Author Topic: What's up with Jenny?  (Read 2956 times)

Offline Kazza

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What's up with Jenny?
« on: October 22, 2006, 07:26:26 pm »
I know that there have been various timeline discussions on here, but there is one that always strikes me when I watch the film and I thought that Id run it by you good folks. See if anyone has a theory as to why this was filmed the way that it was. My apologies if this has been discussed before.

When we first see the Del Mar girls at the ranch Junior is about 18 months or so, and Jenny looks about 6 months old.

When we see them in the grocery store when Ennis goes looking for Alma, Junior looks about 4, yet Jenny seems only to have aged a few months (if at all).

Are Ennis and Alma not feeding their youngest child? Did they trade her in for a younger model? Whats going on? ???

Karen

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2006, 10:03:23 pm »
Heya Kazza,

Well, you're hitting on some of the most perplexing aspects of that darned "timeline".  The age problem with the girls is certainly one big issue.  Another wierd aspect of the timeline is just how long the relationships with Randall and Cassie seem to go on if one pays close attention to background details and clues as to how many years pass.  It's something like 4 or 5 years... Which strikes lots of people as awfully long for casual relationships.  It does help explain why Cassie is so emotionally invested by the end.  Still, I feel like the audience is meant to believe that both the Cassie and the Randall (probably especially the Randall) relationships are very casual from the point of view of our boys.

I also have never heard a great explanation as to why Jenny is called Jenny in the film... what the hell ever happened to Francine? :-\ ;)
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Offline Kazza

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2006, 06:53:28 am »
Heya Kazza,

Well, you're hitting on some of the most perplexing aspects of that darned "timeline".  The age problem with the girls is certainly one big issue.  Another wierd aspect of the timeline is just how long the relationships with Randall and Cassie seem to go on if one pays close attention to background details and clues as to how many years pass.  It's something like 4 or 5 years... Which strikes lots of people as awfully long for casual relationships.  It does help explain why Cassie is so emotionally invested by the end.  Still, I feel like the audience is meant to believe that both the Cassie and the Randall (probably especially the Randall) relationships are very casual from the point of view of our boys.

I also have never heard a great explanation as to why Jenny is called Jenny in the film... what the hell ever happened to Francine? :-\ ;)

Amanda, I'm glad I'm not the only one perplexed.

I know that we've all noticed and discussed the various continuity errors that crop up, but these are incidental to the actual story line. However, I can't see any explaination as to why these timeline inconsistancies seem to be so evident. I agree that from the emotional persepctive of Ennis and Jack their relationships with Cassie and Randall appear to be casual. I can see how the meetings between Jack and Randall could have been carried on in secret for a number of years, but a girl like Cassie would surely be looking for the relationship to be moving forward. Then again, there is a school of thought out there that believes that Jack wasn't seeing Randall, but if we use the original story as a base I think that we have to accept that Jack was getting his itch scratched somewhere.

Doesn't spoil the film for me in any way - remember vividly just how blown away I was after the first viewing - but I do wonder at some of these seeming inconsistancies. Maybe these issues crop up in every film, we just don't rewatch and disect them as avidly as we do this one.  ;D

As for Jenny/Francine's name - who knows? She appears in the film so little it's a bit of a mystery as to why her name was changed.

Karen

Offline Mikaela

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2006, 07:14:38 am »
I believe there are very mundane and pragmatic reasons for all these Jenny questions.

"Jenny" is easier to say and easier to recognize in a spoken sentence than "Francine".

And as for the mysterious increase in age difference between Alma Jr. and her sister at the time around the Reunion - that's to do with them needing one kid who was old enough to take direction and perform in a number of scenes. The Alma Jr. who needs crayons, who topples the peanut display, who copies her mother in doing her own cooking, wearing her cute little apron and all, who does the colour book thing with her mother, who takes one more bite of dinner, who comes running to ask her daddy for a big fish, who has to cling to her mother for some time while Alma's watching Ennis drive away with Jack.... The little actress simply couldn't have been much younger than she was, while performing her part in all of those scenes.

While having Jenny myseriously and seemingly *not* age much at the same time, means they could safely keep her out of those Del Mar domestic scenes; - because as a baby still we can infer that she'd be taking naps or being in her crib (if that's the right word), even during those scenes that take place in the middle of the day.

The screenplay has both Jenny and Junior present and helping mom with the cooking when Ennis comes home and is given Jack's first postcard by Alma. I bet when actual filming rolled around, they discovered that one little girl was more than enough to corral.  :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 07:17:42 am by Mikaela »

Offline Kazza

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2006, 09:10:04 am »
Mikaela, your explaination makes perfect sense. Rather than being a glaring mistake or something of that nature it was merely to smooth the film making process. No point in trying to direct and manage two small kids when only one is needed to interact with other chatacters.

It did seem a little bizarre that something so glaring would have been overlooked as part of the making of a film, where things are usually planned in meticulous detail.

Thanks.

Karen

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2006, 09:46:06 am »
Are there dates attached to the ranch house scene and the grocery story scene in Story to Screenplay? I don't have the book with me here at work, so I can't check.

