Unsettling moment with Mia Wasikowska

I am watching the Chan Wook-Park movie, Stoker, on a plane. I selected it based on my need to watch something good (but not too good, in case I fall asleep); this had had interesting reviews, and I was watching it mainly thinking what I thought about the reviews that I had read and whether I agreed or disagreed with them.

Half way through,  I was struck unexpectedly by an electrifying erotic scene at the heart of the film. Mia Wasikowska (I can’t remember her character’s name) is tormented by feelings for her mysterious, sexy-yet-slightly-serial-killer-esque uncle, feelings that she’s not quite old enough to understand. She sits at a piano, in a spacious room in a cold, expensive house.

Sexy uncle comes and sits beside her- perhaps inside her head, in a daydream, it’s not quite clear- and joins her at the piano, as she starts to play. They play a duet.

The music becomes more urgent and repetitive, while the viewer feels almost unsettlingly close to the man and the girl; the camera taking an intimate look at parts of their bodies- the girl’s clunky shoes drawing up under her chair in ecstasy, the hairs on the back of his neck, then drawing back to show you the two players leaning closer together, concentrating on the music and how close they are. There’s a slight smile on the uncle’s face. He reaches around Mia, to play some high notes: he never catches her eye, but looks straight past her, as if he doesn’t need to pay attention to what his hands are doing, or look at her face, to know how she is responding. She’s breathing heavily; they look almost uncomfortably close to each other, as the music rises and drives to a peak . Then, abruptly, the song tails off in a little flutter. She sits, her mouth slightly open, in shock. He has gone and the room is empty.

I could not quite believe what I had seen and how it had made me feel, so I watched it again, and then- feeling a little flustered- wrapped myself in a blanket to lose myself in sleep. As I began to close my eyes, I noticed the young, pretty black nun two seats in front of me flick on the TV and fit the airline earphones on her head, wedging them with difficulty around her habit. She scrolled through the movies, selected Stoker and relaxed into her chair to watch.


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