horror at the drop of a hat. Molly and Buck also don't seem to have much in common - he likes modern art and she like to pee in her pants. He likes pizza, she likes peas. Molly is also stubborn as a mule and generally answers every question asked with a resounding "NO!!!"
Also, she's obsessed with organizing her collection of shoes. Okay, so am I.

After Buck tries to drop Molly off at daycare–and is rejected–it becomes "bring your autistic sister to work day". First she presses all the buttons in the elevator with evil glee, pissing off Buck's coworkers.

Then she gets bored waiting for Buck in the reception area.

So after picking off the receptionist's dandruff,

Molly decides to strip down hollering "Molly hot!!!"

and proceeds to walk naked into a meeting with a swimwear client!

Now if Buck was an adman worth his salt, he would have pulled a Darren Stephens and figured out a way to tie Molly's nude romp into the new ad campaign. But sadly he doesn't.
As this isn't enough, as a finale, Molly decides to splash around in a fountain. Molly hot again?
Buck tries desperately to juggle his job with his new burden, but he soon ends up unemployed. This causes resentment to grown between the two siblings. Enter the hunkiest mentally challenged person ever, Sam (Thomas Jane) a former worker at the nursing home and friend to Molly - who is both her guardian angel and interpreter - because he too has a learning disability. Hot.
Sam encourages Buck to be patient with his sister. Molly's neurologist, Dr. Brookes (TV's Jill Hennessy) recommends a controversial new surgical technique that could possibly reverse Molly's mental condition. At first Buck rejects the suggestion, but then agrees to it.
Amazingly, after the procedure, Molly slowly begins to become more "normal". Buck creates a "learning checklist" for her and gradually she learns things for the first time, changing her speaking style and appearing more and more like the Elisabeth Shue we know from other hit films.
Before you know it, Molly gains full use of her cognitive reasoning, is able to have intelligent conversations and begins dancing spontaneously in restaurants.
Buck and Molly start attending baseball games, where she uses her super hearing to listen to the players and then gets into an argument with an obnoxious guy, calling him "retarded."
Molly seems to come alive as she spends more time with her brother. In fact, Molly is falling in love with Buck - and doesn't understand why brothers and sister can't be lovers. We're not sure he understands either.
Becoming more of a free spirit, Molly soon learns how to kiss from TV and decides to try it out on shy Sam. He freaks out a bit and turns to Dr. Brookes for comfort.
Molly misunderstands flies into a jealous rage over this. But things get better when Molly has a real fancy date with Sam. Even though she has transitioned to the mind of an adult, she retains her childlike innocence - like when she thinks that a stage production of Romeo and Juliet is real...and, without resistance from her posse, crawls through the audience and onto the stage during the performance,

slapping Juliet across the face and telling Romeo not to drink the poison!

Later at a fancy dinner, Molly freaks out over live lobsters, questioning why anyone would want to eat them. I'm totally with her on that. Then she decides to revisit her restaurant dance routine and Buck joins her.

Later the siblings look at old family photos and watch home movies. Before you know it, Molly begins working with autistic children and even becomes a lecturer!!! Talk about coming full circle!
Well the circle goes unbroken when things take a turn for the worse for our plucky heroine when, after she falls off a bicycle, we discover that Molly's brain is rejecting the treatment and begins to digress into her former self. Before you know it, she's back to old, autistic Molly. What do do? What do do?I'm not sure what really happened next, but Buck and Molly say goodbye, and then they are on a boat out sailing with Sam and Dr. Brookes. So, Molly goes back to being autistic, but somehow it's a happy ending.

Okay, with all apologies to readers and friends who have mentally challenged relatives, this movie is retarded. First of all, Molly is really annoying and embarrassing and then she's a genius and she's still annoying and embarrassing! No one ever calls her on any of her behavior. Buck just lets her push the elevator buttons, dance in restaurants, crawl through audiences, etc.. Never once does tell tell her "Molly, NO! Stop it - people don't do things like that." He just lets her do whatever she wants, therefore she does the craziest things because she knows she can - and it's a hoot.

I think this movie was supposed to tug at your heartstrings, but it just made me laugh. A lot. So much that I cannot wait to see it again and again. A feel-good movie so laughably awful, you actually end up feeling good. 10 out of 10. Well done, Ms. Shue you have unknowingly created the comic performance of a lifetime. I love the multilayered MOLLY...she's just like an "Onion Girl".


laura linger said...

It also sounds like a complete rip off of Flowers For Algernon/Charly.

p.s. Thanks for the giggle. Am going through new meds hell right now and could have used a big laugh.

Doug said...

A spoon full of MOLLY helps the medicine go down!

Unknown said...

NEVER would have occurred to me to watch this and now I can't wait. Doug, you are an influencer.

Luckycharms said...

Just bought it on VHS, Can't wait.