This movie crawled out of the TV screen, into my head and took up residence. There really is something to the words, "you can't get rid of the Babadook." I could write pages and pages discussing this wonderfully crafted film, with more layers than a well made lasagna, but not right now.
The main reason that The Babadook resonated with me in such a profound way is because Jennifer captures the full spectrum of emotions relating to motherhood and delves into its inky depths. She explores the concept that you can love your child deeply and at the same time be so exhausted and frustrated by unmet needs and expectations that your feelings become well, monstrous. This is a side of motherhood which I think most people simply don't want to acknowledge. And even though it is clearly a major theme of the movie I noticed that many interviewers who spoke to Jennifer didn't ask her about it. One who did was Ryan Lambie and this is part of what she had to say. "I was really wanting to explore parenting from a very real perspective. Now, I’m not saying we all want to go and kill our kids, but a lot of women struggle. And it is a very taboo subject, to say that motherhood is anything but a perfect experience for women. To the point where I tried to look for research, and I found it very hard to find anything on the subject."
Deeper meanings aside Jennifer Kent has written and directed one damn fine horror, and she has done it in an artful way without the need for violence and gore it which I appreciate. For weeks after I first watched this film I had to tell myself things like, "I know it's dark, but no Mr Babadook is not standing in the lounge room waiting for you and yes that really is just a shirt hanging on the end of the bed.
I am impressed by the way that Jennifer was brave enough to put her foot down when it came to executing her vision. In one interview she said that many people fought the ending and that she really defend it. I am glad that she did, I think it was unique and poignant conclusion to the film.
I think it's a very cool achievement that Jennifer has managed to make her main character Amelia the victim, the villain and the hero of the film (although Amelia is a mother and we do tend to rock the multitasking thing).
I was so inspired by this film that I set about creating my own Babadook stop motion, unfortunately I didn't get very far with the project ( I did think I'd wait until I received my copy of the Babadook pop up book for inspiration, and I'm still waiting) but I will finish it one day because after all you can't get rid of the Babadook. Here is a little snippet of my work so far.
Jennifer Kent, Life lesson: Trust in and fight for your creative vision even if others have trouble seeing it.