An Analysis of Feminism Reflected in the Film the French Lieutenant’s Woman
Siyu Gao

The novel The French Lieutenant's Woman is a masterpiece that John Fowles, a contemporary British writer created in the 60s of last century. In 1981, the film of the same name directed by Karel Reisz and adapted by playwright Harold Pinter. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is one of the world's most successful literary classic films. It is about a love story happened in England in nineteenth Century. Sarah, a woeful and mysterious woman in Victorian era, a virgin but claimed to have committed to a French lieutenant, be spurned for being regarded as a sinful and lustful woman. But her mystery, unique, boldness, melancholy beauty and wild enthusiasm could arouse compassion and adoration of men. She had a torrid love with Charles but eventually left quietly when Charles had dissolved engagement with Freeman. In the Victorian era -- a patriarchal social environment, the social status of women was affected by the patriarchy. The female was put in a humiliating position for a long time. In patriarchal oppression, the economy also forced to sponge on men which result in women’s being unable to enjoy the right of self-realization and self-independent. However, in this film, the heroine Sarah in the social context demonstrated bravery and determination of striving against traditional customs, pursuing after true love and defending against her freedom. Her pursuit of individual liberty and economic independence led to her pursuit of economic independence, working as an entourage to teach children painting. Sarah was in ruling position in her relationship with Charles. She intentionally broke her leg to seduce Charles had sex with her; she destructed her reputation and hurt herself; She was always in black in order to attract attention of Charles; for lack of confidence she left Charles eventually. In these senses, Sarah was not a completely feminist heroine. Therefore the director was not entirely successful with regard to create a woman image of freedom and independence. It is not proper to appreciate this film from the traditional feminist perspective.

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