Blue Velvet is an American movie which was made back in 1986.These Movie showcased elements of film noir and surrealism. The movie’s title, featuring Kyle Maclachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hoper and Laura Dern, was picked from the 1963 bobby Vinton song which has the same title. This Movie earned David lynch his second nomination to the academy awards in the category of best director. This paper presents a psychological criticism analysis of the movies as regards its screenplay, plot, direction and general presentation.
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The screenplay of Blue Velvet had been rejected by many studios in the late 1970s and early 80s due to its explicit sexual and violent content. It is a widely held perception by many modern critics today that Blue Velvet is a representative of modern film noir shot around the same time that similar movies started being shot and shown in local cinemas and this was around the 1980s to the mid 1990s.
The film revolves around a college student Jeffrey Beaumont (Maclachlan) who when heading home from hospital where he had visited his father stumbles across a human ear in the field in his home town of Lumberton. His investigation finds great assistance from Sand Williams (who is a high school student) and comes in handy providing Jeffrey with information from his (Sand’s) father who is a local police officer. Jeffrey’s investigations led him to the underworld of his home town ad this is followed by falling in love with a singer and uncovering criminals.
Blue Velvets operates on a number of thematical levels in spite its initial appearance as a mystery movie, it owe its specialism to 1950s film noir, encompassing and venturing into such conventions as femme fatele, seemingly unstoppable villain and questionable moral outlook of the hero and off course its unusual inclusion of shadowy cinematography.
In this insight therefore, it is important that we review Jeffrey Beaumont (Maclachlan). He is the main character and he is portrayed to have a number of qualities. He is portrayed by the narrator as a very inquisitive person considering that he found an ear in the fields the as from there he begins to investigate the case without even a second thought. The character “Jeffery” is also portrayed as a character that doesn’t have a high sexuality. This is proven when Dorothy makes sexual advancements towards him but he easily declines them.
Dorothy is another character but this one uses sex as her comfort which sets precedence for the critical objection of the movie. This can be proven by the scene where Frank both abuses her sexually and after he is gone she wants sex from Jeffery. This fact can also be proven since she enjoys showing off her body in the club where she works and also after she tries to seduce Jeffrey and he hits her , she is turned on instead of being furious (Chion 85). Its amazing how the character of Jeffrey moves from not even thinking of sexual matter to having a sexual relationship Jeffrey as a character portrays the image of a curious citizen who has the aim of becoming a hero and saving the day. This is supported by his determination in solving the case on the ear and finally he emerges as a hero as he saves Dorothy.
Another criticism for the movies regards the central theme of the movie depicted in it of apparent perversity. Blue Velvet speaks for liberalization and represents some of modern concepts which have since become its trade mark such as distorted character sexuality and a polarized world. The part of sexuality may come in due t an experience Lynch had as a kid where he and his brother stumbled across a woman walking naked and this adventure scared him to much that he even cried. That scenario may have traumatized Lynch too and this is shown where he expresses it as a trade mark in all his movies. Probably one of the most outstanding Lynchian trademark in this great movie is the depiction where there is unearthing of a dark underbelly in an apparently small idealized town (Chion 121).
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Blue Velvet inaugurates a metaphorical oedipal family that constitutes of “the child” Jeffrey Beaumont and frank and Dorothy through intentional citation of film noir and its underlying oedipal themes. The resulting violence can be deduced to portray domestic violence in our day to day life. Frank’s violence towards Dorothy stands in place for the many family abuses going on in the world. The control Frank has over Dorothy portrays mostly husband’s violence against their wives and families in general in real life. Jeffrey may be used to portray the innocent youth who are scared by the violence in their streets and homes but still want to stand up and have whatever they want to themselves. Jeffery’s relationship with Dorothy may also be used to portray the way many married women are seeking love outside their homesteads. Taking a Freudian approach, Blue Velvet is considered to be an expression of a traumatized innocence which is the basis of Lynchs’ works. Dorothy represents the sexual mother figure because she is confined to sexual activities only. Jeffrey portrays the aspect of a concerned citizen or a man in love and is ready to protect. Frank represents a few numbers of people who oppress others in the society. If this movie were to be shot today I would strongly advice David lynch to leave it just the way it is.
In this regard therefore and in a word, Blue Velvet was and is still one of the greatest movies of all time.
Chion, Michael. British Film Institute: Blue Velvet – A Two-Part Search for the Films Deleted Scenes. New York, NY: London Press, 2007.
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