It’s the holiday season, so I got to thinking. Now is the time of year many people decide to introduce their partners to the family. It’s generally an awkward show of judgment, and we keep our fingers crossed that she or he will pass the test, and would be widely accepted by the family.

This is more or less a counter to my first list, in that these are the fictional women that I view as ideal,  not only for a relationship, but to blend with the raucous cast of characters that is my family over the holidays

Please forgive my creative license in determining how this interaction would go.

Thank you to mrsemmapeel for helping me put this list together.

10. Dolly Read as Kelly Mac Namara in Beyond The Valley of The Dolls (Meyer, 1970)

Early on in our relationship, Kelly would be shy, and somewhat timid. She prefers staying in at night for a movie, or just strumming on her guitar quietly. However when I bring her to meet my family on Christmas she lets her hair down a bit more, and it doesn’t take long for her to sneak off with some of my younger cousins for some refer smoking. A few glasses of wine on top of that, and she is inappropriately rubbing up against one my uncles and asking me if there is a hot tub around.

Her bubbly sense of humor, and wild streak endear her to my family, and within a few months I become second fiddle at all get-togethers.

9. Jessica Harper as Suzy Bannion in Suspiria (Argento, 1977)

Suzy and I love each other very much, but she is reluctant to meet the family. I finally convince her that Christmas will be a perfect time. However, upon her arrival, a series of bizarre, unexplainable, yet beautiful murders occur.

My family thinks it’s a riot, and slap me on the back with laughter, wondering aloud why Christmas couldn’t be like this every year. We never really liked uncle Billy anyway.

8. Bibi Andersson as Sara in Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)

Yes, I’m finally going to do it. I’ve met the girl of my dreams. She’s wild, adventurous, mischievous, and wise beyond her years, and she has inspired me to do what I said I’d never do, and that’s propose on Christmas. But first, she will go through the gauntlet of meeting the family.

Sara lights up the room immediately, and charms everyone, in particular the older gentlemen. She seems to remind them of someone from their past.

I drift into the background and watch as she plays the maestro. I thumb the ring in my pocket, and decide it will stay there for another day.

7. Jeanne Crain as Ruth Berent in Leave Her to Heaven (Stahl, 1945)

Ruth and I have a nice relationship, some might even say a little boring. We go out on the weekends, stay in during the week, and she insists on sleeping in separate beds.

Christmas comes and I invite her to meet the family, and Ruth thinks it would be a wonderful idea to invite her sister Ellen along. Having never met Ellen, but hearing much about her, I thought it would be perfect.

Ruth wins over the family quite easily, her beauty and charm wins points the moment she enters a room. However she generally sits with grandma and talks knitting and gardening.

Ellen on the other hand keeps pulling the ear of anyone who will listen,  whining about how Ruth stole me from her, and how Ruth has always wanted to be her. Then there was the “accidental” suffocation of my cousin Vince’s girlfriend. Needless to say we won’t be inviting Ellen again next year. What a downer.

6. Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini in Breathless (Godard, 1960)

The only woman who appeared on the first list as well. The reason I think Patricia is ideal, is because I feel like I can change her, that her problems stem more from the people and situations she unwittingly finds herself surrounded by. If I could just get her away from the bad elements of her life, everything will be right. This effort works, and Patricia and I live happily together.

However, her past catches up to her on Christmas, when her former lover Michel shows up uninvited. He blows in like a whirlwind, eats all the cheese log, drinks a bottle of wine, teaches us how to curse in French, and vomits. The family loves him.

At first Patricia is mortified, but after he drunkenly professes his love for her, they run off together.I suppose we can never be too much distance between us and our pasts.

Years later, I am still heartbroken, and at the first hint of the holiday season members of my family proclaim it to be the best Christmas ever.

5. Kathleen Byron as Susan in The Small Black Room (Powell and Pressburger, 1949)

At first Susan’s introduction to the family doesn’t go well, what with her lecturing everyone about their drinking habits, and it doesn’t take long for people to pull me aside and tell me how I can do better.

Sensing this growing unrest, Susan decides to start dancing. We’re all struck by the sound of her tapping feet on my mother’s laminate floor. Despite the snickers and confused shuffling she continues to dance herself into a sweat, before a slow trickle of rhythm begins to invade the feet of the dumbstruck onlookers.

We dance ourselves silly, into the dark early morning hours. Susan dances her way into acceptance. It’s a Christmas miracle.

4. Moira Shearer as Victoria Page in The Red Shoes (Powell and Pressburger, 1948)

Victoria meets my family, just months removed from giving up the first love of her life, dancing. She gave it up for me, and though I must look the other way when I notice a tinge of sorrow in the creases of her smile, we manage to maintain a level of happiness.

She is well liked, and the night moves smoothly. But as it wears on, and we start culling bleary eyed memories of Christmas past someone mentions my old flame Susan, and how she danced her way into everyone’s hearts. Upon hearing this Victoria crumples to the floor in despair. I try to console her, but it is of no use. She runs tear streaked from the house and back into the arms of her first love.

I go to see her dance often.

3. Irene Jacob as Veronique in The Double Life of Veronique (Kieslowski, 1991)

The family is immediately taken by Veronique’s quiet mystery, and beauty. She doesn’t hesitate to immerse herself in the family either, freely partaking in the annual shenanigans, but doesn’t partake in any loud sing-along.

At one point one of my aunts nudges Veronique and proclaims that she should sing for us. Veronique insists that she does not sing. To which my aunt responds “Well that’s impossible, I saw you sing in Poland just last year.” Veronique explains to her that she has only been to Poland once, and it was not to sing.

She then feels a cold emptiness in her, and asks me to take her home.

2. Marlene Dietrich as Catherine II in The Scarlet Empress (Sternberg, 1934)

My mother doesn’t appreciate Catherine riding her horse right into the house, but who cares what the old stick-in-the-mud thinks? This is Christmas, and Catherine is the Christmas girlfriend a wide majority of the family had hoped and prayed would deliver them from misery, for years.

Before Catherine came along we had to spend Christmas listening to cousin Pete complain about The Salvation Army always wanting for needy people who don’t exist, and every year he’d give out wooden soldiers to everyone.

I still have a hard time getting over the fact that Catherine briefly dated Pete, which puts a strain on our relationship.

1. Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954)

At first it doesn’t go well for Lisa. The family is unenchanted and bored with her predictable flair and beauty. Many roll their eyes at her efforts to win them over, and many openly wish I were still dating Catherine.

But a dull Christmas is sparked with excitement when a neighbor’s domestic dispute could clearly be seen through the adjacent window. Several of us watch with heated curiosity as the man and wife red their faces in anger. This is when Lisa sees her chance.

She creeps into the house, steps between the man and wife, and waves to us from the other side. Her eyes shine, and smile is bright, as she waves, and I feel my heart thump in my chest for her.

We all have to chip in to bail her out of jail, and relations with our neighbors are never the same, but there is a charm to such a brazen act the family finds irresistable.

Advertisements