Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stealing the American Dream

Minnie Driver was never one of my favorite actresses. She kind of lost me when she did Good Will Hunting. That was one bandwagon I just couldn't get on, but despite the less than stellar (imo) start to her career, she had one role that was absolutely fantastic (well, two if you count Phantom of the Opera).

In The Riches, Driver plays Dahlia Malloy, an ex-con who just got released from prison. Her family are travelers (think Brad Pitt in Snatch) and she's pretty much the Princess Kate of the group. Everyone loves Dahlia, though few appreciate her outspoken husband Wayne (played by the always awesome Eddie Izzard). Through a series of unfortunate circumstances, they end up at a massive house in stereotypical suburbs. A bitter battle ensues between Dahlia and Wayne, at the end of which she declares "I don't need much, Wayne, but I need you." That's when Wayne hatches his plan to free his family from their life on the move and give them what he thinks they want and need:  

The American Dream. We're gonna steal it.

What I find most interesting about The Riches (aside from the superb acting, excellent dialogue, and entertaining characters) is that the "American dream" is laid bare. We see the real grit behind it, and we discover that maybe that dream isn't all it's cracked up to be. Society tells us what we should want, that we should have a big house, high-paying jobs, send our kids to private schools, and maybe that works for some people, but is that what really matters? Is it the where and what that make us? Or is it who we are with? Maybe the "American dream" needs a bit of a revamp, moving away from the accumulation of stuff to finding contentment in our current situation.

Sadly, I couldn't find a video of the particular part I was talking about, but here's Cael teaching his sister DiDi how to scam a convenience store worker.


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