Tag Archives: crimson peak

Crimson Peak: 10 STARS

*Hey, I haven’t done one of these in ages but at this stage is that news? So as not to pull an Eminem on you I will not try and make this into another comeback special and will instead proceed to the main event. You should probably check out this rad new version of the Bechdel test to determine a film’s portrayal of race. I will try to work it into my system at some point as I realise the Bonus Point thing I’ve currently got going on is really shit. Anyway, onwards and upwards.*

(SPOILERS ABOUND, like normally I try and avoid spoilers but here that would involve saying nothing about any of the characters for they are very much defined by their actions. In my defense I didn’t find any of the ‘twists’ surprising but at all, so I still advise you to read on even if you have not seen the film. CN incest (told you there were spoilers) and like a lot of violence but actually 0 violence by men against women which is incredible given how many people get stabbed in this film (everyone). Also a discussion of age of consent)

Edith: He said it needed a love story

Father: He’s old-fashioned

Edith: He said that because I’m a woman

Father: Everyone falls in love Edith, even women.

So, a shocking 10 stars for Crimson Peak. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. Firstly I must acknowledge that I only watched this film because Mallory and Nicole were yelling about it, and I am heavily indebted to them for said yelling. However, although they are far funnier than I, they have not developed a very complicated star system for rating films so I feel my services will still be useful. And 10 Stars, I mean, that’s practically unprecedented, how could I resist? Someone once offered me their opinion that Guillermo del Torro makes shit English language movies so he can fund good Spanish ones. They offered this opinion as if it were common and uncontestable knowledge which, frankly, I should already have known. I am firmly opposed to this opinion. Pan’s Labyrinth is just as silly as this film. Hellboy is a masterpiece. There shall be no more further discussion on this point. You will not like this movie if you do not like campy gothic dramas, but you might like it even if you don’t like your classic bodice ripping period drama (as I do not) because, unlike such dramas this film does not treat The Past as a place where no one had realised that women were people yet and a lil bit of sexual violence was just par for the course. Let us enter this blood soaked and misogyny free wonderland.

STAR: The Bechdel Test

– STAR: Developed female relationships

(Tick and tick. So Edith’s mum has gone the way of all literary mothers of the past, obviously. She also failed to make any female friends in America at all. Books were her friends. And her father was her friend, in that he gave her a pen. (He gave her this pen as if it were magic and he stares at it in a way that is full of significance but it is not magic, it is just very sharp. This is a film filled with mysteries and I do not try to answer them) Anyway Edith and Lucille have a great relationship. I mean obviously Lucille is poisoning Edith (and I do mean very obviously, that fireberry tea, that was never going to be good) However, they have great chats, very intense and about dead mothers and tortured childhoods and moths eating butterflies. So appropriate to the gothic, roofless mansion. So much more filled with passion that Tommy’s little chats about machinery. Is Tom Hiddleston anything other than eye candy and a nice bum in this film, no, no he is not. It is a battle of wills between two women and as such it is wonderful)

STAR: Non- stereotyped Female Characters 

– STAR:Developed, prominent female character


(An easy two stars, no question. Edith and Lucille. Yes they are campy and gothic and silly but so is literally everything in this film, from the red snow to the really terrible CGI ghosts who fail to be frightening at all because they just do look so terrible. Edith is an aspiring writer. We never read anything she has written but Tom Hiddleston is hooked from reading a page in 10 seconds upside down, so probably she’s amazing. Yes, she swans around in a see-through nightie coughing up blood and looking for, then running from ghosts. Yes, she very unwisely befriends a small dog, and you know, marries a mysterious and beautiful penniless English nobleman (this film is not a great advert for the English to be fair) but you know what, when the going gets tough Edith is well up for stabbing people with pens and hitting them repeatedly over the heads with spades. Would it be understandable if she didn’t do these things, of course it would, she lives in a house where the walls bleed, but she does them because she will not be the fainting maiden we all expect her to be, and that is excellent. Lucille is wonderful in all ways, she is as evil as anyone can possibly be, she is our generation’s Mrs Danvers (as Mallory so rightly points out) and there is no higher praise)

