I recently re-watched one of the great Elizabeth Taylor classics, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Have you seen it? If not, rent it. NOW. Released in 1958, the story is as relevant today as it was then. Unfortunately, I’m guessing it’ll be just as timely 20 years from now.
As ‘Maggie the cat,’ Ms. Taylor portrays the wife of an alcoholic, ex-football star (Paul Newman). No woman has ever looked as good in a full slip (a lovely undergarment rarely seen anymore on screen or off). But, I’d forgotten the subplot: Maggie has yet to reproduce, even as her über-bitchy, ever-pregnant sister-in-law (exceptionally embodied by Madeline Sherwood) brags about the children she believes will help her score the lion’s share of inheritance from Southern patriarch ‘Big Daddy’ (Burl Ives). Sound familiar?
This timeless story is based on a play by the famous southern writer, Tennessee Williams, who created another memorable NotMom character, Blanche duBois. In the classic tale, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ms. DuBois ultimately loses her sanity, childless and alone after her homosexual husband commits suicide.
Watching the agony of Maggie as she begs her husband time and again to impregnate her, I couldn’t help but wonder how modern Hollywood portrays women without children. I thought of several films that highlight women women dealing with childlessness, from Raising Arizona (steal a baby) to The Baby Dance (buy a baby), to Up (lingering depression).
What I couldn’t find, neither in my memory nor on the Internet, is a film dealing with a woman who deliberately chooses to live childfree. Can you? And if not, isn’t it time?