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The Power of the Dog (Part 3)

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    kamila
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    #1204687175

    Ok I’m very sorry I’m such a spammer but not too sorry bc the thread is for discussing: SO MANY PEOPLE seem absolutely sure Phil was groomed by Bronco Henry. I’ve listened to three critics’ podcasts now where they all just took it as given. Why? I can’t tell if that’s the case. The idea seems to be: that explains Phil’s “trauma”. But isn’t hiding his true self sufficient to explain who he is? I don’t get it

    It’s interesting that George has no affection for Bronco Henry. Makes you wonder how he was treated back then.

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    kaziz
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    #1204687226

    I mean, it’s a possibility and a theory, but either way I agree that in that environment and at that time it was the “toxic masculinity” around you that fucked you up. So many people (especially men I must say, in podcasts I’ve listened to for example) don’t seem to get that the movie is not just about repressed homosexuality, but about different ideas of what a man was supposed to be in Montana in the 1920s (and how that was slowly changing). That’s why Phil, attached to the rancher life Bronco Henry taught him, rejected his academic background (he studied Greek and Latin), scoffs at the paper flowers made by Peter, refuses to dress up like George does and doesn’t want to have a simple conversation with Rose.

    Oh it’s definitely a possibility and FWIW it’s a very good theory. I just find no real textual evidence of it. It perhaps explains Phil’s reverence for him, and his self-loathing but like you said it is very much about masculinity and probably not a story about “young boys who are groomed by older homosexuals”. I do think many people get that, esp if they get how Norman Bates-like Peter is.

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    kaziz
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    #1204687236

    It’s interesting that George has no affection for Bronco Henry. Makes you wonder how he was treated back then.

    Oh yeah. I don’t actually recall him having any relationship with him at all in the book but there was this one podcast that went on and on about how Bronco must’ve tried with both George (bc he was younger & unsuccessfully) before moving onto Phil & that’s why they’re both stunted and traumatized and I was like lol ok that’s a huge reach to me. But… who knows? There’s no evidence from Thomas Savage’s biography that the people this story is based on had any of that going on.

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    kaziz
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    #1204687250

    Omg I never thought of that!

    I also think that one of the reason why Peter’s father committed suicide was due to his own sexuality as well!

    And that Peter’s mom (Kristen) knew about his husband’s homosexuality and already had some sort of clue about his son.

    I don’t think so… I mean it’s okay for you to interpret it that way. In the book at least Rose & Johnny (first husband) are both very soft, kind people who accept their son & have a verrrry loving marriage, are open-minded etc etc. And in the book Johnny doesn’t actually say anything about what’s up with his son, that’s very much all Rose (I genuinely believe the reason Peter attributes the “not kind, too strong” to his father is to indicate just how dismissive he is of his mother & that he too represents a kind of not-necessarily-positive masculinity worth exploring. Because it really just wasn’t there in the book at all! Rose is the one with all the smarts, really.)

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    kamila
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    #1204687297

    Oh yeah. I don’t actually recall him having any relationship with him at all in the book but there was this one podcast that went on and on about how Bronco must’ve tried with both George (bc he was younger & unsuccessfully) before moving onto Phil & that’s why they’re both stunted and traumatized and I was like lol ok that’s a huge reach to me. But… who knows? There’s no evidence from Thomas Savage’s biography that the people this story is based on had any of that going on.

    I need to read the book, but I didn’t have that reading either! But there’s something to be said that George didn’t really get into ranch life and wasn’t much of a student either, but Phil was good at both. That’s one of the anchors of their dynamic for me.

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    The Girls' Room
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    #1204687367

