Why is Ann Thinking about Trash?


At the beginning of the movie, we're introduced to Andie MacDowell's character, Ann Bishop Mullany. She's sitting with a therapist in a clean, spotless living room, where she's explaining her worries, which lately have been about the trash.

I too have been very sick over the condition my house is in. Like Ann's character, on the outside I seem all right. On contrary, on the inside, I'm angry and mad, and the only thing I can pinpoint about what's wrong in my life is the messy chaos happening in my bedroom, in my car, in my kitchen, in the bathroom... Everything's a mess and it's dirty and there is trash that has not been taken out for a week.

Can somebody tell me what the connections are here? Why was Ann talking about the trash?

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She's not worrying about her house being messy. She's worrying about pollution, overflowing landfills, that kind of thing. Although it could be symbolic.

-Caroline

"Let the lovefeast begin."
"People are dying. The dialogue has to be up to it."

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That doesn't answer WHY.

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I took her fixation on trash as an indication of how disconnected/repressed she was about her own real life. Worrying about trash gave her a way to focus and vent her anxieties in a non-threatening way. Instead of thinking about what to do about her empty marriage and unfulfilling life, she was more comfortable thinking about problems that she had no control over. As the movie went on, she became more able to look realistically at her own problems and take steps to change her life. Then, presumably, she could stop thinking about trash because she was more satisfied with her own life and things she DID have control over.

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She could have done a little about the rubbish/trash. She could have done more to promote recycling. I hope that is what her job was about.

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very well put answer. on the mark. nice one.

(that was to dancinjinn)

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spot on,totally agree with this explanation,she just goes on and on thinking about things over which she has no control,she also talks about poor kids ,airline victims to deflect attention from her own real problems,this is a tendency among majority of ppl to do the same thing ,we will keep worrying about world issues etc etc to just deflect attention from our own problems ,Ann character is superbly written by Soderbergh,the way she opens up slowly and comes into her own and actually helps Graham to come out of his repression also,i guess by the end of this movie,she is more involved into her own life and less worried about things she has no control over,

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It's easier for Ann to obsess over recycling and airline victims than to focus on her own failing marriage and her sexual issues. If she admits to her therapist her real problems then she'll have to deal with them and she doesn't want to have to do that. It's denial.







Some things you just can't ride around...

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Okay. I agree with dancinjinn, that she worries about things that are unrelated to her and out of her control to avoid facing her own problems.

-Caroline

"Let the lovefeast begin."
"People are dying. The dialogue has to be up to it."

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[deleted]

I didn't even think about that, 10%. Ah-ha. A new perspective!

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I think the poster's suggestion about recycling was hilarious. Have the therapist say to the analysand: "Why don't you start a community recycling effort?" LOL

Allen Roth
"I look up, I look down..."

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Thank you, aroth15. I should tell Steven Soderbergh that the therapist's failure to mention recycling was the only real flaw in a brilliant film.

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Can't you identify a joke when you see one? As for brilliance, this was--especially for an Indie film--only slightly above average.

Allen Roth
"I look up, I look down..."

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Oh, I can tell a joke, but sometimes a joke is just a way of making the truth more palatable or trying out a new idea. I'm sorry you didn't like the film more. I was unimpressed by the film at first, but it started to grow on me.

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She is neurotic and bored so is stresing about something she has no control over and can never solve as a way of not looking at herself and her empty life.

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She can do a bit about rubbish, or trash as Americans call it. She was lucky that Graham came along and by a curious miracle the combination of their flaws produced something good. But she should have been trying to find better solutions to her problems.
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Don't dream it, be it.

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"She was lucky that Graham came along and by a curious miracle the combination of their flaws produced something good."

That's what I like so much about this film. They were both sexually disfunctional, they just expressed it in different ways. I think it was beautiful the way they discovered each other and helped each other through sensitivity and honesty. That's what a relationship is supposed to be about ...though many people never manage acheive that level of intimacy... I think that is what most of us really want.

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My take on why she's thinking about trash is that she's a beautiful woman, living in a community where she's liked and admired, has a good-looking husband and a beautiful house but she's desperately unhappy and is terribly ashamed and disgusted with herself for feeling like this.

She holds everything together to avoid going to pieces - having a breakdown - and will not face the truth about her life and John and it comes out as a feeling of being overwhelmed by something she can't control - trash. On a conscious level she's no more worried about trash than the rest of us but unconsciously she feels (and fears) it growing until it will overwhelm her.


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"Cannot control"? One word: RECYCLING! Actually, to be more helpful, a whole Body Shop slogan:

REDUCE
REUSE
RECYCLE

(In that order)
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Nicebat: party animal.

