Cat Person captivates the audience unfolding in mystery and overall tension like a pandora’s box. A movie that lives up the allure of a suspenseful psychological thriller with comedic undertones. You can expect mystery and intrigue from an ambiguous theme that begs the question – is online dating or texting with someone you don’t know at all – as safe as it’s cracked out to be!
Cat Person takes raises the suspense
Cat Person is based on a short story (and real life inspiration) by Kristen Roupenian that saw an uproar in 2017 having gone viral online and brought up various issues of modern day dating and the fragility of women among male predators similar to the #MeToo movement on social media.This is the underlying theme that revolves around distrust, lust and most notably being a woman suffocated under the patriarchy of men.
Cat Person features Emilia Jones as Margo, Nicholas Braun as Robert, Geraldine Viswanathan as Taylor and more cast members. Sophomore Margo befriends a much older, and somewhat intimidating Robert at the movie theatre where she works with dire consequences regarding romantic endeavours.
Geraldine Viswanathan’s character, Taylor, who plays Margo’s concerned roommate, is the voice of reason that questions Robert’s motives throughout the film. Almost as if she stands for all things feminist and does really uphold the rights of women above all else. But Margo being headstrong and eager to spare Robert’s feelings, finds out that’s too late and the film propels the audience into something sinister, a dreadful fate awaiting Margo and the audience will be gripping their seats as they try and figure out what he’s really up to and if he is indeed a psychopath.
The moral ambiguity between lust and obsession
The film unwinds tensely when Robert gets her phone number and the two start texting one another – almost endlessly and with clear affection from the get go. But as you learn more about Margo’s character, the audience can see her become fixated on the endorphin rush of receiving text messages from Robert. This becomes an expectation that is almost obsessive, the feeling of being wanted is set in stone from her character and she is constantly on her phone chatting to Robert, who in the same breath is seeking the same attention.
And this is where things begin to become blurred and fear becomes palpable. The lines of artificial affirmation from chatting to someone somehow outweighs the reality of actually sitting across from some in ‘real life’. Almost like a dreamy expectation of how she views Robert in an idealistic sense. And in all likelihood, it seems to be too good to be true as his true colours start to show.
Robert becomes more menacing with each encounter and he starts harassing Margo with no remorse, or so it seems. The movie keeps you in suspense as to his plans for Margo.
Expect a thriller that keeps you guessing
The film is shot from Margo’s point of view for the majority of the film. As the relationship between Margo and Robert becomes more fabricated by rather awkward intimate interactions. The screen becomes more claustrophobic, almost enclosing Margo in her doubts about Robert’s motives and what type of person he projected compared to what he really wants. She becomes trapped in a spiral of his expectations, from being the “concession stand girl” to becoming an item of lust and obsession for Robert.
The audience expects Margo to be running for her life at some point in the film as Robert’s character overwhelms her with stalkerish behaviour that forces Margo to reach out to the police – but where there’s no harm there’s no foul. The question remains of his intentions and if he is trustworthy or plotting the worst for Margo like a coordinated killer waiting to pounce.
There’s one scene where Margo is positioned between the shutters at a bar almost as if she’s in jail and Robert is the warden controlling her fate. He harasses her over text messages when things don’t go his way and this leads to doubt about whether his is indeed harmless, but his actions speak louder and is evident in the fear shown by Margot and Taylor, who feel they must take matters into their own hands.
These close-ups emphasise her inability to shake off Robert as a romantic interest as much as she tries to do so, whether over the phone or in person. And that’s the question that runs throughout the film, which is when can a man be prosecuted for stepping over the line when it comes to the safety of women. Margo represents this, and Robert illustrates the shadow in disguise, who may end up taking Margo’s life as a consequence.