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My Reaction To "Monsieur Hire" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The films that impact my life are ones which have the power to haunt me years after I have seen them. "Monsieur Hire" is one of those films.

July of 1990 was a difficult time. My application for a camp counselor job had recently been rejected, and I was left to spend the first half of summer alone. Most of my daily "activities" included lying on my bedroom floor and reviewing my life which, in my current state of mind, had been little more than a series of disappointments. Unsuccessful sports team tryouts, school election campaigns, and friendships occupied my thoughts. The opportunity to see a film (even a French film with subtitles) and break up the monotony was one I could not resist.

Most people would have been reluctant to identify with the main character of "Monsieur Hire." He was a hermit who spent nights gazing out his apartment window, watching an attractive woman in a building nearby. Although the director used these characteristics to give the viewer an uneasy sense of the man, I managed to sympathize with his fear of people, being a shy person myself.

I was struck by the manner in which this aloof man was eased out of isolation by the same woman whom he had silently observed from his apartment. By behaving downright flirtatiously, she slowly became his listening ear and sole contact with the outside world. Painfully, it came as little surprise when the woman's sole purpose in befriending the man turned out to be framing him in a crime scheme. She planted evidence in his living quarters linking him to a murder committed by her boyfriend.

The manipulation of the man in "Monsieur Hire" paralleled an experience of mine which occurred in eighth grade. Two supposed "friends" spread a false rumor about my use of a racial slur. Whereas the character in "Monsieur Hire" was eventually killed, I ended up with a punch in the stomach.

"Monsieur Hire" did not cheer me up. Rather, it helped me realize that I was not the only one in the world with feelings of depression and loss. I found encouragement through the film to become stronger-minded and to avoid being manipulated by myself and others. One result of my new mind state was the decision to reapply for the camp counselor position, which I won the following year. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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