    Well I’m not saying she knows anything for sure, not at all. When she first takes him shopping he says he doesn’t want his friend to meet a certain someone (Phil), he later tells his mother after badminton “it’s Phil isn’t it, he’s cold”, he never answers whether he’s nice to him, and finally he tells her he’ll make sure “she doesn’t have to do this” and I believe someone posted the quote from the book where she doesn’t dare ask lest her drinking come up and then she wonders basically but what will you do. She has a nonchalance when he kills the rabbit but also “puts her foot down”. It’s clear to me their relationship has more understanding of each other than it seems. She’s not a dullard, I just repeat the phrase “no good can come from Phil and Peter being together” because that describes it…pretty well. Dunst said that, and also it’s very much in the book. But ofc she doesn’t know anything about his plot, she can only be fearful in abstract. She does very much plea for him to stay soft, kind, “reachable”. Everything he says about his father (he worried I was X and Y) is also true of his mother, starting from their very first scene where she’s encouraging his softer side, and yes ofc she’s very sensitive & worried about what could happen to her son in this homophobic place. Again I’m not saying she knows anything precisely, it’s not as cut and dry as it seems. Yes, Phil manipulating Peter fear is a major thing (otherwise she wouldn’t even ask Peter about it), but it’s definitely not the only thing. The barn and the running after Peter and Phil are also a tad more ambiguous. In the first she’s concerned and curious, in the second the “no good can come from this” still applies. And at the end, she literally does not know what Peter has done so she can’t react. She looks confused when Phil leaves, I think she has to be wondering, which is why for me the aftermath of the story is very tragic for Rose. The book does the same thing, it’s just that Peter is verrrrry sneaky good about it all. Who could figure it out easily? Probably only somebody who knows what he might be capable of would even bother investigating. Also, like……..I think Benedict mentioned this on a podcast but obviously Peter did not have to do this to save his mother. At the moment he strikes, George has found out, Phil is softening. There’s potential in that moment. Goodness, Peter could maybe just, uh…….spend time with his mother? like she keeps asking him to lol Tbh, I don’t see the ending for Rose and George as “happy”, except she’s finally been accepted into the family. I see that as Peter’s POV. He’s done his job, dassit. Both can be true. I really see both things running through the Rose-Peter scenes. She looks PAINED when he can’t recall a sound that makes him shiver. Nothing seems to scare him?

    Ok, so now it’s seeming like you don’t disagree! I’m in agreement with basically everything you wrote, except I don’t think Rose knows Peter killed the rabbit. Maybe in the book she does, but in the movie she never sees it.

    Also, when Rose asks Peter if there’s a sound that makes him shiver, his eyes well up with tears and he very clearly seems to be thinking about something, we just don’t know what it is.

    watch I May Destroy You

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    kaziz
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    #1204688391

    Ok, so now it’s seeming like you don’t disagree! I’m in agreement with basically everything you wrote, except I don’t think Rose knows Peter killed the rabbit.

    Nooo of course she knows he killed the rabbit, she literally tells him he’s not allowed to kill animals in the house right after, they have a conversation about it! She just didn’t seem entirely phased, more surprised because she thought he “liked rabbits”. C’mon she’s surprised he killed an animal she thought he liked, but she’s not surprised he killed an animal. That’s not even subtext for what’s coming, it’s a BLARING hint! She knows her son! She saw the animal alive, Lola told her it was dead, then Rose confronted him about it :/

    And yes I agree insofar that she doesn’t know what his plan is, my only point was she knows him enough to ponder & worry & it factored into her paranoia. Which is why Dunst said Rose knows what her son is capable of, those were her literal words so… that’s it. I never said she knew he did it by the end of the film, just that she’s likely to piece it together after the film. Highly recommend a rewatch of their scenes, I think they’re some of the best scenes in the film. Rose & Peter are almost as fascinating to me as Phil & Peter.

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    kaziz
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    #1204688393

    Also, when Rose asks Peter if there’s a sound that makes him shiver, his eyes well up with tears and he very clearly seems to be thinking about something, we just don’t know what it is.

    Oh yeah that was a beautiful note from Kodi. I don’t actually know how to interpret that tbh, but two things can be true. 1. Yes, the sound of the rope his father was hung from makes him shiver, or 2. And/or… it doesn’t scare him so much and he just knows his honest answer will be upsetting to Rose. Honestly maybe both are true but Peter is…pretty cold even in the book, so I always saw it slightly more as the latter.

    FYI, the film has a very strong mother-son bond, arguably more than the book. Rose has a line in the book about Peter: “I love him but I don’t know how to love him. Maybe if his father had some of his coldness he would still be there.” She’s fiercely protective of him but also disturbed by him. It’s there in the film too, I promise I’m not the only one who thinks that, it’s a fairly common takeaway I’ve heard from people who’ve seen the film.

    Justice for Passing, Tessa Thompson & Ruth Negga.

