Drop Dead Fred film review
Drop Dead Fred
Drop Dead Fred
Drop Dead Fred.
When I was a child I watched Drop dead Fred through a child’s eyes. And when I was an adult I picked up on a whole lot more than just the comedy. So I will first tell you what I thought as a child. And then how I think watching Drop Dead Fred at 32 years old.
When I was a child Drop Dead Fred (Rik Mayall) was naughty and funny. He was the grown up that would let you do anything at all. It was amazing to a child that an adult existed that would let you make mud pies and put dog poo on a clean carpet.
The mother seemed very cold to a child. And all though I had a very bad tempered mother, I was sure she wasn’t as bad as the Mega Beast. A close second though!!
Elizabeth seemed really sweet as I was a bit older than her character, the first time I watched it. Well, older than the child Elizabeth. It made me forget my own crappy childhood and go and rescue Elizabeth. When you feel you want to get involved you know you have a great emotive film.
Now fast forward a few years and I watched it again. Last week in fact. I forgot that it had inappropriate swearing in it, and bought it in reminiscence for my children. With the nostalgia surrounding the film. I of course sat down and watched it again with them. Now although the swearing was not an issue as I am quite liberal with my children. They know not to repeat what they hear. I am a realist in my parenting. I was shocked as I thought of the children that would miss out on the fun because of the swearing.
So as an adult watching this I no longer just perceived the film as a lighthearted comedy. But as a black comedy of sorts. The underlying issues of child abuse. There are times when we see the child masking taped to her bed by her mother. And later the abuse carries on as an adult when her mother declares Elizabeth as crazy and employs a rather large and butch nurse to keep her in the house. In between we see she is with a womanizing bully who is patronising and manipulative. This is almost a message that Elizabeth has become comfortable and feels being treated in this manner is normal. She is extremely suppressed.
The main characters are of course Drop Dead Fred who is the magical imaginary friend who comes back into her adult life when she becomes unhappy. His character is naughty but in some ways quite naïve and child like in his judgements. But as a child like mind, he also gets it right quite a lot.
Elizabeth is also another main character and we see her as a child and as a grown woman. Although she is very child like even as an adult. She almost battles with her past and present at the same time and goes from being mistreated by an impatient and unloving mother to a mistreating husband and back to the mother. Both undermine her.
The mother of Elizabeth, a new boyfriend and the husband Charlie play great parts in the film. But it is no completely about them and they are secondary to Elizabeth and Drop Dead Fred.
My conclusion is. Even though I watched this because of childhood nostalgia. I actually enjoyed and gained more depth out of the film as an adult. A fantastic film and I would advise anyone to give it a chance.
Rik Mayall has died 9th June 2014
It hurts to say that we have lost an amazing British actor in such an unexpected way. Cause of death is yet unknown but no one was expecting it at all. At 56 he was way too young to die.
You will never be forgotten you amazingly brilliant man!