Louise Linton's Valentine to herself

Jeff Yang is a frequent contributor to CNN Opinion, a featured writer for Quartz and other publications, and the co-host of the podcastThey Call Us Bruce.He co-wrote Jackie Chan’s best-selling autobiography, “I Am Jackie Chan,” and is the editor of three graphic novels: “Secret Identities,” “Shatteredand the forthcomingNew Frontiers.The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. Lees meer opinie op CNN.

NOTE: The article below contains spoilers forMe You Madness.

It’s hardly shocking that Louise Linton, wife of ultrawealthy former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, chose Valentine’s Day weekend as the perfect date to release her feature filmMe You Madness,” a special gift to the person she loves most: Herself.
Jeff Yang

Me You Madnessbills itself as a dark comedy, but Linton seems to be the only one in on the jokeit’s hard to imagine anyone watching this serial murder celebration and laughing, other than its writer/director/producer.
But that probably won’t bother Linton, who has crafted a career as a kind of performance artist of self-indulgence: The daughter of a wealthy Scottish developer, she burst into the public spotlight in 2016 after self-publishingIn Congo’s Shadow,” her memoir of a college gap year in Zambia, which she described in its Amazon synopsis soos die “compelling coming-of-age story” van “a ‘skinny white muzungu with long angel hair'who travels todarkest Africa” en “learns that friendship can transcend race, ouderdom, and history.The book’s handful of readers pointed out its blanket factual inaccuracies and condescending, White-savior tone, en it went viral as a diamond-dusted example of staggering privilege, until Linton finally pulled it from virtual shelves.
    Louise Linton and Steve Mnuchin

    Stories like this flare up and fade away just as quickly, and Linton’s likely would have as well, if it hadn’t been for her marriage to Mnuchin, and Mnuchin’s subsequent appointment by ex-President Donald Trump as secretary of the Treasury immediately thereafter.
    Van daar af, Linton stumbled through a series ofLet them eat cakecontroversies, including Instagramming a photo of herself returning from a trip to Fort Knox tagged with an array of luxury items in her wardrobe, and posing gleefully with Mnuchin holding a freshly printed sheet of uncut currency. Maar nou, with the release ofMe You Madness” — a product of her personal production company Stormchaser Filmsit has become a lot less clear whether these entitlement eruptions were accidental, or merely early guerrilla marketing for this incredibly bizarre vanity project.
    Mnuchin's wife says she's 'super duper' sorry


      Mnuchin’s wife says she’s ‘super dupersorry


    Mnuchin’s wife says she’s ‘super dupersorry 02:09

    Since the trailer was released a few weeks ago, Linton has been actively promoting the film as a satirical combination of wry mea culpa and clap back at her critics. Having expended several regretful hours watching it, it’s clear that it’s both of these, and neither.
    Spoiler warning, for anyone who thinks this movie could possibly be spoiled further: The film focuses on Catherine Black, played by Linton as a kind of neon cartoon of herself (of, she might argue, how she’s been falsely depicted in the news): Catherine is a narcissistic conspicuous consumer of both material possessions and men, in the latter case, heel letterlik — she has a freezer full of severed male body parts, which she and her Chinese BFF/accomplice/female sex toy Yu Yan (Taiwanese American actress Shuya Chang) gleefully dine on in gourmet meals prepared, naturally, by Catherine herself.
    Things get complicated when Tyler, a hunky would-be thief played by British actor Ed Westwick, enters the picturewith a dubious blue-collar American accent.
    Ed Westwick and Louise Linton in 'Me You Madness'

