Mesmerized (1985)

Mesmerized (1985)
Article 5931 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-24-2021
Directed by Michael Laughlin
Featuring Jodie Foster, John Lithgow, Michael Murphy
Country: Australia / New Zealand / UK
What it is: Drama

A woman raised in an orphanage is trapped in an arranged marriage with a repellant man. She falls for the man’s younger brother, but she becomes a victim of circumstances when she is told that she is responsible for the younger brother’s death, and only her husband can save her from the noose. To what desperation will this drive her?

Initially I didn’t think this was going to have anything in the way of fantastic content and the title was a metaphor rather than an indication that mesmerism played any part in the plot. However, mesmerism does pop up in the second half of the movie, and I also found the movie listed in John Stanley’s Creature Features guide, though the plot summary in that guide is entirely incorrect. The use of mesmerism ends up playing a crucial role in setting up a single plot point in the movie. Furthermore, I can’t really say whether its use goes beyond the bounds of realistic use of mesmerism. At any rate, the fantastic content does feel marginal in this case.

This movie has a low rating on IMDB, and though I don’t think it’s awful, it does have a fair amount of problems; it’s slow as hell, rather unpleasant, has a distant feel to it, and by the end of the movie, leaves you feeling that it is less than the sum of its parts. Jodie Foster was a co-producer, but from one of the user notes on IMDB I gather that she herself thought very little of the film. In the end, I found the movie neither enjoyable nor satisfying.

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