A revenge comedy about two friends who reunite at a funeral to seek justice for a sexual assault that happened while they were in college. As a survivor of rape, I recommend this film and applaud the sensitivity and honesty with which the subject is handled. It is a movie with a great deal of humor, but above that, it has a heart.
Many movies I’ve seen miss the mark when attempting to express the feelings of those who have been sexually assaulted. This movie has some poignant moments that are beautifully expressed in the words of the script and the character portrayal by Jane Fonda.
Moving On can currently be seen on Hulu at the time of this posting.
There are some very memorable scenes in this film. Here are few of my favorite pieces of dialogue.
When Jane Fonda is expressing to Lily Tomlin how she wants revenge on her attacker, the following is said:
Lily Tomlin: “Oh, Claire, it’s been decades, and not like a couple of decades. It’s been four and a half decades!”
Jane Fonda: “It was yesterday.”
This hit me directly in the heart. It doesn’t matter how many years or decades it has been, for it always feels as though it was just a moment ago. Like a damaged nerve, where the ends are always attempting to reattach and reach out to the other, the person we become after a rape is continually seeking the person we were before. To remember her, to validate and soothe her.
It is one of the most insensitive comments a person can make to another, to inform them that a certain amount of time has passed and therefore the experience should be less painful. This has happened to me a few times. One was by a friend who was a widow and very comfortable grieving her for her loss many years later. I wouldn’t ever be able to tell her to “get over it…he died six years ago.” Unfortunately, she felt comfortable telling me that my rape “was in the past,” and I needed to move on.
Jane Fonda is speaking to her ex-husband, Ralph, and he wants to know what happened to her that made them a viable couple. She says something bad happened. He wants to know why she couldn’t tell him, and she says, “It made me mute. It made me deaf. It made me blind to you and to everything good in my life. I just couldn’t.”
This is exactly my experience. The shame I took on moved into every cell in my body and made me unable to speak my pain. It made me unable to accept that anyone could understand or love me. I was damaged. I was trash. I just had to get through it and keep my pain from overwhelming anyone else. It was my problem, and I wouldn’t make anyone else experience it.
There is another scene where Lily Tomlin is reminding Jane Fonda of all that she has now. She has children, grandchildren, and a nice home.
Jane Fonda replies, “You know what you have? You did what you want in life. That’s what you have.”
After her attack, we understand that she gave up becoming a photographer.
Yes! I understand this so well. Once I was raped, all that I ever was, including my dreams and hopes, were replaced by doubts and fears. I no longer had the self confidence needed to climb the last of the stairs necessary to reach the level I had been chasing. I turned down every opportunity that came my way. Those choices were stolen from me. I no longer believed in me. I was stolen.
Whether you are a survivor of rape or care for someone who is, I hope you’ll consider watching this film. It is very humorous, and while I’ve touched on the moments that made me appreciate the film as it relates to my sexual assault, it isn’t a heavy topic in the film.
The movie is written and directed by Paul Weitz.