The Pumpkin Eater (1964)
- Summaries (2)
Screenwriter Jake Armitage (Peter Finch) and his wife Jo Armitage (Anne Bancroft) live in London with six of Jo's eight children, with the two eldest boys at boarding school. The children are spread over Jo's three marriages, with only the youngest being Jake's biological child, although he treats them all as his own. Jo left her second husband Giles (Richard Johnson) after meeting Giles' friend Jake, the two who were immediately attracted to each other. Their upper middle class life is much different than Giles and Jo's, who lived in a barn in the English countryside. But Jo is ruminating about her strained marriage to Jake, with issues on both sides. Jo suspects Jake of chronic infidelity, she only confronting him with her suspicions whenever evidence presents itself. And Jo's psychiatrist believes that Jo uses childbirth as a rationale for sex, which he believes she finds vulgar. These issues in combination have placed Jo in a fragile mental state. They both state that they love the other, but neither really seems to like the other much. As Jake and Jo prepare to move back to the English countryside in a new house within sight of Jo's old barn, both Jo and Jake come to their own unspoken individual conclusions of whether their marriage can withstand these strains, and if so what type of marriage it is destined to be.
The study of a marriage. Jo (Anne Bancroft) has five children and husband number two when she meets writer Jake Armitage (Peter Finch). She leaves this husband to marry Jake, and his career takes off. A few years and at least one child later, Jo is deeply depressed, breaking down in the middle of Harrods. After psychiatric care and the prospect of a new house in the country, she gets better; then, she is pregnant again, and this time Jake objects. Jo consents to an abortion and sterilization in the belief it will make her marriage happy again, but afterwards she learns ugly truths about Jake. She confronts him. "Why did you marry me?" and "What should we do?" become nearly unanswerable questions.
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