Dominique Swain: My Very First Heroine
When Lolita was released in 1997, I did not know anything about the film or its star, Dominique Swain. And, of course, I had no way of knowing how deeply the movie would touch me when I finally did see it. Not that I could identify completely with the Lolita character as I have never felt her heart was pure. To a great extent she was just playing games and toying with the affections of a nearly helpless man. Anyone who has ever been in a situation where two people are in a relationship that society frowns upon knows it is certainly not a game. But the movie did something very important for me -- it showed me that the girl did have some control over what was happening in the rerlationship.
"Boys always like to see girls kiss. I don't get it. Girls don't want to see boys kiss."
Over time, however, I came to see this not so much a trait of the Lolita character but more a trait that Dominique herself possessed. She was a very strong young woman and this strength seemed to find its way into most characters she played. To a young girl looking for someone to tell them it is okay to be in love with the only man you know you will ever truly love despite what society seems to think, the movie was like a lifeline at a time when things were getting rough.
I came upon Lolita almost by accident. I saw Devour with a few friends and while I was talking to one of those friends, one of my best friends at the time, she told me about Lolita. It reminded her of me and my feelings for someone that most people around me deemed inappropriate. On her advice I watched it. Then I watched Girl and Tart because Dominique was in those, and suddenly my whole perspective on life and love was changed. Suddenly I knew that if I believed in myself and the purity of my heart, I would overcome whatever animosity might come my way.
At the time I saw Lolita, I did not really understand what the movie was saying to me and indeed focused more on the differences in our stories rather than the similarities. In the movie, the man pursued the girl even if with some reluctance and self accusation. The man I love refused to even consider pursuing a relationship. I was the aggressor. Lolita never seems sure what it is she wants from life. I knew exactly what I wanted and needed. Most importantly, her feelings for the man who pursues her are never really clear, while there was nothing uncertain about the feelings that swelled within my heart.
While these feelings were causing me to think and analyze my own situation, I explored Dominique's other films and here and there found little pieces that, when combined with snippets of knowledge and inspiration I was finding elsewhere, gave me the strength, confidence and stamina I needed to begin my quest for the ultimate love. From time to time, when I would get a bit discouraged, it was Dominique I would turn to for a reminder that life can be tricky but ultimately it can be a joyride.
"I'm open to anything. I think everyone should enjoy every moment that they experience."
I think Dominique is a great actress and I really do not understand why she is not offered better parts. She always does a fine job in anything she does, but the films are always B-grade or worse for the most part and, when she is involved with a decent film, her part is usually small. Even when she makes something like Plain Dirty (which is also known as Briar Patch ) where the critics generally seem to like it and it won a bunch of film festival nominations and awards, it seems to get no respect from the viewing public.
Of course, I have a theory...
A lot of people do not like movies like Lolita , Girl and Tart . Maybe they are threatened by a young woman who is not afraid to use her sexuality for her own goals. Or maybe they do not care for the peek into the male psyche. For whatever reason, it seems clear to me that people have branded Dominique as inferior, unwanted or simply blacklisted. It does not matter how excellent her films may be. They are doomed to failure or at least barred from success on a major level.
I believe this because I see the same thing in my own life. When people find out the man you are in love with was once married to your mother, they immediately make some very general assumptions. They assume he either seduced me or flat out molested me when in fact he was always a perfect gentleman and very protective of me. People also assume that I somehow stole him from my mother when in fact he and I have her complete blessing. Probably the most bizarre assumption is that he is my biological father. But then maybe that's because I like to tease him by calling him "daddy". LOL!
"Sometimes I think I might insult people by being openly flirtatious then snatching it back."
So while to some, Dominique Swain might not be a major star, to me she is that and so much more. She is the second woman I ever considered to be a hero of mine (after my mother, of course). I see her as not only a beautiful, talented actress, but also as a woman of strength who has lived her life on her own terms and refuses to be taken down those who disapprove of her choices in life. Sort of like me. :-)
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