Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Bill Campbell, Juliette Lewis, Ruben Madera, Dan Futterman | Directed by: Michael Apted | Produced by: Irwin Winkler, Rob Cowan | Written by: Nicholas Kazan | Distributor: Columbia Tristar
Why do men batter women? Many theories have been developed to explain why some men use violence against their partners. These theories include: family dysfunction, inadequate communication skills, provocation by women, stress, chemical dependency, lack of spirituality and economic hardship. These issues may be associated with battering of women, but they are not the causes. Removing these associated factors will not end men’s violence against women. The batterer begins and continues his behavior because violence is an effective method for gaining and keeping control over another person and he usually does not suffer adverse consequences as a result of his behavior.
Historically, violence against women has not been treated as a “real” crime. This is evident in the lack of severe consequences, such as incarceration or economic penalties, for men guilty of battering their partners. Rarely are batterers ostracized in their communities, even if they are known to have physically assaulted their partners. Batterers come from all groups and backgrounds, and from all personality profiles. However, some characteristics fit a general profile of a batterer:
A batterer objectifies women. He does not see women as people. He does not respect women as a group. Overall, he sees women as property or sexual objects.
A batterer has low self-esteem and feels powerless and ineffective in the world. He may appear successful, but inside he feels inadequate.
A batterer externalizes the causes of his behavior. He blames his violence on circumstances such as stress, his partner’s behavior, a “bad day,” alcohol or other factors.
A batterer may be pleasant and charming between periods of violence, and is often seen as a “nice guy” to outsiders.
Some behavioral warning signs of a potential batterer include extreme jealousy, possessiveness, a bad temper, unpredictability, cruelty to animals and verbal abusiveness. (This information has been provided by The National Association Against Domestic Violence).
The American Bar Association reports that over 1 million women will suffer non-fatal violence from their partner in a year. 4 million women will be assaulted. A partner has struck 1 in 3 women physically. Super Bowl Sunday is the day that our nation logs in the highest number of domestic violence reports on a single day.
There is no doubt that domestic violence is real and that many in our country struggle with all the issues that surround this tragedy. I do think that sending the advertised message of the film “Enough” that “everyone has a limit” will not solve the problems of domestic violence. Every part of Nicholas Kazan’s story reads like a made for the Lifetime Channel movie of the week. The plot is extremely weak. To mention the word “contrived” is an understatement. Many of the sub-plots seem more like fantasy type add ins (nowhere did I leave my fairy god-mother).
Our story begins with a waitress named Slim (Jennifer Lopez) “working hard for her money” at a local diner. The audience is asked to sympathize with this attractive woman who must deal with male customers who flirt. (Actress Sandra Bullock was originally cast for this role.) We witness smooth talking Robbie (Noah Wyle) trying to make his moves on Slim. She is rescued from this moment by a rich contractor named Mitch (Billy Campbell) whose main ambition is “to keep her safe” (do you smell a set up yet?). I must admit it was strange seeing Campbell (whose best role was in my all-time favorite film “The Rocketeer”) and Wyle cast in a negative role, but that’s Hollywood for you.
This shining moment of chivalry sweeps our unsuspecting lady off her feet. The next scene has vows exchanged and now our couple head off into marital bliss. There isn’t anything that our rich young businessman won’t buy to please his new bride. They have a beautiful little girl, Gracie (Tessa Allen) and six years go by with apparently no problems.
One day Slim discovers that Mitch is having an affair. Instead of your typical “I’m so sorry dialogue,” Mitch instead justifies having a mistress. He declares, “I make the money so I set the rules.” Slim is struck in the face and we learn that it’s OK because men are like “land-mines” (consoling advise from his mom). Our abused wife begins to plan her escape with help from her friends. After several attempts to relocate, she realizes that running is not a solution to her problem of a husband that is not only abusive, but also stalks Slim’s every move. Our heroine decides to take matters into her own hands and learns self-defense (brass knuckles included). Her closest friend, Ginny (Juliette Lewis) reassures her with the following rhetoric: “you have a divine animal right to protect yourself and your offspring.” The entire film builds toward this physical confrontation and quicker than you can say “Rocky” Slim is toned up and ready to “kick someone’s backside.”
I don’t deny the fact the domestic violence is real, but I do have some serious problems with many of the solutions offered in this film. I attended the area premier of this movie and most of the audience was young women. Was I mistaken and actually at a sporting event? Every time Slim landed a punch on Mitch, the crowd cheered. Our sense of justice is brought to the emotional front while viewing “Enough”.
If you know someone who is being abused or you are being abused, I strongly encourage you to work with a Christian counselor to find a solution. I do not expect women to become helpless doormats to abusers, but there are other non-violent solutions. (To find a counselor in your area, try www.aacc.net.)
I honestly cannot recommend “Enough” because of the negative solutions offered for a serious problem in our society. There is some language, frank discussions of sex (like several pre-marital sex references and the so-called “who is better in bed” girl-talk), and some intense violent scenes (blood included) that provide more than enough material to earn a PG-13 rating. The film is extremely well acted, but unfortunately poorly scripted. What else can I say—it simply is not that great of a film and very surprising as a big screen release.