When I saw The DaVinci code, my main thought, other then what a paint-by-numbers adaptation it was, was what the hell is that body language between Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou?
In the book, they’re cryptologists (he’s far more well established than her, though) who are thrown together to solve a murder they’re both implicated in. They run around Paris and finally get off to London and Geneva in search of the DaVinci code. (If you’re interested, it’s the very definition of pulp fiction, but it’s a decent read, at least the first time. Dan Brown is no Hemmingway.) They respect one another, but at best, they’re colleagues. It would be difficult to even call them friends.
Which is why this body language had me stumped. The whole way through, Robert Langdon (Hanks) is extremely protective of Sophie Neuveu (Tatou) – y’know, the clichÃ©d put-the-woman-behind-me-so-I-can-protect-her stuff. Langdon constantly makes an effort to protect Sophie, despite the fact Sophie has proven she can look after herself, thankyouverymuch. No way would I go out of my way – especially when it meant compromising my own safety – to look after someone who was perfectly capable of looking after themselves.
Except that’s what men do. Because, you know, women aren’t capable of looking after themselves. Not even women who are half your age and in better shape.
The whole way through the movie, it’s Langdon protecting Neuveu. Langdon steps between Neuveu whenever danger threatens. Langdon helps Neuveu down the stairs. Langdon helps Neuveu up when she’s fallen. Dude, the woman can outrun you in heels. I think she can pick herself up.
At one point, they’re in the classic pre-kiss pose. You know the one; standing close together, his arms either wrapped around her or on her upper arms, he looks down at her, she gazes up at him”¦ ech. Nothing happens, but I’m honestly convinced that if Dan Brown hadn’t had so much clout in regards to the adaptation, they would have thrown the Arbitrary Love Plot. (The one which has no relevance to the main plot, but someone, somewhere, told the director that the audience loves nothing more than the fifty-year-old male lead in bed with the twenty-something female lead. Kudos to whoever it was who made Hanks look closer to forty than fifty, though.)
It really bugged me. The Neuveu in the book was hardly an ass-kicking heroine, but she held her own. She’s shown a lot more to complement Langdon’s knowledge in the book, rather then being a pupil to him in the movie. In the movie, director Ron Howard can’t seem to decide if he’s going for a pseudo father/daughter relationship, or getting in as many allusions to a relationship as he can without Brown kicking up a stink. What does it say about the film industry that even pulp fiction is more open-minded than mainstream movies?
I don’t know if they were aiming for paternal/filial or loverly, but it sucked. They took a perfectly good platonic, respectful relationship and turned it into a woman-needs-protection relationship. Or worse; Hanks, Tatou and Howard didn’t even know they were doing it; it was just second nature to write an older male/younger female relationships as either paternal/filial or loverly. Either way, the woman gets looked after. Because she can’t look after herself.