Film Review: Daffodils

Yesterday we went to see the movie Daffodils.

This is a New Zealand-made film (about a marriage) with a very effective soundtrack of NZ music. Te Reo does not feature. It is very retro. It’s set in Hamilton.

This is the story of a singer’s parents – meeting, marrying, having a family, and divorcing. But while it is ultimately sad, there are many happy moments.

This story is set few years before JD and I met and got married in 1971, but there are many reminders in it of NZ in the 60’s, and while our parents were quite unlike theirs, there were many echoes in how things were done back then.

Reminders such as the crocheted blanket in the back of Eric’s car, the farewell party when Eric goes overseas, the fact that Rose learns typing at a Secretarial School (Technical College?), the wedding, the wedding photos (happy couple plus parents on both sides),the going away outfit and the decorated car – “just married”. And the scary moment while driving away when Rose wonders what happens now?

The nylon nightie she wears after they are married…
The first present VJD gave me was a very short frilly pink nylon nightie.

Then there is the ghastly flat (perhaps that hasn’t changed so much), the housing…the very beige/brown decor.

The expectations, not discussed….that Eric would continue to go to the pub with his mates, and that their band would practice back in his grotty flat. Eric drinks beer out of a Lion Brown large bottle – you can almost taste it.

It struck me during the film that no one ever asks Rose what she wants, and there is a huge lack of honesty that wouldn’t be acceptable nowadays. Eric and Rose don’t have honest discussions with each other, much less with their parents, who have pretty fixed views about everything (and aren’t prepared to change, or be nice). They love each other, of course.

I was also reminded of telling a friend about the underlying story of the Trojan War, when it occurred to me that no one asked Helen what she wanted, either. It was assumed she should be returned to her boring husband Menelaus – Odysseus visited their rather routine domesticity on his adventures back to his faithful Penelope. The Greeks had returned her to her husband, and honour was seen to be done. Did she want to run away with Paris? Who knows?

But back to Daffodils. Rose’s modest bikini and her chastity (and her husband’s compromises) reminded me that before the advent of the Pill and more reliable contraception, sexual intercourse whether within marriage or not, tended to result in babies, a not always welcome outcome. The fact that women seldom had jobs outside the home meant that young men were often saddled with a baby, and a mortgage.

The good old days, huh? I guess things are better now, in many ways. They are certainly different. People have more choices, and there’s more honesty, and, I trust, more kindness.

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