Directed by: Harry Wootliff
Distributed by: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Written by Jeff Sparks
In “True Things,” Ruth Wilson stars as Kate, a woman desperate for attention and excitement in her lonesome life. When a man named Blond comes along she falls for him despite his questionable intentions with her. In a scene early on Kate is looking out her office window when she notices a wasp crashing against the glass, desperate to escape, much like Kate herself. Right away I realized this scene seems to be a reference to the work of Andrea Arnold, who used a very similar scene in her short film, “Wasp.” The character from “Wasp” and Kate are both women stuck in lives that they don’t feel fulfilled in and find themselves in a free fall when they become involved in relationships that negatively impact other facets of their lives. Wootliff seems to wear her Arnold inspirations on her sleeve.
The framing and visuals in “True Things” often give off that naturalistic-handheld feel that Arnold is known for. That’s not to say that this film is a rip-off or anything, it just seems very inspired by Arnold’s work if you ask me. “True Things” has its own character and identity. Speaking of that character, I’ve noticed many critics harp on this film because of their disbelief in the questionable choices made by Kate throughout the film. While those gripes are understandable, I believe that it takes a certain type of person to understand this character and why she does what she does. This is a woman who is not only lonely but feels as though she has been relegated to being a spectator of the joys of life as she watches the world pass by through the window at her mundane job. She aches for someone to come into her life to give her meaning and make her feel whole. Not everyone has had that experience so it may be hard for some to understand where Kate is coming from when she enters a relationship that is obviously destructive.
Personally, I can see why Kate would go down this path but the level of believability on that will be left to the mindset of each viewer. The development of the relationship is often predictable, but that aspect is insignificant by the time the film’s over because it’s not about the relationship but rather the themes of desperation, manipulation, and finally empowerment that Kate feels. These themes are all compounded at the end of the film by the usage of the song “Rid of Me” by PJ Harvey. The song is about a woman who has been betrayed by her significant other and uses that disloyalty to transfer the power in the relationship to her as she sets herself free. Harvey uses the techniques of praying mantises to describe this aspect. The female insect bites off the male’s head during mating. The lyrics “I’m gonna twist your head off” refer to that. Throughout the film, Kate is constantly seeking attention from Blond which he rarely gives her. In the end, Blond proposes to Kate but she walks out on him after being abandoned by him several times before. After leaving she heads to a dance club where she dances freely and out of control to “Rid Of Me.” Here Kate has finally realized that he isn’t the answer to her problems. When he looks for her to accept his desperate proposal she bites his head off, leaving him anguished and her the contrary.
“True Things” Trailer