Posted: 04/27/2009

 

Obsessed

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen




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Beyonce has talked herself into another movie, and Obsessed didn’t disappoint at the box office, although it may not have been the best movie playing at the cinemas. The movie raked in more than $28 million in ticket sales, making it the top movie last weekend (April 24). Reportedly, it was produced for $20 million.
This movie has been highly anticipated, especially by many Black women who just want to know the scandalous, hot details about the sexual liaison between tall, dark and handsome executive Idris Elba, who’s married to Beyonce, and the tall, skinny, white temp who slinks her way into the corporation where Elba works.
At times, it seemed as if Beyonce was deliberately trying to deliver her lines, in a movie that I call an urban, interracial Fatal Attraction. In this case, Ali Larter plays the psychotic temp that has designs on Elba. While Elba and Beyonce seem to be very happy, with beautiful new home and nice, cute son, the kicker is that Beyonce was once a temp herself at the same firm. And Elba wined and dined her, before marrying her and retiring her to a lavish life of motherhood.
I had an issue with Larter’s role, because it was hard for me to separate the reasons for which she may have been pining for Elba’s attention. I wondered whether she was so gung ho about nailing him (no pun intended) because she couldn’t get over the fact that he might not have wanted the beautiful, white woman, as opposed to it just being that she wanted the attractive, rich executive for herself. She totally flipped out, but at some points I blamed Elba for the mess that ensued, because when the two of them first met on the elevator, they begin the harmless flirting. But it turned out that it wasn’t so harmless.
Throughout the movie, Larter does all that she can to ruin Elba’s marriage and ultimately it takes a toll on his professional career, also.
Beyonce gets wind of a “relationship” after Larter leaves the firm and follows Elba to a company retreat. She ends up a suicide case in his hotel room, is rushed to the hospital, with the detective sharing the details about what Larter has described as a sexual relationship in front of both Elba and Beyonce.
Since Beyonce knows the game, so to speak, because she was once the temp, she flat out doesn’t believe when Elba says that nothing happened between him and the temp. She kicks Elba out of the house, from which he stays for three months. Finally the truth about the relationship is revealed, but Larter still hasn’t had enough. She becomes possessed and obsessed (again, no pun intended) and stalks Elba and Beyonce at every turn.
Larter visits the couple’s home, strokes their toddler son’s head, while singing him a lullaby. Some things seem implausible. At first, Beyonce doesn’t pull from that “sistah gurl” strength when she’s confronting the temp; how the temp can cuddle the young boy and he doesn’t cry is beyond me; and how the temp can wear the best designer clothes and shoes is also baffling. She’s a temp!
Obsessed delivers a lot of “clichéd” scenes, but even a new security system doesn’t stop Larter. The final fight scene between Beyonce and Larter is fantastic. Larter seems to have more “face” time with the camera than Beyonce, and she plays the camera well; especially toward the end when she appears to be a mangled mess sprawled out in a pile of broken glass.
Christine Lahti plays the detective, but in a movie that is set in Los Angeles and with involvement from Earvin “Magic” Johnson, it would have been nice to see more Black actors.
Obsessed is now playing in local theaters.

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is a veteran public relations and journalism professional and former journalism professor. She’s publicist for her daughter, Hip-Hop artist Psalm One. A native Chicago South Sider, Elaine was a recent University of Maryland Bio Ethics, Health Disparities & Clinical Trials Fellow and winner of a Black Press Messenger Award.



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