On Saturday night I was completely bored, and decided to search netflix in hopes of finding something that would pass the time. Fortunately netflix suggested that I watch Hilary and Jackie, which ended up being one of the most interesting and visually striking (the only thing I really care about) movie I've seen in awhile. Now this movie came out in 1998, so I apologize if this post is old news, but maybe your like me and you were busy watching Clueless over and over again when it came out.
It's a movie about the lives of the famous classical cellist Jacqueline du Pré (Emily Watson) and her sister Hilary du Pré-Finzi (Rachel Griffiths). It begins with both sisters playing their instruments, Hilary the flute and Jackie the cello, but Hilary is much better than Jackie. In order to get the attention that Hilary receives from her parents Jackie becomes entirely committed to the cello and quickly surpasses Hilary's skills. We then see the world from Hilary's perspective as she watches her sister become a huge success. She chooses to marry and have children in the countryside, playing only with amateur musicians as a hobby. Then the story returns to Jackie and we see the story from her perspective as her life is taken over by her cello.
I thought that this movie dealt with the theme of female competition in a truthful and very beautiful way. It begins with the sisters simply loving each other, but slowly the world begins to pit them against each other. From then on they struggle between their sisterly bond and having to compete with each other. Although I think that competition between women that love each other is often present, I'm still not sure if exploring this theme has a positive or negative effect on female relationships, but either way it was beautifully done in this film.
I also thought it was interesting how drastically the two sisters life choices were contrasted: Jackie's life is portrayed as glamorous but lonely, whereas Hilary's is simple but full of love. I think that life is full of negotiating what we want, and what people expect. It's just like Franny said in J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey: "I'm sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody."