Oppression on two levels. Heidi needs her bambi eyes, and men, to survive. Her widowed landlady is the contrast here, their scrapbooks the link between them. When Heidi tries to ensnare Joe, asking him if he loves her yet, Joe bristles. So Heidi makes herself vulnerable, dependent.

But look at Joe's farmhouse, his reference to peasant food, Heidi not knowing what to order at the restaurant. The relationship bridges a pretty stark class division as well, one brought out emphatically by Joe's jealous friend Stuart.

Great how gentle the touches of dialogue are. Bianca telling Heidi she's "alright"... to ride her brother's pony. Heidi and Joe's relationship is BUILT on indirect communication. Karl's empathy problem rather bluntly states the case: Joe can't communicate, and the only intimacy Heidi is aware of is the physical kind. Actually, Joe's just as bad, and a hypocrite for it -- rejection leads him to look for rebounds in surprising places.

Hence the blue. VERY blue, this film. Snow snow snow, snowing in the emotion. Joe uses boiled water to melt the ice off his windshield -- his first night with Heidi. And the climactic scene where the confrontations spill out -- flame red.

Several (male, which is interesting) reviewers were a bit frustrated with the beginning and ending of the film, but I think the answer lies in the director's professed fairy-tale sensibility. The film kicks off with Heidi kissing her mother's boyfriend, and then being discovered. Her mother is horrified, and Heidi runs away. No motive is readily supplied, so it does end up feeling slightly contrived. But I think the fairy-tale mood comes to the rescue. It's a thematically relevant way to launch our heroine into her somersault. When things turn upside down, then we'll get to the bottom of her character. And the ending? Well, I just like to think that the director has read Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. Feels contrived, until you start thinking about it.

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