    Much of the unhinged remainder of the film is alluded to in the trailer: Catherine and Tyler have sex, baklei, have more sex, brandish various weaponsin one already-infamous scene Catherine whirls nunchucks while explaining that they’re “koel” because Bruce Lee used them, and Bruce Lee is coolbut everything ends happily in the end, as Tyler ends up embracing Catherine’s way of life, making the threesome with Yu Yan permanent (they celebrate with a vegan dinner, with the clumsy joke being that the dinner is in fact a vegan) and then turning it into a quartet with the credit-sequence arrival of Tyler and Catherine’s cutie-patootie baby.
    It’s hardly new stuff, even as a shock-tactic black comedy. Murder and cannibalism as a comic metaphor goes back to Jonathan Swift’s modest proposal, and has remained a popular concept ever since, in musicals likeSweeney Todd,” films soos “Delicatessen,” “Eating Raoul,” “The Cook, The Wife, The Thief and His Loverand entire franchises like the vast canon of Hannibal Lecter.
    Ed Westwick (back to camera) and Louise Linton in 'Me You Madness'

    Sometimes it’s the rich eating the poor. Sometimes it’s the poor eating the rich. Sometimes it’s the interesting eating the boring, or the sophisticated eating the crude. “Me You Madnesspurports to focus on gender, with a very specific pop culture antecedentwhich is even noted in one of the movie’s many fourth-wall breaking moments, as Catherine says thatIf you’re thinking this is a straight rip-off of ‘American Psycho,’ in some ways you may be right. But this is a woman’s tale.” (In one early scene, Catherine publicly eviscerates a chubby loser on her hedge-fund teamfiguratively, in hierdie geval — whose name turns out to be Patrick, undoubtedly a reference toAmerican Psychoprotagonist Patrick Bateman. The point being perhaps that Catherine, the movie’s Batewoman, outmans Bateman.)
    So this is Linton’s ultimate girlboss movie, her paean to independent womanhood, of iets.
    But if Linton’s claims of telling awoman’s taleare made questionable by her unique privilege, her assertion that herinclusiveteam seeks tocelebrate diversity” (as she said in 'n verklaring to the Hollywood Reporter) is simply laughable: Linton has apparently learned nothing from the backlash after her 2016 book release.
    Every major speaking role inMe You Madnessis White (the only Black thing in the movie is Catherine’s last name, though it’s an act of mercy to Black actors that they were excused from this fiasco), with two prominent exceptions: Catherine’s sister man-eater Yu Yan, and a Vietnamese male manicurist named Tien, played by Jimmy Dinh.
    Yu Yan is relegated to speaking exclusively in Mandarin and letting her body talk, in scenes as Catherine and Tyler’s bedroom third wheel; she’s solely there to express her enthusiasm for man-flesh, both living and dead. Tien’s dialogue is similarly all in Vietnamese; his only role in the movie is to cringe when Catherine accuses him of doing a bad gel job and to give her the excuse for comic exposition over why working-class himbo Tyler is lying unconscious in her palatial house.
    Despite Linton’s vast privilege, she’s continuously positioned herself as both an excluded outsider and a victim of thewoke mob.She told Fox News, “When I was in my early 20s, I definitely felt like it was a boys club, and I felt like people didn’t take me seriously because I was trying to produce as young as 25”; the fact that very few people are able to produce films at twice that age doesn’t seem to register for her. In 'n softball profile for The New York Times, she said that while Mnuchin was in office, sy “felt censoredand didn’t know what she wasallowed to bedue to social media pressures. Perhaps in her mind, angry tweets create a cage as oppressive and confining as the ones the Trump administration used to store the children of migrants.
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    Playing Catherine, in kontras met, allowed Linton to finally feel liberated: “In writing and playing Catherine I’ve discovered an extraordinary sense of freedom and fun,” she said to the Times. “This character can be so uninhibited in her universe.
      Which underscores whatMe You Madnessultimately amounts to: Not a scathing parody, an act of subversion, or a humble confession, but a multimillion-dollar spa day, in which a child and wife of privilege gives herself the chance to relax, unwind and be herself, to a soundtrack of her favorite Eighties hits.
      The madness is that, in a time when tens of millions are out of work and hundreds of thousands have died, the Trump administration’s aristocracy are not only paying no price for the ruin they’ve visited on Americathey’re giving themselves over-the-top consolation prizes for the trauma they believe they experienced. While Marie Antoinette may never have actually saidlet them eat cake,” Louise Linton’s message with this movie is clear: Let the masses eat cadavre humain.




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