Colin has the wind knocked out of him, and Robert helps him back to his feet; it is unclear if the punch was intended as a joke, a reprimand, or both. In fact most of the film is so insignificant that without the intriguing ending the film would have simply floated away. Colin. Caroline explains they are taking a three-month vacation to visit her family in Canada. That night, his father calls Robert into his office (a room usually off limits) and has him watch as he beats the two sisters with the belt. This is at first glance a fairly insignificant phrase, idle chatter between strangers who meet in Venice. Just as they arrive, a waterbus headed for the center of town departs. Plot. Colin rises from his afternoon repose and showers first, hearing a man across the way in his own shower singing opera with great abandon. Colin attempts to alter his strokes to combat the fatigue, but finds himself quickly wearing out. Colin begins to drift off to sleep in Mary’s arms and she finally reveals her nightmare. When the time arrives for their parents return, they return all of the clothes, wash themselves thoroughly, and open the window in their parents’ bedroom to clear the smell of perfume. Worried that the waiter may never come back, Mary suggests they leave, go back to their hotel, and order room service. The house has been packed up and there are suitcases by the door. 'The Comfort of Strangers' Reviewed by Reviewed by John Leonard. Caroline mentions how beautiful Colin is, and then soon leaves to fetch snacks realizing that Colin and Mary must be famished. Stranger Than Fiction Analysis. Robert then mentions a new manager working at his bar/restaurant and proposes a toast. Initially, they believed it was Caroline’s medical issue, but tests revealed Robert had a low sperm count. Mary eats greedily, and Caroline speaks to Mary about love. When they do, they look up in the distance and see a familiar balcony. Suddenly, a man steps out of the shadow and asks who they are and where they are going. Robert has returned with Colin, and the couple is ready to enact a fantasy involving Colin and Mary. As Robert begins to speak of his childhood, he portrays his father as a stern and terrifying man. Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for The Comfort of Strangers by Ian McEwan (1994, Trade Paperback) at the best online prices at eBay! She is several stories up in a building that seems to have been subdivided into apartments or condos. Without discussing it, they both climb the hill towards their home. Colin attempts to question Robert about his reasons for doing this, as well as the photograph, but Robert deflects all questions. Word Count: 409. She feels guilty about leaving them home with their father, and considers returning home early, even though they have ten days left in their vacation. Caroline deposits her in a chair and explains that she put something “special” in her tea. As Robert goes to the kitchen to check on the food, he deliberately winks at Colin. Many of them have been magnified or cut to eliminate Mary from the picture. Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. It is based on a novel by Ian McEwan, the best-selling British novelist of the perverse, and the screenplay is by Harold Pinter, so expert at suggesting the terrifying depths beneath innocent … Colin fantasizes of a machine that has sex with Mary until she dies, and continues afterward. The Comfort of Strangers is a 1990 psychological thriller film directed by Paul Schrader, and starring Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson, and Helen Mirren. At dinner that night, his father asks him what they did all afternoon, and Robert responds honestly because he thinks his father already knows. That night, Mary is startled from her sleep screaming. Mary tries to no avail to open some of the furniture drawers but they are all locked. June 17, 2020 by Essay Writer . When Colin attempts to playfully disagree, Robert punches him in the stomach. The door closes and from the street it sounds like Robert strikes Caroline in the face. "The Comfort of Strangers" contains the elements to be a violent crime story, or a lurid horror film. Unfortunately, they catch his eye and he comes over to see them. Still, in individual moments, "The Comfort of Strangers" has an eerie, atmospheric charm. Colin soon stirs and quickly becomes concerned about the whereabouts of their clothes. I will turn away from spoiling the plot for the unwary by telling how one feels at the end of the tale, except to say that you will feel something. This article presents a detailed comparison of the narration in McEwan’s (1982)  The Comfort of Strangers and Schrader’s (1990) film based on a scenario by Harold Pinter. "The Comfort of Strangers" is hardly groundbreaking. The older man is standing next to the younger man, the very model of urbanity, when suddenly . He buys them a drink and sees them back to their hotel. The next day, Mary and Colin decide to go to the beach. 'The Comfort of Strangers' (1981), by the British author Ian McEwan is a fascinating psychological and short crime novel about a contemporary young English couple on a brief holiday to Italy, causing one to wonder about the plausibility of their encounter and strange bonding with an older married couple from Canada who live there and the dark ending to this narration. The speaker is an odd, polite man in a white suit, who lives in a luxurious Venetian palazzo with his wife. Caroline informs them that she and Robert are about to go away and the telephone lines have been shut off. There is, for example, the episode when Robert and Caroline invite Colin and Mary around to their palazzo for a drink. The passage taken from “The Comfort of Strangers “by Ian McEwan essentially describes the want of two sisters Eva and Maria to look beautiful and furthermore the denial of their […] Read more. She is fascinated and wonders what her own children are up to at this moment. Word Count: 413. This evening, Colin smokes his marijuana alone on the veranda and notices a mildly comical situation play out in which an elderly man attempts to get a good picture of his wife without the interference of a table of diners nearby. There is always the sense there of a corner not turned, a passage left unexplored, a lost building, a hidden place where unspeakable practices take place. She does, noting the beauty that attracted Robert and Caroline. One night, Robert goes too far and breaks Caroline’s back. The early part of their journey proves unsuccessful for expected reasons. As they finish the story, Caroline takes Mary to their bedroom where Mary sees a kind of shrine built to Colin. Word Count: 432. The Ian McEwan paradox continues. The other patrons at the bar continually look at Robert as he waits. At the end of the day, the couple makes their way down to the quay to catch a water taxi home. Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Perhaps the arbitrary, unfinished nature of the story is part of its purpose. As before (The Cement Garden, In Between the Sheets), he writes some of the cleanest, most sparely seductive narration this side of Graham Greene. Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. That much we definitely know. He leaves Mary to talk with Caroline without asking either of them if they agree to this arrangement. Our summaries and analyses are written by experts, and your questions are answered by real teachers. When their taxi approaches their usual stop, they decide to get off one stop later. 2 pages at 400 words per page) View a FREE sample . The older couple are Robert and Caroline (Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren), and they are spiders, twitching their net, waiting for the right victims to come along. Print Word PDF. Robert has regularly shared fantasies of killing Caroline during their lovemaking, and Caroline thinks he is now intent on doing so. He wanted a family, but they soon discovered they were unable to have children. Hours later, Mary and Colin wake up in an unfamiliar bedroom. "My father was a very big man. At dinner, conversation proves to be painfully sparse, with only Mary filling it by telling tedious stories about her children’s school. She is the first customer of the day, and the waiter gives her a complimentary cup of hot chocolate. And the father's mustache? From where she sits groggily, Mary sees Robert take something out of his pocket. Already a member? Achetez neuf ou d'occasion Alarmed, she realizes it is a razor as Robert unfolds it. They are each sleeping in their own bed, completely naked. He sees the story as literate, elegant eroticism. Colin wonders if Caroline doesn’t mind her harsh treatment, which offends Mary’s feminist sensibilities. The erotic thriller boom of the ’80s and ’90s seems like a perfect match for the often subversive Paul Schrader, and in 1990, he dove head first into the genre with The Comfort of Strangers. Mary has recently worked for a women’s theatre collective before creative differences and other difficulties caused the group to split. View: 863. They apologize to each other and head indoors for some familiar, but not exceedingly passionate, lovemaking. Eventually, the medical examiner takes Mary down to the morgue to identify Colin’s body. . They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. Harold Pinter, who adapted the screenplay from Ian McEwan's novel, has never written a film as alarmingly ghoulish as this tale of terminal love. She seems to hint that she is not able to leave the house of her own volition and makes Colin promise to return. Before beginning the story, he explains that it requires considerable back story involving his whole family: his mother, his father, and his four older sisters. When their father sees the mess and realizes Robert has eaten chocolate (something he forbids), his disappointment is overwhelming. We had planned to see it again, but it was out of… Although this is customary for men in this country, Colin feels that Robert is deliberately trying to keep a hold on him. In the morning, Colin has considerable difficulty in rousing Mary to suggest that they make their way back to their hotel. Robert's brutal machismo, as well as Caroline's submission and her severe injuries always color this hospitality with uneasiness. The young couple are Mary and Colin (Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett), and they have come to Venice for a few days to repair their relationship - to discover, if they can, why all of the passion has disappeared. Upon arriving at the bar, Robert speaks to one of the workers, who sends over wine and breadsticks. Caroline seems baffled by the possibility of an all-female theatre and believes their plays must have somehow focused on men, even if they were offstage. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Comfort of Strangers. They also philosophize about the greater questions of life and death, as well as politics and social issues. Word Count: 605. When Mary tells him to look for a robe and go find out where their clothes are, he comes back from the adjoining bathroom in a frilly women’s robe. Robert insists that he has to take care of some business at the bar and takes Colin with him. Word Count: 445. They clearly planned everything far in advance; Caroline had as much as admitted that to Mary when she was staring at the photographic shrine to Colin. Nevertheless, our analysis shows they continue to offer good return potential and – crucially – a lack of correlation with equities. Despite his punishments for ruining the office, Robert’s mother still dotes on him. The father was a very big man, we know, and he wore a black mustache. The conversation between Mary and Caroline is interrupted by the arrival by Colin, who comes out onto the balcony with only a towel to cover himself. Night Stalker: The Hunt for a Serial Killer, The Sister Sacrifices Logic, Tension as Its Twists Unravel, Visions of Friendship: Michael Angelo Covino and Kyle Marvin on The Climb, The Lynchian Aspirations of Losing Alice Underwhelm Rather Than Intrigue, CW Reboots Walker but Forgets to Give Him a Personality. As he looks more closely, he sees that she is waving to him. 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