By Annie Proulx's story, Alma, Jr., was born in September 1964, so she was about 3 years old when her father and Jack reconnected. If Jenny/Francine (or Francine/Jenny) was two years younger, she should have been practically a newborn at the time of the 1966 Fourth of July fireworks incident.
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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2006, 10:57:17 am »
Are there dates attached to the ranch house scene and the grocery story scene in Story to Screenplay? I don't have the book with me here at work, so I can't check.

Yes, the STS says 1966 for the ranch house scene and 1967 for the grovery store scene.


Quote
By Annie Proulx's story, Alma, Jr., was born in September 1964, so she was about 3 years old when her father and Jack reconnected. If Jenny/Francine (or Francine/Jenny) was two years younger, she should have been practically a newborn at the time of the 1966 Fourth of July fireworks incident.

I think the girls were less than 2 years apart. I'd say not more than one and a half year. From the description in the story, I think the girls came pretty close one after the other.

Interestingly, in the story, they move to the Riverton appartment before Jenny/Francine is born. In the movie, they move after the birth of the second girl.




Offline Mikaela

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2006, 11:33:15 am »
Quote
Interestingly, in the story, they move to the Riverton appartment before Jenny/Francine is born. In the movie, they move after the birth of the second girl.

I've seen that as a direct contrast between film and short story in illustrating the dynamics of the Del Mar marriage. In the film, it seems as if they move to town as a direct consequence of Alma's "cain't we move to town?" plea - as if Ennis goes along with her wheedling in order to placate her, or make up to her that he does "what she [so obviously] hates".  At any rate, Alma wants them to move; - and they do.

While in the short story, Alma under the same circumstances (in bed with her husband, etc.) pleads that they should find some better place to live, but they very pointedly don't, because Ennis favours the flat above the laundromat since it can be "left at any time". Ie. Ennis doesn't want them to move - and they don't.

What do you make of the point that short story Ennis favours the laundromat flat that can be left at any time? Any thoughts on why that is so important to him? I see the point of having jobs he can quit easily, but why feel the same about their home? It gives the impression of him feeling like a refugee in his own life, always on the verge of having to flee from something rather than to something.... perhaps that is the point.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 12:23:50 pm by Mikaela »

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2006, 12:26:21 pm »
I've seen that as a direct contrast between film and short story in illustrating the dynamics of the Del Mar marriage. In the film, it seems as if they move to town as a direct consequence of Alma's "cain't we move to town?" plea - as if Ennis goes along with that in order to placate her, or make up to her that he against her will subjects her to "what she hates".  At any rate, Alma wants them to move; - and they do.

While in the short story, Alma under the same circumstances (in bed with her husband, etc.) pleads that they should find some better place to live, but they very pointedly don't, because Ennis favours the flat above the laundromat since it can be "left at any time". Ie. Ennis doesn't want them to move - and they don't.

What do you make of the point that short story Ennis favours the laundromat flat that can be left at any time? Any thoughts on why that is so important to him? I see the point of having jobs he can quit easily, but why feel the same about their home? It gives the impression of him feeling like a refugee in his own life, always on the verge of having to flee from something rather than to something.... perhaps that is the point.

I'm totally with you regarding the movie. Alma wants to move - and they move. I don't think he's following her suggestion because he wants to make up for "doing what she hates". I think they move because
- she has some good points (foremost Jenny's asthma spills, then other children to play with for the girls, she is lonesome)
- he takes the line of least resistance (very Ennis!)
- he tries to be a good husband
- he loves her 

In the story, it's more of a compromise: Ennis wants to move out of town again, to a lonsemoe ranch, but Alma wants to stay in own and find them a better/own place there.
They stay in town, like Alma wants, but they don't "get a place" (=rent better place or buy a place?) and stay in the little appartment, which Ennis prefers.

As to why Ennis prefers the appartment, which can be left at any time:
He is stuck with what he got, caught in his own loop, as he (later) says to Jack at the Siesta. Living in a place that can't be left at any time would increase this feeling of being cought.
Kind of last straw for Ennis, he can't leave the life he leads, but at least the appartment could be left at any time. A straw to cling to.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2006, 12:29:32 pm by Penthesilea »

Offline Mikaela

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Re: What's up with Jenny?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2006, 03:35:03 pm »
Pent, i think your reply is very insightful. I especially like the "straw to cling to" image. *sigh*

Now when it comes to the film, you say:

Quote
I don't think he's following her suggestion because he wants to make up for "doing what she hates". I think they move because
- she has some good points (foremost Jenny's asthma spills, then other children to play with for the girls, she is lonesome)
- he takes the line of least resistance (very Ennis!)
- he tries to be a good husband
- he loves her

I've always felt certain that Alma has been raising this subject more than once before. The way she says "cain't we...." speaks to me ao her revisiting the subject, as does the fact that she seemingly thinks she has to throw seduction into the mix; - as if she knows rational argument alone won't do. So I do think Ennis may well be taking the path of least resistance, like you say - realizing Alma won't stop asking for this. But personally I also do imagine he feels he ows her something for treating her "the way she hates" . The more I think about it, the more I'm a little surprised that they actually kept that in the film. It does seem to jar with the otherwise deliberately more symphatetic film Ennis as opposed to his story self.... But I suppose they thought it was too strong an indication of him missing Jack to leave it out.