Film

Alexandra's Project (2003)—AustraliaAlexandra's Project (2003)—Australia

Steve's birthday started well enough. While still in bed his kids gave him hugs and high fives. At work his colleagues had a cake with candles and his boss gave him a promotion. And his wife Alexandra promised him a surprise in the evening. Some surprise. The film opens with a camera panning through the winding road of a sterile suburb, and soft, discordant music. The very first sentence of the film belongs to Alexandra as she is alone in the bathroom looking at herself in the mirror: "I'm so sorry, Steve." The she spits in the mirror: "NO! I'm not sorry! No one should ever be sorry to stand up for their own self!" The rest of the film then takes place in the living room as Steve watches the "surprise" birthday tape that Alexandra made before she left him. Her powerfully manipulative monologue to Steve takes him on a roller coaster of emotions straight to hell: humor, disbelief, regret, sadness, pity, anger, rage, and finally despair. "You didn't marry me, Steve," she tells him, "you married my body." And so she makes it clear just how a marriage devoid of affection, intimacy, and mutual respect had made her feel. This film is hard to watch because it is without nuance. Alexandra is one deeply angry and cruel woman, but if what she says about Steve is true you empathize with her anyway.