The Fly

Saw The Fly recently, and was pleasantly surprised to see a fairly strong female character in a horror flick. The film revolves around Seth (Jeff Goldblum), a scientist who is working on teleportation. He becomes involved with Ronnie (Geena Davis) a journalist who initially is out to report his findings, then agrees to document him in return for exclusive book rights, then falls for him. Their relationship appears to be based on mutual attraction, respect and intelligence.

When Seth attempts to teleport himself, he accidentally fuses his DNA with that of a fly (yes, this movie is held together by bullshit science) and slowly undergoes a transformation to that of a more insect nature; phenomenal strength-to-size ratio, cold selfishness, regurgitating his own spew. Ronnie, in the meantime, is trying to help him as he transforms into something cold and heartless.

This role could have so easily been played as a silly woman who didn’t know when to get out, and I largely credit Davis for given Ronnie so many dimensions. Instead, she comes across as a person in love, trying to do her best in a truly heinous situation. At the beginning of Seth’s transformation, she calls him on his newly-developed selfishness. When she finds out she’s pregnant, she makes an instant decision to abort; no ‘but I’m carrying the child of the man I love’ arguments for her; she’s carrying what may or may not be a human-fly hybrid and, knowing what Seth is slowly becoming, better to be safe than sorry and abort immediately.

I was really impressed by the strength, compassion, but ultimately self-surviving traits that Davis demonstrated in Ronnie. I was a bit disappointed by the ending – only in the sense that her actions were pretty typical of the ‘hysterical female’ stereotype of horror, after a damn good run for the rest of the movie – but I’m willing to chalk that up to those heinous circumstances.

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