    The Power of the Dog / Jane Campion / Benedict Cumberbatch / Kristen Stewart / Kirsten Dunst / Troy Kotsur

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    Luca Giliberti
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    #1204688640

    From Kodi’s insta:

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1204688717

    The MVP of the movie for me was definitely Kodi Smit-McPhee as Peter. That half hour when his character was away at school dragged for me and I was so happy when he came back home and then the movie soared every time he appeared. I loved Benedict too but Kodi was the primary reason for loving this movie. He was my 2nd favorite Supporting Actor of 2021 – Mike Faist in West Side Story is my favorite – and I will be extremely happy if Kodi wins the Oscar in March (:

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    Manav
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    #1204688813

    Among the actors, Kodi was the MVP for me too. Although it’s through and through Jane Campion’s masterpiece.

    Emmy FYC
    -Severance in all categories.
    -Ted Lasso in all categories.
    -The Dropout in all categories.

    -Jennifer Coolidge, Connie Britton, Margaret Qualley, Colin Firth
    -Jung Ho-Yeon, Lee Yoo-Mi, Sarah Snook, Laura Linney.
    -Jean Smart, Kaley Cuoco, Juno Temple, Sarah Lancashire and Martin Short.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    #1204688848

    I looked up Jane Campion’s filmography. She has directed 8 feature films in 32 years and has had a 12 year gap between her last two films. (She directed two miniseries during that time, Top of the Lake and Top of the Lake: China Girl).

    1989 Sweetie
    1990 An Angel At My Table
    1993 The Piano
    1996 The Portrait of a Lady
    1999 Holy Smoke!
    2003 In the Cut
    2009 Bright Star
    2021 The Power of the Dog

    The only one I haven’t seen is In the Cut. My favorite of all of her movies is the little known Holy Smoke!

    She has directed 8 short films – 6 of them before her first feature film. She has produced 2 movies she has not directed. She directed a made for television movie in 1986.

    One of the things I have noticed about her filmography is that all but one of her films has a female protagonist. TPOTD is the only exception. (I haven’t seen In the Cut so my observation only pertains to the seven I have seen).

    One of the things her filmography suggests is that it is very difficult for female directors to get their project greenlit – perhaps that is changing now? IDK if that is the case or not.

    All 7 of her movies that I have seen have been very interesting but flawed in one way or another. All seven have held my interest and had excellent things about them.

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    The Girls' Room
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    #1204688901

    Oh yeah that was a beautiful note from Kodi. I don’t actually know how to interpret that tbh, but two things can be true. 1. Yes, the sound of the rope his father was hung from makes him shiver, or 2. And/or… it doesn’t scare him so much and he just knows his honest answer will be upsetting to Rose. Honestly maybe both are true but Peter is…pretty cold even in the book, so I always saw it slightly more as the latter. FYI, the film has a very strong mother-son bond, arguably more than the book. Rose has a line in the book about Peter: “I love him but I don’t know how to love him. Maybe if his father had some of his coldness he would still be there.” She’s fiercely protective of him but also disturbed by him. It’s there in the film too, I promise I’m not the only one who thinks that, it’s a fairly common takeaway I’ve heard from people who’ve seen the film.

    Ah yes, I forgot Rose did know about the rabbit! Thank you.

    Right, I think the sound that upsets Peter could have to do with the dad’s hanging, or it could be the sound of kids at school calling Johnny a “rummy” or alcoholic. But I’m not sure that this would motivate Kodi, given that he and Kirsten had their secret of killing Johnny… Anyway, this is from the book and I think it supports the idea that the most painful sound is of his dad being mocked.

    “As poultry in the pen pecks to death the maimed or strange among them, so at school was Peter hazed, taunted and named a sissy — the hiss of the word was everywhere. But only when they named his father a drunk did he turn on them. Quicker than he, they dodged easily and stood in a circle around him, their eyes bright with fun, their mouths making in unison the cruelly lacerating sound of the nasal “a.” Just so, he knew, in other circles had their fathers stood, and their grandfathers, tormenting some other paraid, some other odd one; just so would their own sons stand.

    Doctor Johnny
    Is a rummy.

    Again he started to lunge…” -Savage

    watch I May Destroy You

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    OscarWatcher1971
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    #1204688960

    At last some NBP love

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    Luca Giliberti
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    #1204688966

    Matt nominated it everywhere in his personal awards, including in supporting actor for Kodi. 😅 So confusing.

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