Some Lines Should Be Crossed

On the front cover of my Christmas gift DVD of Flatliners has the words: “Some lines shouldn’t be crossed.”   Apparently, they take this phrase to heart in not only the plot of coming back from the dead, but also with keeping gender expectations.

Five pre-med doctors have their various reasons for collaborating to cause each other’s deaths and then bring them back to life again.   Problem is, they weren’t expecting to bring anything back with them.   But their sins come back to haunt them nevertheless.

Nelson, our first male character, had accidentally killed a kid when he was bullying him with his friends back in the day.   Joe, our second male character, videotaped women without their knowledge during sex.   Dave, our third male character, had been a part of a crowd that daily made one little girl’s school experience a living hell growing up.   The fourth male character didn’t die, so he was there purely for support and humor in the film.  

And then there was Rachel.   Our one and only female character in this film.   What awful sin did she commit that came back with her?   “¦ Nothing.   That’s right, she was the innocent that thought her father had committed suicide after he came back from war because she had walked in on him shooting up on drugs.  

Each of the male characters had to find ways to atone for what they’d done in their pasts.   Rachel had to give her father a big hug and hear him apologize to her to bring them both peace.      

With all the male characters in this movie, you’d think the writers of this script could’ve found a way to have one of them be set up as the innocent and have the female have her own sin to uncover.   It’s really too bad that that thought likely didn’t even cross their minds.


  1. Jennifer Kesler says

    It didn’t help that the role was played by Julia Roberts who, back then, was America’s Sweetheart and could do no wrong – even in her roles. It would actually make more sense for her to be the one who made the schoolgirl’s life a living hell and for that guy to be the innocent with the dead father.

  2. scarlett says

    Well, I remember what pissed me off about the movie was the men didn’t want to let her have a go – I don’t remember them giving a reason, I guess that they were men and were entitled to a second go before her first was such an obvious reason it didn’t need to be said ;p

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    Oh, I imagine they were protecting her – the male fantasy of man’s glorious role in women’s lives. 😉

  4. SunlessNick says

    Kevin Bacon’s character was the one who was portrayed as the most screwed up at the start of the film – having that be caused by unwarranted guilt would have been a good contrast with the others, having to confront crimes they didn’t feel guilty enough for – and would have given a bit more of a theme to the forces they were confronting.

  5. Ifritah says

    I think the reason that didn’t irk me as much was because it was addressed in the movie. Rachel became very annoyed at how the men were treating her when it came to ‘going under’. It’s definitely worth noting, and I don’t blame you at all for being angry at that portion (I was too), but it helped to see that Julia Robert’s character was pissed off for the gender mistreatment as well.

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