STAR: No Excessive Air of Misogyny

– STAR: No rigid adherence to gender norms

(So, more ambiguous. There is that bit, mentioned above when Edith is like, ‘they want me to be a romance writer BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN and her dad does the classic, I’m a nice but essentially apolitical (and thus conservative) man, make a joke, have a little grumblesnort, so as not to have to agree to such a bold statement. However, once you get to Crimson Peak, gender roles mean nothing. You know who’s running that house, that’s right, it’s Lucille. With a rod of fucking iron. The only really worrying point is whether Tommy is redeemed in the eyes of the film and thus forgiven for killing his 3 wives and stepping in for his new (hotter, younger wife) only when she is about to be pushed off a balcony (she recovers very quickly from that little 2 storey tumble onto stone though so his ineffective intervention doesn’t really matter). So, maybe Tommy gets unreasonably forgiven for his bluebeard lifestyle while his sister is the personification of evil. However, Tommy is killed, and frankly I don’t think we’re meant to feel that bad for him. I think, when Mia Wasikowska strokes his bizarre ghosty face she’s saying ‘Bye Tommy, you were hot, but now I need to try and find some people whose house isn’t sinking into hell and who don’t try and poison me. Peace out.’ And I think that’s kind of an acceptable message)

STAR: No Excessive Female Exposure or Sexualisation

– STAR: No objectification of the female body

(Now, here is where Crimson Peak is really getting into its stride. Because, there is sex in Crimson Peak, but there are no boobs and much more naked Hiddleston than naked ladies.  Good. That is what I say to that. Good. I mean if you had a dress like that would you take it off for sex? No , you would wear it every second of the day like the beautiful butterfly you are.  Also, aside from hunting ghosts, and writing about ghosts, Edith’s main thing is trying to bang Tommy. Sadly he is often off banging his sister, but I like that she is so obviously into him. These women are not just handy with blades, they are super into sex, as active participants. That is good. They literally spend their time looking at Japanese porn together. Cool)

STAR: No Gratuitous or Trivialising Scenes of Rape or Male Violence Against Women 

– STAR: No threat of male violence against women

(See, here is this film’s greatest triumph. There is so much violence. There are knives in faces and faces horribly stomped into sinks. And yet all of this violence is perpetrated by women. Ok, so obviously it’s not ok to stamp anyone’s head into a sink just because they’ve found out about your bluebeard plot, even if they act like you’re a massive snob because you have soft hands even though you like in a house with no roof and they have loads of servants and stacks of cash. But I do think it’s amazing that we don’t ever really think that Tommy might stab up his wife. Because he just really obviously wouldn’t. He has the masculinity of a beautiful waltzing nobleman who enjoys tinkering with strange clay digging machines. He is just not aggressive at all, which, for a man who has allowed his sister to kill a lot of his wives, is impressive. Also Edith saves her Channing Tatum look-a-like American boyfriend as well, despite falling off that balcony, so that’s pretty sick too)

4 Bonus Points: 1 for BME women (I know, it’s a shit system, I’m sorry – there are two black women working as maids, they are laughing as they make Lucille and Tommy’s bed, I think that is great: ‘haha I knew the English were weird, aristocrats, always fucking their relatives, classic’ is what I imagine they were thinking) 1 for working class women (there are some maids and such, are they really characters? No, but they do speak and thus a point they get) 1 for women in power (because of all the stabbing, and the emotional manipulation, and just being bosses) 1 for discussion of feminism (aka Edith Shelley and the fight to be a SERIOUS woman of letters)

In conclusion, this film is great. I mean it makes NO SENSE AT ALL. The plotline is not worth a second’s thought. But the ambiance, that speech Lucille makes where she’s like ‘the horror? That was for love. Murderous, incestuous, ugly, amazing love’, that’s a great speech. The only potential problem, as I see it, is that maybe Lucille is abusive of Tommy. I mean, he was 2 years younger than her, and he was only 12 when she killed their mum for finding out their dark secret, so like he cannot really have consented to that, but then legally, neither can she. It’s a hot potato that one, and, if my old pals the MRAs find this blog I don’t want to give them any ammunition in the argument that I don’t take sexual violence against men seriously. Because believe me I do. Would say, that old Tommy does then continue to bang his sister for 20 years, when he could just be banging his many wives, or you know, not partaking in her murderous schemes. I don’t think the film tries to make us think Tommy’s been abused, more that he has fallen in love with Edith and so wants to give up his life of crime and incest handjobs now. He is still very much trying to take his sister with him up until she puts a knife in his face. So I’m going to say it doesn’t seem like he was abused, it seems like he was fine. So, actually in conclusion this time, 10 stars, and sex, and violence and everything as gothic as it could be. A big big thumbs up from me.

*So apparently Guillermo was well into the feminist angle on this. I should have known that the world couldn’t produce such a film without having someone who was intentionally fighting ‘a secret gender war’. Some people have said this film isn’t really a ‘feminist’ movie, I basically don’t think any movies are feminists, because they’re not people? So they can’t be? And yeah it’s not really about feminism. But I don’t think you can argue with del Toro when he says that these are ‘a bit more liberating gender roles’ because they just kind of obviously are*