Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Enigmatic Characters

We watched TAKE THIS WALTZ on Netflix streaming last night. We were highly disposed to like it after seeing Sarah Polley's new documentary, STORIES WE TELL.

And we did like it, despite, or maybe because of the enigmatic character of the main character, Margo, played by the amazing Michelle Williams. At the end of the film, we had no more understanding of her actions than at the beginning.

Are you able to tolerate enigma in characters in books and movies? Or do you require the book's end to bring about a full understanding? Can you think of an enigmatic character who never came into focus for you?


Anonymous said...

So many of Simenon's female characters remain enigmas from the first page to the last. Perhaps that's because so few of Simenon's narrators are female or because he (and his male characters) viewed women as enigmas. I don't mind enigmatic characters, except when it seems that the writer is using it as an excuse not to flesh out a character's motivations or backstory.


Anonymous said...

I'm having deja vu about this item.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

yeah, it went up yesterday by mistake. I find Patricia Highsmith's characters enigmatic. But I assume she wrote them that way for a reason.

Erik Donald France said...

I like Sarah Polley quite a bit.

Some Mad Men characters are enigmatic as they flit through -- sometimes more's revelaed, and sometimes not. "Bob" is ongoing now.

Whatever works -- or doesn't.

Charles Gramlich said...

I like enigmatic characters if I'm in the right mood and watching a more complicated story. Not so much in a shoot 'em up.

neer said...

I like enigmatic characters. Two that stand out in memory are John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown. Both of them hurt the men whom they love. Their reasons are so complex. And fascinating, for the readers.

Cap'n Bob said...

I generally don't have the patience.