“Immigrants” (We get the job done)

Watching “Knives Out” for the first time ended up being an amazing experience. I do not know how I haven’t heard of the film before but it was definitely very entertaining. I think one part of the film I enjoyed the most was Marta’s role. As the reading review points out, she becomes the unlikely star of the film and turns in an amazing performance. The first thing that came to mind when thinking about her story is the rags to riches storyline. I also think it is even more interesting given the race dynamics that exist within the film.

Everyone within the family claims that she was close to all of them and “a part of the family.” However, none of them know where her family is from, and they usually just claim random South American countries such as Ecuador, and Venezuela. It turns out that Harlan is actually the only one who actually cared for Marta (and Marta was the only one who actually cared for him, literally and figuratively). This becomes abundantly clear when the will is revealed and Walt threatens to out her mother for being an illegal immigrant. I think this movie is a very interesting and modern take on the rags to riches storyline, as poverty is not the only thing Marta has to overcome. Marta has to overcome racism, xenophobia, the law, and rich white people as a woman of color. It truly is a story of rags to riches and is beautifully symbolized by her possession of Harlan’s mug in the end.

8 comments

  1. I also agree that this murder mystery plot unexpectedly tackles many issues of race and class that you have mentioned, showing an interesting rag to riches story through Marta. While it is a very entertaining plot, it also makes audiences think about the ways in which the wealthy treat the working-class and are so willing to throw them under the bus in order to save themselves.

  2. I loved watching Marta’s character develop for the same reason. This was also my first time seeing the film so it was really cool to also read about from an analytical perspective while also enjoying the story.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed the movie! Excluding Harlan’s suicide, I feel like the different family dynamics made the movie more realistic and provided interesting perspective to what these relationships with people who work for rich, White families could be like. Especially in the sense of caretaker and domestic work positions being filled by a large amount of Latinx immigrants, it was interesting to see the family’s relationship with Marta evolve throughout the movie.

  4. I think you make a strong point about Marta’s character, and I completely agree. I think her storyline is underrated at the beginning, but the last scene when she is physically above the family standing on the balcony was extremely powerful. Additionally, I enjoyed the detective’s comment at the end when he acknowledged he knew from the beginning that Marta was involved with Harlen’s death. This perhaps suggests that the detective was all-knowing, or that Marta is the main character without knowing it.

  5. I also loved that the woman of color ended up being the “victor” in the end, but recognize all of the hardships she had to endure to end up where she was, which was not even a place she chose or specifically wanted to be. For example, the fact that Ransom tries to KILL HER in the end?!?! WTF, man? She almost died for literally being herself and telling the truth. They could not accept that this brown woman was about to have the thing that they all wished to have for years.

  6. First would like to say, love the reference to Hamilton in your title. I also was struck by Marta’s character as I felt as though it was a sort of revisionist idea of a murder mystery, where the victor is not someone who you would expect. In many other adaptations, Marta would not have the success that she did and just have been another character in the background of the storyline.

  7. I loved the relationship between Marta and the Detective, and how he knows the entire time that it was not her who did it because of the mere fact that she acted innocent … with blood on her shoe. Her character development reminds me of gender and class divides with our discussion of Much Ado, as the family sort of acts like the “men” in Much Ado, expecting nothing but disciplined respect and cooperation from the “women,” whose thoughts and words are seemingly meaningless in comparison to their own.

  8. I really enjoyed the dynamics of race and family that played out in this movie. It is the unfortunate truth that there are people who will identify someone as family, but then it is discovered that there a benefit in doing so, see you only as a means; see Kelly Osbourne’s comments on who will clean your toilet if Trump kicked Latinos out. But Marta’s relationship with Harlan is a push back to his family’s improper beliefs about her.

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