Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Woodsman (2004)- R

In 1982 Marvin Gay sang the hit song "Sexual Healing." Some of the lyrics include:

I want Sexual Healing
Sexual Healing, oh baby
Makes me feel so fine
Helps to relieve my mind Sexual Healing baby, is good for me
Sexual Healing is something that's good for me
Whenever blue tear drops are falling
And my emotional stability is leaving me
There is something I can doI can get on the telephone and call you up baby, and
Honey I know you'll be there to relieve me
The love you give to me will free me
If you don't know the things you're dealing ohh
Let me tell you, darling, that it's Sexual Healing

In The Woodsman, Kevin Bacon plays Walter, a convicted child molester that is rescued and maybe "healed" through the sexual caring of a newly found adult friend. This is a provocative and well-made film about sexual pain and sexual rescue.

Walter is released from prison after serving a lengthy term for sexual conduct with an 11-year-old girl. We never learn exactly the nature of the sexual conduct. Walter in one scene tells a companion that the girl looked older. Regardless, we do learn that Walter is a troubled man. He is haunted by this inner demon and lives in fear that his desire for very young girls will lead to re-incarceration or worse. His life is secretive and isolated from family, friends and even his therapist. We follow him as he gets an apartment near a grade school and begins spending most of this time watching 10-year-old girls play. The scenes are creepy.

The woodsman who using his axe cut her out of the wolf's belly,
Saved little Red Ridding Hood from the wolf.

In this film the "woodsman" is Vickie played by Kyra Sedgwick. She is a no-nonsense construction worker. We never know exactly her motivation, but she is drawn to rescue Walter even before she knows his full story. Vickie uses her body rather than an axe. Her purposeful erotic seduction rescues Walter by awakening sexual passion for an adult woman.

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, who in real life have been married since 1988, create believable characters. Bacon specifically is able to portray the creepiness and unsettling nature of a man obsessed by young children. The sex scenes between Walter and Vickie contain brief nudity and are erotic. I recommend The Woodsman because it puts a human face on a man our culture considers "a sexual monsters", yet still clearly showing him as a predator. However, even more interesting it raises the possibility of redirecting his sexual energy to adult partners. Vickie's role as the Woodsman was truly an example of "sexual healing" as sung by Marvin Gay.