This week on Feminist Flashback Friday, we take a trip back to an eerie, little-known classic from 1965 directed by famed director Otto Preminger. Bunny Lake is Missing‘s leading lady Ann Lake (played by Carol Lynley) is our featured femme for this week and here’s why.
Who Is She?
Ann Lake, a unmarried mother of a toddler, has recently left her home in New York to move to London, where she now lives with her brother Stephen (played by 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Keir Dullea). Ann loves her daughter, Bunny, and is neither embarrassed nor ashamed of the fact that Bunny is a bastard child. Ann holds her head up proudly and refuses to accept pity for being alone, especially since everyone’s first assumption is that she got knocked up and abandoned.
When Bunny goes missing, everyone in the movie is made to act as if it’s not as big a deal especially when police begin to suspect that Bunny may be a figment of Ann’s imagination. But throughout the entire ordeal, Ann remains the only human character in the film, showing undying maternal instinct and the go-to attitude to demand justice.
What Makes Her A Badass?
There’s a twist to this movie, so I’m going to try to give as little away while still properly explaining why Ann is badass. It’s Ann who first figures out the twist after a shocking betrayal and then goes on to walk the thin line between revealing the truth and saving her life.
I realised too late that Ann’s most badass scenes are after the twist is revealed, so that makes it very difficult to gush about her badassery with solid examples without ruining the film for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it. So I guess you’ll have to take my word for it: she is legit. She fools the bad guy while still protecting what’s most important to her; she uses her mind to come up with wily ways to distract the bad guy in order to buy herself time to think of a more solid plan; she shows no fear, just pure gumption throughout the movie.
Why Does She Still Matter Today?
Ann Lake is just an ongoing example of the power of parenthood. She’s proof that a parent’s love can—and likely will—conquer all. She’s a reminder that a parent’s love and devotion to his or her child is an unmatchable thing (regardless of whether the child is biological).
Optional motherhood is considered to be anti-feminist by the ruefully ignorant, but there is nothing anti-feminist about making a knowledgeable choice about your own life regardless of your gender. Ann became pregnant outside of marriage in a time when society was still far more conservative than today and instead of terminating the pregnancy (likely by a back-alley doctor who may or may not have known what he was doing), she chose to keep her child and raise it, showing the world that a) two parents are not always necessary to raise a healthy, happy child, and b) that society can go to hell if they have anything negative to say about a woman who chose to live their life as they see fit.