Movie Review: Lilith

Lilith has an interesting premise. Warren Beatty plays a war vet with mommy issues who goes to work in an insane asylum for the rich, where he falls obsessively in love with one of the patients, Lilith (Jean Seberg). Another patient is also in love with her, Stephen (Peter Fonda). But as interesting and as good a cast as it has, it failed for me.

I had to keep reminding myself that this came out on 1964, so the way things were done and perceived were likely different. I still found it implausible that a male attendant would be allowed to spend as much alone time with a female patient as Vincent does with Lilith. Not only is he in her bedroom with her a lot, he is also allowed to take her out on little trips, just the two of them. In fact, he seems to spend the majority of his time with her. I found this ridiculous considering how obvious it was, not to mention the fact that the woman who hired him, and who may or may not run the place (I wasn't clear on that), was around so much. Were there really no red flags going up? Did she honestly see nothing wrong with Vince, or any male for that matter, being alone with a female patient? That's just asking for trouble. It's also good to note that this isn't an abusive environment. They take care of their ill at this place.

At first, I liked Vince. He was actually interested in helping people and he wanted to get to know them. But apparently the mentally ill Lilith was just too "irresistible" for him. I don't quite understand that. I mean, I get that she's pretty, her hair is blonde and always done up, and she wears nice flouncy dresses, but you'd think the whole insane, homicidal aspect would be a turnoff. Maybe that's just me, though.

As for Lilith, she doesn't care a whole lot about anyone but herself, which is soon obvious. She is a bit of a seductress and aims to "leave the mark of her desire" on just about everyone. She has an inflated ego, and she loves to be loved and noticed. She also plays the flute very well. And she's also a bit of a pedophile, but you know, who wouldn't love her? Despite all of this, she is mentally ill. So when Vince takes her out and lets the seductress meet his affections halfway, it's patient abuse. It'd be easy to say that Lilith is as much to blame as he is, but really, he is the one in authority, the responsible one, the one who knows better. It's on him. I didn't think he should have had that job in the first place since he had issues of his own that needed to be dealt with.

So I kept asking myself why none of the other workers, ones who were more experienced and responsible than Vince, didn't put a stop to this. I think it was because they saw this as progress. Lilith hadn't gone out in months and probably didn't socialize much, and he changed that. I suppose they were blind to the obvious. But give me a break! Someone get a neon red sign and  put it on my forehead, please.

In the end, it has a promising plot and cast, but a bad execution. I can't even say it was all that entertaining. Rather disappointing.

My grade: D

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