Review: A Butterfly Kiss

Butterfly Kiss (dir. Michael Winterbottom)

So you heard this was a lesbian-murderers-on-the-run copy of Thelma and Louise, Fun and Heavenly Creatures? Well, maybe – but let me guess, in the casual throwing around of the L-word none of the reviews mentioned that Eunice (Amanda Plummer), who drags naive Miriam (Saskia Reeves) on a murder-spree across the North of England, is bisexual. Somehow, in the media’s love-affair with lesbian chic, it must just have escaped their notice that Eunice works through (in several senses of the phrase) a string of male lovers, while pursuing her passionate, disturbed, and frequently abusive relationship with Miriam. Their increasingly violent journey takes apart that most macho of myths, the glamorous road movie, and replaces it with the dreary round of Granada service stations that is the English motorway. That image of the journey which goes nowhere sets the fatalistic tone for the film, as Miriam remains blind – don’t we all ? – to the truth about her lover, which is dismissed by her optimistic assertion that ” there’s some good and bad in everyone”.

Against the claim that this is a “negative image”, I’d suggest that this is rather a film for those who find negative images bear little resemblance to the delicious disaster that is everyday life. A film for everyone who knows that relationships can be torment and despair, for anyone who’s ever been obsessed to the point of madness, and for everyone who knows that mental health is just a contradiction in terms.

Jo