Posted by: Pinar Tarhan | July 7, 2009

when adultery is okay, part 3: The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet letter  (1995)

Starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman


The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter




The letter is A, it stands for adultery/adulteress. It’s the 1660s and Demi Moore gets branded. Why? Oh,right- the story…

She is married to Robert Duvall’s character, who is a physician and a weird man who has sent his wife to one of the new colonies so that she could set a home before he arrives. Weird, right? In a time where women are hardly ever considered capable or to have the right to the anything without their husbands- she arrives alone. Her modern& forthright attitude is not very welcome. Even weirder, the narrator of the movie is Demi Moore (Hester)’s  daughter- who will be born later- and keeps referring to Duvall’s character as Hester’s husband…

Then as Hester settles and proves herself capable of living as she likes despite others’ opinions, she meets a beautiful man by the name of Arthur. (Gary Oldman)

Gary Oldman as Rev. Arthur Dimmedale

Gary Oldman as Rev. Arthur Dimmedale

Oh yes, with his costume of the era, long hair, beard and lovely& cute attitude, Gary Oldman is a beautiful man.They both share a passion for reading. His personality? Just as perfect. He is a priest, very modern and visionary, friendly with Indians,a pacifist and a romantic at heart. He is disappointed to find out that Hester is married. Still, their encounters continue and they realize they have not only respect & admiration for one another but a strong attraction, and deep feelings. Arthur is the one who practices self-control after he confesses his love. After all, he is a priest in love with a married woman and in 1660s, they could be “hanged for this”. So they avoid each other for a while. Then they receive news that her husband was killed in an Indians attack. When Arthur visits Hester’s home to give her the news, she is not exactly grief-stricken. She is anxious to know when it will be publicly acceptable for them to be seen together in public.

But people are bigots mostly and they live by strange rules they have set. Arthur very sadly announces that they have to wait for 7 years. Demi Moore is so disappointed with the news. But it takes them just a few seconds to engage into a passionate kiss- and then later on, into a great love-making.

Arthur and Hester, no longer to keep all those emotions in

Arthur and Hester, no longer to keep all those emotions in

 I was so glad that they didn’t try to wait for such a ridiculous period of time. After all, there are very few things that are as natural and beautiful than two people- madly in love with each other-having sex. But of course it is not what the society thinks. And to make matters more complicated, Demi Moore gets pregnant. When people find out, they send her to jail. There aren’t exactly laws for this, but then they feel like they should punish a woman who bears a child who is not from her husband. Arthur is shocked and upset that she is treated like that so he wants to confess. But if he does confess, they will let her go but hang him.So there is no way Hester is going to risk his life. She forbids him to talk… So she gives birth in jail and Arthur can only see the child as the “Reverend”. The fact that her husband has survived makes everything even worse. He is determined to make her life hell- he accuses her and her friends of witchcraft.  He also finds out Arthur is the father…

So Hester refuses to let go of her principles, to endanger Arthur… She gets branded with A, so the whole town is against her, apart from her friends whose lives are in danger…Arthur is torn between doing what’s right, what’s right for Hester…

Hester and Arthur, with their kid Pearl

Hester and Arthur, with their kid Pearl

And eventually when the town decided to hang Hester and the other women, Arthur just takes his stand, and tells them all..That he is the father of the child.That he loves her. That he is her husband in god’s eyes. He proposes they hang him instead. But when you think this might be another tragic ending, the Indians come to rescue…

It is just such a perfect, amazing love story. You root for the characters from the start. They are so humane, lovely, passionate and idealistic. Their love is real and knows no limits. I love every scene and moment from this film.


If your husband is a jerk, and you have married him against your will and meet such a great guy, it can’t be called adultery. It is just the kind of love a lot of us seek and yet seem to find only in movies…


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