Normal Life: Ashley Judd, Luke Perry, John McNaughton Dir a jpoc movie review

Better than the average "doomed love" movie.

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My Rating

Seven out of ten.

I saw this film first on the fifth of April 1997 at the Aventure in Brussels. For me, it was a film made sad by the fact that the events really happened. I thought that it deserved a larger audience than it got.

My review

Ashley Judd plays Pam, a young woman on the edge of madness and Luke Perry is Chris, her husband. The film is loosely based on real events.

The storyline is very basic indeed. Chris and Pam meet and, despite their differences, they marry. They stay together despite Pam's increasingly deep and hurtful bouts of insanity. The marriage finally costs Chris his job as a cop and, in a last attempt to make ends meet, he takes to robbing banks.

His background as a cop means that he is pretty good at this and soon, he and Pam are benefitting from the fruits of his labours. Then, one day Pam finds out about the bank robberies and this changes their relationship forever but with destructive consequences.

It's not much of a plot but it is only there as a platform for the film to explore the relationship between Pam and Chris.

Pam desperately wants a man who will care for her and so she wants a man like Chis but she cannot respond to him. She is emotionally and sexually frigid. Chris wants to take care of Pam in the way that he thinks he should but he is unable to get through to her.

It turns out the what Pam really needs is a tough, all action strong guy who will care for her emotional needs as well. When she realises that her man has become a bank robber, suddenly, he is the man of her dreams and she bursts open with a new joy for life.

This scenario depends very much on the performances from the two leads. Judd did her job well, you could really feel the troubles inside the mind of her character and without this, the film would have been poor indeed. Luke Perry was not so good. As far as I could see, his character was only staying with Pam because that's what it said in the script. There was no sense of why Chris needed Pam so much that he sat through all of the pain. Only in the closing moments did you see a sign of how much she was to him.

It was a very hard roll to play but I'm afraid that he was not really up to it.