Posted on 21. Nov, 2015 by in Live Action Cat Films

[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00ZZT6YWE” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”catfilms-20″ width=”120″]Manglehorn[/easyazon_image]In [easyazon_link asin=”B00ZZT6YWE” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”catfilms-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Manglehorn[/easyazon_link], an aging Joe Pesci plays the titular role, an aging middle-class man with what would be an “empty nest” (his adult son has been financially successful enough to move out and busy with business enough to rarely call) except for his fluffy white female cat, whom he calls “Fanny” and conspicuously dotes on.
Fanny is a conspicuously precious white long-haired cat, who is initially seen to be mysteriously “off her feed”. In the first part of the movie, Manglehorn is seemingly wrapped up in himself. He keeps other people at arms-length, as he is still mourning the loss of “the one who got away”, a women he loved and lost. However, this is not the case with his cat Fanny, who is more than a mere pet to him.  Though it may be argued that Fanny’s very name makes her presence a surrogate for female genitalia, it is the fact that she is a cat and has the separation of being a different species that gets her past Manglehorn’s emotional defenses.
Fanny can truly be said to be an Animal Companion; he talks to her, considers her needs and sensibilities in light of his behavior, and is seen to carry her long distances; not just in his home, but in situations outdoors and in public wherein it would be unusual to be bringing a cat at all. Indeed, he clings to her, especially in one scene where he carries her past a New Wave breakdancing party and a surreal automobile accident scene.
Manglehorn does find some common ground with a female bank teller over their respective pets, but fumbles things on their first date because he’s still not over Clara, “the one who got away”. Fanny serves as the catalyst for changing this situation in his life. After Fanny is noticed to be not eating or using the litterbox for some time, Manglehorn takes her to the vet, who discovers that atypically for a cat, Fanny has swallowed a key. (Veterinarians as well as cat partisans will tell you that such an ingestion of an obviously foreign and potentially harmful non-food object is more typical of dogs.) What follows is the surgery to remove it, perhaps the first and only real or simulated surgery upon a cat I have seen shown in any realistic detail in a major motion picture.


It is significant which key Fanny chose to swallow. It was a key to a space containing a shrine to the lost love and a collection of the letters he sent her which were sent back to him. Looking at an earlier letter and photo from her, and revisiting the choice to let her go in this fashion accomplishes emotional closure for him, symbolized by physically clearing out and getting rid of all the letters and pictures associated with her (except, perhaps, for that crucial one); with the culmination of the film being his approaching the bank teller with an apology for the state of the first date, and a pitch/plea for a do-over of the date on the grounds that he is now emotionally ready to move forward with her.

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