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But it's not her trash that's obsessing her it's trash in general. She keeps thinking of trash regenerating itself - producing more and more trash - all by itself!

That's her problem.



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She's also worried about starving children and about the families of airline fatalities. I suggest she should give something to the Red Cross or whatever and obey my advice on refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and whatever the heck else I said.

Sometimes actually doing something small about something big makes you feel a heck of a lot better.
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Nicebat: party animal.

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What I'm saying is that her fears over trash are not rational. In reality she could be doing all the things you suggest but that doesn't stop her having this wholly irrational fear about trash replicating itself.

There was a time when the bags in our local supermarket were both difficult to get hold of and also to open. While I was still opening the first bag and my stuff was tumbling towards me I would have this feeling that it would overwhelm me - that masses of merchandise (much, much, more than I was buying) would keep tumbling down on me until I will completely buried under it.

I don't know what a therapist would make of that - probably better not to know! In reality after a number of complaints the supermarket made their bags much more user-friendly and that was the end of my problem.

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In reality after a number of complaints the supermarket made their bags much more user-friendly and that was the end of my problem.
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Or, take your own bags to the supermarket. If you already had enough plastic bags to line bins and stuff, of course.

Btw, indy, why is nobody interested in my "naked unicycling" thread?


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Nicebat: party animal.

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Why does Annie obsess about trash???

Lord, you people are dense. HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER BEEN MARRIED?!?! Have you ever seen your friends get married and divorce 10 years later?

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The trash obsession has symbolic significance in the movie.

What do married couples do when they are in superficially perfect marriages? They look for trivial flaws in their situation. Anything. The thing they find cute when they get married becomes unbearable years later. Its a subconscious psychological mechanism to find excuse to doing something they don't want to do (divorce). The marriage is obviously empty, vapid, hollow. Its a loveless marriage. That is unconciously unacceptable to Annie. But when its surface appearance is "perfect", its hard to justify breaking one's vows to your partner and God, admit failure as a wife, experience economic hardship, and social loss of position.

Trash could also represent her feeling that her husband is not fulfilling his duties as husband. Many families settle on familial chores between hubby and wife. The wife cooks & the husband does the dishes and takes out the garbage.

It was probably put into the movie to lampoon vacuous yuppie couples whining about the environment, or the quality of the yardwork, rather than what really matters: the marriage.

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Why on earth Soderburgh use a guy who can't make emotional contact to other women (and thus have sex), as the trigger for the failing marriage beats me. Other than a more interesting film. Once Annie does the tape, she commits marital infidelity (though not physical). Once she realizes her marriage is over, grasps the nature of Graham's dysfunction, and then proceeds to do Graham, it makes a wonderful allegory as to what was wrong with her surface perfect marriage and her decision to leave it for a "real relationship", which are two people who need, love, and actually interact with each other.

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You're absolutely right, of course.

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Freudian connotations?

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When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth.

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maybe the fact that she's a housewife has something to do with it, as seen in the scene where she is cleaning quite fervently it's probably the only thing in her life at this point.

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Yeah I think it's obvious that the 'trash' reflects her attitude to her sexual energy. It keeps on trying to escape her efforts to repress it. Everything that happens in the film is basically a consequence of sexual repression (dysfunctional marriage, subsequent affair, video fetish). The fact that she sees the sexual energy as trash (an object of disgust and fear) is the central problem explored in the film and resolved to a degree when she adopts a healthier attitude towards it.

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Trash is basically a metaphor for what her life is like.

What's "LIVE" spelled backwards? That's right, EVIL!

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I've heard its quite common for people to go to psychiatrists and make up dreams, obsessions and worries in order to deflect the psychiatrist from the real issue. That's my interpretation of why Ann is talking about trash. The way the lines are spoken makes it seem performative and dishonest, in fact she is dishonest thoughout the whole scene ( in the sense she is not being honest with herself ) . She is saying what she thinks the psychiatrist and society in general would like to hear.

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It's amazing to me that people don't get this, it's so obvious. True, her conscious obsessing on trash may be deflecting by obsessing on something she has no control over. But, the endless trash producing trash can is obviously her husband and his lying. In the story, her dreaming of that is her subconscious trying to tell her, "hey stupid, pay attention something's up; your husband is producing an endless stream of garbage/lies." Or on the film/text level it's a metaphor for the same thing. Her husband is the garbage can and his lying is the garbage. That simple.

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She's OCD, but her lawyer-husband was a psycho. That's worse.

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