Moll Flanders

Bomb Rating: 

This English period piece,costume drama and all-around good reason to watch the aristocracy pee into fine china revolves around the life of Moll Flanders, a surly wench with an indefatigable spirit whose poor upbringing thrusts her into all kinds of spirit-challenging situations. We learn her story through Hibble (Morgan Freeman) as he tells it to Moll's long-lost daughter.

Moll's first spirit-challenging situation comes during confessional when her priest mistakes his hand for a brassiere (an occurrence that even today begins a goodly number of spirit-challenging journeys for women everywhere). After punctuating her refusal to "submit to God's will" by stabbing the priest with a knitting needle, Moll gets the urge for a quick shower and runs from the church into a fountain where she is promptly cornered by the authorities. From there she is placed in the custody of a rich woman, becomes a prostitute under the tutelage of Mrs. All worthy (Stockard Channing), becomes an artist's model and does other appropriately indefatigable things.

Moll is a poor woman's Forrest Gump, wandering blithely from random encounter to random encounter. The fact that she survives only by being taken in by one rich person after another does not make her "indefatigable" -- it makes her a moocher. What self-esteem movement determined that being indefatigable, i.e. mere survival, was some kind of heroic quality anyway? Moll could have spent the entirety of the film sewing baby booties and picking the lint out of her toes and still been considered "indefatigable" (and we would have had a better film for it).

Given such a thrilling storyline and such immortal themes, I spent the majority of the film pondering the very question that, no doubt, was consuming the rest of the sparse audience: "How many days until ID4?"

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