“Mrs. America”, the Great Cate Blanchett and Chantal Akerman.

Cate Blanchett

The biopic of Phyllis Schlafley, “Mrs. America”, debuted on Hulu in 2020. At the time, a few savvy viewers noticed un hommage à Akerman. In other words, there are similarities between the final scene of the miniseries and Chantal Akerman’s masterpiece Jeanne Dielman” . Or, to give it it’s full title, “Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles”.

Mrs America. Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafley.

Un hommage à Akerman

The scene is un hommage à Akerman by the episode’s writers (Dahvi Waller and Joshua Allen Griffith) and directors (Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck).

It’s January 1981 and Schlafley (Cate Blanchett) has just been informed over the telephone by Reagan himself, that she will not be offered a cabinet position in his administration. Schlafley’s list of Republican contacts, from her work with the ERA was influential in getting Reagan elected president in 1980. However, she was considered too polarizing a figure at a time when American politics were not as polarized as they are today. Despite the unsympathetic nature of this woman, the way in which the scene unfolds leads us to feel a certain compassion towards her.

Mrs America" Bella, Jill and Shirley

The renaissance of Jeanne Dielman!

Her husband (John Slattery) tells her that she has been robbed and then nonchalantly asks her what time is dinner. Blanchett slowly hangs up the phone and returns, defeated, to the kitchen. In Un hommage à Akerman, the camera frames her in a medium shot and in a single take that will last about one minute she sits at the table, facing us, and begins to robotically peel one apple, then another, then another. And there she is, before our eyes. We are witnessing the renaissance of Jeanne Dielman!

MRS. AMERICA IS AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO, APPLE TV AND HULU. JEANNE DIELMAN CAN BE SEEN ON THE CRITERION COLLECTION.

Share this post

We would love to hear your comments you can add them below!

0 Comments

You may also like…

Subscribe for the latest reviews right in your inbox!