The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag (1992)

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag
Director: Allan Moyle
Writer: Grace Cary Bickley
Cast: Penelope Ann Miller, Eric Thal, Alfre Woodard, Julianne Moore, Andy Romano, Ray McKinnon, William Forsythe, Xander Berkeley, Meat Loaf, Catherine Keener
Seen on: 2.4.2018

Betty Lou (Penelope Ann Miller) is a librarian, and married to Alex (Eric Thal), a police officer. But Alex and pretty much everyone else is ignoring her. And Betty Lou really doesn’t know how to make somebody pay attention. Not even when she finds a murder weapon is she able to make anybody listen to her. But she has had it and when she accidentally fires the gun herself and is arrested, she confesses to the murder herself. And suddenly all eyes are on her.

The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag is a very, very stupid film that makes absolutely no sense and isn’t funny despite how much it tries to be. It’s a film best forgotten (and it probably would have been already if it wasn’t for Julianne Moore’s small supporting role. At least that’s the reason I know about the film in the first place).

I am pretty sure that they wanted to tell an empowering story with the film. A story of a meek woman who finds her own and learns to stand up for herself. But unfortunately the plot is so far-fetched, Betty Lou’s characterization so overdone that in the end nothing makes much sense – neither narrative nor character arc.

My major point of contention with the entire thing was that I just didn’t understand why Betty Lou would so desperately try to keep Alex. He is nothing but horrible to her and I just don’t get it. Plus, making this her foremost motivation hinges her entire development on a dude, which is not exactly empowering or feminist.

In some thing it was rather entertaining. From today’s perspective it is rather enjoyable just how absolutely 90s the film is. It’s rare to get the style of a decade in an apparently so pure and condensed form. Plus, Julianne Moore is a star no matter where she turns up.

But other than that, I see no point in watching this film. Let me have taken the fall for all of you and save you 90 minutes of time you’d never get back.

Summarizing: ugh.

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