Sunday, April 14, 2013

"The Yellow Handkerchief" Plot Summary

Looking for something new to watch? Here's a short summary of The Yellow Handkerchief.  See if you'd be interested in it...

Writer: Erin Dignam 
Directed by: Udayan Prasad 
Produced by: Arthur Cohn 
Released In: 2008

Summary by Josephine Ramirez

Plot summary:

The Yellow Handkerchief is the story of a man who has just been released from prison for manslaughter. Brett Hanson gets to hitch a ride with 2 teenagers Gordy and Martine, and together they head south towards the place he called home. Each of the characters were searching for something that they never found from their respective families, relatives and friends. Being drifters and stuck in each other’s company, the threesome eventually find the love and care they all longed for from each other. In time, they even become emotionally supportive of each other. Brett sent a postcard to his wife while on the road asking her to put up the yellow sail on the sailboat if she wanted him back. Somehow, Brett was getting cold feet while they got closer to his wife’s location. Upon Gordy and Martine’s coaxing, however, Brett was able to gather up enough courage to face the truth, make a stand, and to find his wife’s boat with all the yellow handkerchieves tied around the boat’s exterior like buntings – a happy reunion indeed. 

Brett is a deep person, laconic, but very sensitive and always talks a lot of sense when he speaks. He loved his wife deeply, but he felt bad after she had a miscarriage, which put a lot of strain on their relationship. He was put in jail because of a case of manslaughter - an accident involving a man which happened when he and his wife were having a violent argument outside a bar. A stranger approached them while his wife was screaming to leave her be, as he embraced her while pushing her to the wall. The stranger shouted and asked Brett to stop doing what he was doing, but he reacted violently, accidentally pushing the man, who hit his head on a fire hydrant on the sidewalk, killing him instantly. Brett was put behind bars because of this, and what he immediately did after this was to sign the divorce papers, which he immediately handed over to May (his wife). 

Despite being separated from his wife and actually handing over the divorce papers, Brett continued to love May very deeply. This is shown in the way he often had flashbacks about his wife when he saw things which reminded him of her. It was actually a very long-winded style of foreshadowing, where bits and pieces about his wife were revealed throughout the film. At first, it was not even revealed who became the victim of manslaughter, making one think that Brett may be some kind of a psycho and that the teens may also become his victims. Later on, however, the actual succession of events leading to the manslaughter are shown, thereby eliciting more empathy for Brett. He wanted to return to his wife but was hesitating because of the way they got separated, and the things he said or failed to say. The two other characters are also undergoing a crisis because both of them wanted love: Martine longed for love from her family, particularly her father, while Gordy wanted to be accepted as he is, but had always been rejected by almost everyone. 

Brett mostly wanted to keep to himself and stay by himself, but it was good that he allowed himself to be persuaded by the two teeners to hitch with them, stay with them and help them about their questions in life. For one, it kept his thoughts about his wife at bay, and this was a good way of keeping the depression away since worry and anxiety will not do him any good. Nevertheless, Brett still did something to alleviate his guilty feelings about neglecting the relationship he had with his wife – he sent her a post card and gave specific instructions about the signal he needs to see for him to get back to her. It was a risky move on his part, but admirable nevertheless, because seeing the signal could mean possibly as either a continuation or a total closure of the relationship he cherished the most. 

Gordy and Martine on the other hand were able to cope with the lack of love in their lives in this manner: Martine found a father figure in Brett, and Gordy was able to find acceptance and care from both Brett and Martine. Later on, Gordy and Martine even found it in themselves to actually like each other. 

Having each other for company, the threesome of Gordy, Martine and Brett were able to find care and support in one another because of the bonding time they had, learning about each other, and becoming more emotionally attached to each other as they gradually learned to accept each other’s good and bad qualities. Brett actually hesitated to go back with the kids when he got arrested for mauling a guy who was bullying Gordy, and his history of being an ex-convict was brought out in the open. However, Martine believed that Brett was a good person, and she was able to prove this to Gordy when Brett related to them the reasons for his imprisonment. It would do them better however to have a more stable life like a family to call their own, or perhaps Brett could take them in with his wife since they would surely be able to find strength from each other. 

Since Brett was able to return to his wife and will now be able to get on with his life, I recommend that he should have a more open communication with his wife so that they could have a better relationship in the offing. Furthermore, having prayer time, a time for reflection and a time for one’s spiritual life will certainly do wonders to any relationship, which Brett and his wife should start having the commitment to do. Anything can be solved by open and honest communication and just like what happened previously in their relationship, there was an evident lack of communication, or miscommunication which occurred thereby resulting to violence and other unwanted repercussions. Likewise, Gordy and Martine should try to enjoy their lives more because youth only comes once in a person’s life. Gordy and Martine should try to air their concerns to their respective families since I am sure they would want them both to be happy. Both of these kids should try to meet other friends, and they should not limit their world to just themselves. There is so much to explore, so much the world has to offer and they should not confine themselves to what they can see while being drifters. Sometimes, it also pays to settle down, establish yourself and make yourself more grounded to ensure a better future for yourself and your family.  

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