Silence of Lambs

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Sociology
11/7/12
Silence of the Lambs
Silence of the Lambs is a movie based on a novel written by Thomas Harris. It was release in 1991 and directed by Johnathan Demme. It is a suspense and horror film that portrays themes of murder, craziness, and traumatic experience. Many people watch this movie to see the psychotic killers and the intelligent police save the day. What people may not see are the social problems present in the movie. This film stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling an agent in training at the FBI Academy. She is pulled out of her training to profile and interview a notorious criminal by the name of Hannibal Lector, played by Anthony Hopkins. Lector is known for being a psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer (Demme). He is incarcerated in a state hospital in Baltimore under the supervision of Dr. Chilton, played by Anthony Heald, whom Lector despises. Starling is brought in to get information for a profile from Lector about a current criminal whose name is Buffalo Bill. Buffalo Bill is killing women and cutting off their skin in a disgusting series. Lector is a very intelligent being. He gets frustrated with Starling trying to take him apart psychologically. However, he gives her another chance when another inmates acts distastefully towards her. In exchange for a deal to be transferred away from Chilton’s care, he will give information about Buffalo Bill. He accepts the deal and is transferred but he also gets Starling to reveal experiences of her traumatic childhood being an orphan and living on a lamb slaughterhouse. She was advised not to reveal her life stories to him (Demme). However, she leaves Lector and later he escapes from the cell after killing two guards. Starling analyzes Lector’s annotations about Buffalo Bill and finds that he was a tailor for women’s dresses and designs (Demme). Starling learns that Buffalo Bill is killing women and using their skin to make an actual womens’ outfit out of womens’ skin (Demme). Upon finding out the plot of Buffalo Bill, she attempts to call her team but they are in pursuit of where they think he is. In all actuality Buffalo Bill is trying to change his gender into a woman. Starling ends up tracing Buffalo Bill to a warehouse, where he finds a woman held captive and still alive. Following her with night vision goggles, Buffalo Bill, gives himself away with a click of his revolver. Starling turns around and shoots and kills him. Later, she is at her graduation party and she receives a call from Lector, where he tells her that he will not pursue her if she promises not to do the same. Though she claims she cannot do that, he hangs up after saying the famous line, “Hello, Clarice” and that he is having an old friend for dinner referring to Dr. Chilton, his next victim (Demme). Themes that are present in this film represent problems of our society. The most prominent theme that occurs in the film is the idea of a woman in a man’s world (Yung). This theme can even be broadened to describe an outsider trying to make it in to a world that does not accept them. Starling is always reminded of her lesser, womanly status, with constant actions and words from others, like the taunts from the prisoners, the observations of her clothing and scent by Lector, and the way the other agents talk down to her because she is a woman. It shows that she is trying to fit in, though her past as a white-trash orphan does not help (Yung). She is a woman trying to find a role in trying to be like her father, rather than her mother. She wears Old Spice scent and coincidentally her name could easily be Clarence (Demme). The journey to find where one fits into society leads to the problem finding comfort with ones gender. Buffalo Bill, too, had trouble finding his gender. He is literally stealing the skin from women to dress himself as a woman (Demme). The struggle to find confidence and comfort with her sex is made harder by Lector as he constantly brings up her inside...
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