By Gabrielle Smith
Assistant A&E Editor
On September 29, Netflix released original movie Gerald’s Game, based off of Stephen King’s novel of the same title. Gerald’s Game is about a man named Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood) and his wife Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino), who take a weekend trip to their isolated cabin to try and spice up their marriage.
An hour after arriving, they start to play a new sex game which requires Gerald handcuffing both of Jessie’s hands to the bed. Before it gets too far, Jessie realizes she is uncomfortable trying this game and gets into an argument with Gerald. She demands him to uncuff her but before he gets a chance to, Gerald has a heart attack and drops dead, leaving Jessie still cuffed to the bed and all alone.
Jessie goes into denial for the first five hours that her husband is dead. She also refuses to believe that she is left in this unthinkable situation. It is not until a stray dog wanders into her home and starts feeding on Gerald’s body that she realizes it is all real and starts to slowly lose her mind.
She is left helpless with no one around for miles and she knows it is a race against time until she dies of starvation and dehydration. She has arguments with her inner thoughts, which present themselves to her in the form of Gerald and herself. They walk around the room as she tries to convince herself to find a way to survive while Gerald tries to convince her to give up and wait for Death, who she believes to see every time the sun goes down, taunting and waiting for her.
Gerald’s Game starts off slowly and makes you think what more can there be to this movie other than a woman trying to get out of a life-threatening situation? But further into the movie, it becomes more about inner strength and battling the demons inside of a person’s head. Jessie is physically and mentally stuck. With nothing to distract her mind, she starts thinking about her past and the disturbing experiences she has encountered which led her to this moment of life or death.
With an angel and devil whispering in her ear, she must find it in herself to survive. She can no longer run from her problems. She can either be a victim and let herself get pushed around by her weaknesses or overcome them. The movie brings meaning to the saying, “you never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option.”
It is a relatable film that makes viewers ponder ‘what if you were forced to think about past bad experiences and could not get them out of your head? If you were literally trapped and forced to face everything that brings out the most horrible, negative emotions in you, would you be strong enough to face them? Would you be strong enough to bring yourself back to a right state of mind? Could you fight yourself for your own life?’
That is what Jessie does in this movie. She fights. She fights herself, she fights Gerald, she fights everyone who has ever done her wrong while trying to cheat death. That is what the true meaning of this movie is and that is what makes it so powerful.