The Fly: “Oh My God! My Boyfriend Is Turning Into A Fly”

This unlikely feature is probably the most powerful film I’ve seen in a while.

I am now tangled in the loop of bizarre 70s-90s movies, thanks to David Lynch and my unhealthy obsession with Jeff Goldblum. I’ve always wanted to see The Fly, but I was put off by the disgusting images, and the thought of my fave mutating into a fly furry. Eventually, I gained the courage to watch it, and here I am. In a nutshell, this film is about Veronica, a science journalist (Geena Davis) who met Dr. Seth Brundle, a scientist (Jeff Goldblum), and agreed to document him in his development of a teleportation machine. Things go wrong when a fly flew into the teleportation chamber when he attempted to teleport himself. It is then revealed that he is turning into Brundlefly, an amalgamation between him and the fly, and the journalist (who is now his girlfriend) must deal with it.

To be honest, I’ve never felt this way towards a film before. When I see films I like, I will feel enlightened and amused and I will defend it to my death. On the other hand, when I see films I don’t like, I will probably say “ugh”, rant about it, and perhaps, I will develop some kind of a stomachache. (Yes, that really happened when I saw A Good Day to Die Hard.) When I see okay films, I will probably shrug it off.

What about this film? Well…. this film disgusts me. Usually, I would categorize disgusting films into those kinds of films I don’t like. But I felt totally amused by this film. I would call this a masterpiece, but there are still problematic things that cannot be justified by how much of a profound work of art this is. My disgust left a big impression on me, and so does my acknowledgement of its beauty.

Awwww.
Awwww.

First of all, let me list down all the things I don’t like in the movie. Then, I’ll talk about the good things only. Pinky promise.

  • It. Is. Goddamn. Disgusting. (Don’t click the following links if you’re triggered by blood, gore, disgusting stuff, or if you just had your breakfast/lunch/dinner.) Exhibit A. Exhibit B. Exhibit C.
  • The men in this film are all problematic. (Veronica’s ex-boyfriend-slash-editor is a stalker, obsessive piece of trash, and post-transition Brundle is blind about consent.)
  • The two central characters hooked up 20 minutes in! Their chemistry so far was friend chemistry, and it’s too sudden for them to be a thing. I’m sure it started because Veronica thought that Brundle was hot, but her skepticism and eventual admiration towards him indicated a companionship and not a romance. Do you guys ever learn?
  • Veronica is a strong woman type, but sadly, [SPOILERS] the problematic ex-boyfriend becomes the hero of the story. [SPOILERS END]
  • Jeff Goldblum, stark naked, for a significant amount of time. YES THAT IS A PROBLEM TO ME IT IS TOO MUCH

Now, the good stuff.

First off, Veronica! Freaking! Quaife! It’s rare for us to see powerful female figures in cinema, and Veronica is one of those figures. She is aware that she is controlled by her ex-boyfriend, and she constantly fights for her freedom. She will defend what she believes in till death. Sadly, it’s all ruined when she becomes a victim of circumstance, much like Brundle, and, spoilers.

We truly have to praise the special effects and makeup here, because they sure have successfully made most of the film’s viewers’ stomachs churn. The film’s gritty setting emphasises its disturbing aura, much like a wine paired with a certain cheese, or a coffee paired with a certain cake. (By the way – Brundle is a coffee nerd.)

Jeff Goldblum gave it all for the role of Brundle. Beneath the thick, (disgustingly realistic) makeup, you can see his commitment and dedication to the role. This is probably the only Goldblum film I’ve seen so far that makes me think, “wow, he’s good, man,” in the context of his acting talent, not in the context of his face, although he looks dang good until 45 mins in. Best of all? The great performance doesn’t affect the large amount of Goldblumness. (You know, the uhs and long pauses and piano playing.)

Lastly, Dr.! Seth! Freaking! Brundle! First off, Brundle seems like a normal film-esque mad scientist. Then, he is faced with a life-transforming event, in which everything changed to the better (according to him) after his teleportation – in this case, his psyche is also transformed into some sort of a f–kboy attitude. But then he reaches a step of self-realization, that he is going to be Brundlefly (the symbol of his demise) and there is no way out of this. Brundle is a man who is very, very scared. This impacts his relationship with Veronica, in which he wants to keep her safe, but he doesn’t want to harm her, and this leads to further extreme actions and regret. Especially regret. This elevates the emotional value of the film, and the ultimatum of this condition (a.k.a. the ending) will make you very, very, VERY SENTIMENTAL. Brundle and Veronica, victims of circumstance, lovers at the wrong time and place.

This film is a literal and metaphorical interpretation of the overused phrase, “the monsters inside us.” What if those monsters appear physically as an amalgam of us and them? How do we confront them?

I wouldn’t say that this film is good, nor bad, nor okay; this film is overwhelming. This film is impactful.

★★★★½

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patriciaksmngtys

Patricia K. is an Indonesian computer science and theatre student based in Seattle, Washington. When she's not busy coding in Python or understanding Edward Albee's plays, you can find her watching movies or talking about them.

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