NPR logo
When Daddy's Little Girl Just Won't Let Go
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/123122932/123126903" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
When Daddy's Little Girl Just Won't Let Go

Movies

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

In the new movie "The Edge of Darkness," Mel Gibson plays a Boston police detective investigating his daughter's murder. Critic Bob Mondello says one thing in particular about "The Edge of Darkness" and a few other new films eerily like it drove him to the edge of distraction.

BOB MONDELLO, Host:

Daughters, daughters everywhere, and now I need a drink. Because they're not just daughters, they're dead daughters come back as ghosts to help their fathers. And that's not the sort of trick that can pop up in three movies in a single month and not be annoying.

I mean, there are other reasons to be annoyed with "The Edge of Darkness," Mel Gibson's in it, for one thing, but when Daddy's little girl trying to get out of harm's way...

Bojana Novakovic (Actor): (As Emma Craven) Hi, Dad. I'm going to come home for a few days.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE EDGE OF DARKNESS")

MONDELLO: ...instead gets killed on his doorstep and then starts talking to him from beyond the grave...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE EDGE OF DARKNESS")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONDELLO: ...well, at that point, all I can think is: Didn't I just see this? What about little Susie in "The Lovely Bones"?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LOVELY BONES")

SAOIRSE RONAN: (As Susie Salmon) My murderers still haunted me.

MONDELLO: She swooped back from the afterlife to try to contact her father.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LOVELY BONES")

Unidentified Male (Actor): (As character) Susie would never go off with a stranger.

RONAN: (As Susie) My father had the pieces, but he couldn't make them fit.

MONDELLO: And she already had ghostly company at the multiplex in "Creation," where little Annie Darwin popped up spectrally in her father's Victorian study to help him with his book "On the Origin of Species."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "CREATION")

MARTHA WEST: (As Annie Darwin) What are you so scared up? It's only a theory.

PAUL BETTANY: (As Charles Darwin) Apart from anything else, it would break your mother's heart.

MONDELLO: Ah, yes, mothers, mostly sidelined in these adult ghost stories for reasons that would probably fascinate Freud. In "Creation," much against mom's wishes, Dad spirits Annie away for useless medical treatment. In "The Lovely Bones," Mom runs away and lets Dad face their daughter's death alone. And in "Edge of Darkness," well, it's a Mel Gibson movie and has no use for moms.

So in each case, Daddy's little girl stays Daddy's little girl, which is what, wish fulfillment, daughters who don't grow up and move away, who are forever young and forever needing their fathers, if only to catch their killers?

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM)

SIEGEL: (As character) I wish you have someone.

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As character) You're my girl.

MONDELLO: Ghosts in fiction have been assisting folks left behind for a while, of course. Shakespeare brought Hamlet's deceased dad back from the grave to identify his killer. Patrick Swayze came back in the movie "Ghost" to save Demi Moore.

But this ghost-daughter thing feels different, as if Hollywood's dream factory is stuck in nightmare mode but still wants to offer uplift. Do fathers feel vulnerable right now, with news broadcasts trumpeting terrorist threats and economic downturns? Sure, they do. What parent doesn't worry about being able to protect, to provide for?

So after scaring dads half to death, what bone does Hollywood throw them? The kids will come back to haunt them. Daughters, daughters everywhere. And I could still use that drink. I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MADELEINE BRAND, Host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.