11 Parenting Fails from "A Quiet Place" (Spoiler Alert)
A little over a week ago, the highly anticipated A Quiet Place was released, to very positive reviews from the public and the critics. Being that Steven loves horror movies and I love Emily Blunt and John Krasinski's marriage, we decided it was a must-see.
A Quiet Place is the tale of the Abbott family, getting displaced from their home and living a life of complete and utter silence after the uprising of man-hungry beasts that roam the forest, tearing apart anything that makes a sound. The Abbotts consist of father Lee, (played by the movie's director and co-screenwriter John Krasinski of The Office) mother Evelyn, (played by Krasinski's real life wife Emily Blunt of The Devil Wears Prada fame) daughter Regan, (a deaf character played by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds) and sons Marcus and Beau. Over time, they learn the hard way how to survive in their new world.
The movie was actually pretty great. It was creative, paced well, expressive even with its limitation of its characters not speaking for 90% of it and exciting to watch. The only big problem I had with it was that the characters of Lee and Evelyn made so many ridiculous mistakes when it came to their children.
And sure, this is coming from Steven and me who have never been parents. But our arguments are not "This is how you should discipline your child" or "Here's what you should be feeding your child and making sure they learn in school," where it's all subjective. These 11 parenting fails I think we can all agree are objectively awful and just a product of some questionable horror movie writing tropes and issues.
TO BE CLEAR: I am judging these parenting fails based off of the fact that I am watching a fictional movie where every action is a choice made by a writer. I don't judge similar actions of real life parents in such a black and white way. But since the characters in this movie don't speak, they don't communicate why they make the mistakes they do, and ultimately leave me scratching my head and asking the writers why.
1. Not making sure Beau left the batteries behind
In the beginning of the flm, their youngest son Beau is found playing with a toy rocketship as the family look for food in an abandoned grocery store. Lee gently removes the batteries from it and tells Beau to leave it behind where he found it. The parents then leave the children alone with the toy and the batteries sitting right next to it on the counter. So of course, Regan lets Beau have it, and Beau sneaks the batteries as he leaves the store. He later installs the batteries and sets the toy off, getting himself killed. If those batteries have the power to get your child eaten, wouldn't you have disposed of them more thoroughly or at least put them out of arm's reach? In the real world, parents put snacks that their child overeats out of their reach for god's sake. Or maybe make sure to watch your kid leave the store without them? I feel like this could have easily been avoided.
2. Letting their youngest walk behind them all alone
Why would these parents let their kids walk behind them at all when the crunch of a leaf, a sneeze or even factors they can't control like an animal making noise in close proximity to them could literally be the end of their family? Those are too many factors to have to think about already, but having your youngest walk directly behind everyone means you have limited ability to monitor them. If he had been walking in front of them, they could have stopped him from setting off the rocketship, and he might still be with them.
3. Bringing more children into that type of world
Let's go ahead and get this big one out of the way: I understand that accidents happen, but this is objectively an awful idea. Why would you want to bring a baby into the world where crying could get them killed? You not only put them at risk for death every day, but you put your whole damn family at risk having a baby naturally whine and squeal into the night.
And before you say anything, NO: Having kids in this movie's universe is not the same thing as having kids in a war-torn country or poverty-stricken situation in the real world. Reasons why people in the real world bring up children despite hard times vary from a lack of understanding of conception, deep religious reasons, a lack of resources for contraceptives, or the want to stick it to oppressors that they will exercise their right to procreate. Not only do I have a hard time believing that good ol 'Lee and Evelyn lack an understanding of how conception works, but they never spoke of their religion, and you would think that with all the time they have for developing cochlear implants and designing their own Anthropologie towels and table runners, that they would have at some point attempted to develop a contraceptive. Them having another child does not prove something to the oppressor, because the oppressor is an ear beast, and the Abbott family is not part of a greater community of people who their children would want to start a new society and uprising with. All you create in this world by having a baby is beast bait and a greater risk of death in the family! I'm just going by the rules of the movie's universe here!
4. Leaving Evelyn alone when she was 9 months pregnant to do nonsense
I understand that the men have to go fishing for food, and that she wasn't yet due to have her baby...but we all know that it's not good to engage in risky behavior or be left alone when you're a few weeks away from having a baby. Yet there he was screaming at a waterfall, having a heart to heart and running from screaming old men in the forest. Wasting so much time that could have been better spent heading home to his pregnant wife with limited mobility trapped in the middle of a flesh eating beast-infested no-man's land. Get your fish and go home, dude. I realize you left your daughter with her, but what's a 13 year old really going to do for a woman in labor when you can't call an ambulance?
5. Making their kids question favoritism
This subject was hastily handled in the film, but ultimately both Regan and Marcus stated in their own ways that their parents weren't treating Regan with as much respect and trust as Marcus. That after the death of Beau, while many people blamed themselves, Regan took a lot of flack for the incident and wasn't being included as much in activities with her father and remaining brother. Clearly the last thing you'd want to do after your child makes such a huge mistake unknowingly, would be to make them feel guilty or at all not part of the family. Watching the movie, we realize Lee loves his kids equally, but clearly something he was doing was sending an awful message to his kids.
6. Not realizing that Regan had left while Evelyn was doing laundry
Right after the men leave to go fishing, Regan goes for an unauthorized stroll on her own to visit the site where Beau passed away. Meanwhile her mother does not even notice that she's gone. Evelyn mourns the loss of her child, does several loads of laundry, organizes her picture frame collection, impales her foot on a nail, sets off the red warning lights to her husband and son, beats the ear-beast at a game of wits using a kitchen timer (why does she own one by the way? The whole concept of a kitchen timer is to hear it go off loudly) and has an entire baby in a bathtub before reflecting on the fact that her daughter is gone. Wouldn't you think that her first instinct after dropping the picture frame, would be to look for Regan and take her somewhere safe?
7. Leaving the nail in the stairs
This is a two-part fail of Evelyn's. While carrying laundry up the stairs, she gets her dress hooked on a loose nail in the stairs. Instead of tossing the laundry down the stairs to investigate what is about to rip her dress, she yanks on it until the nail protrudes even more. You know...the way a 10 year old would. Then after she pierces her foot on the nail, she stumbles away without removing or pounding down the nail! What if her children were to come back and have to run down the stairs to get away from the beast? You can't just leave a nail sticking out of the stairs like that ready to impale your children next.
8. Sacrificing Marcus for his mother
I understand the need to protect the pregnant Evelyn and her newborn, but did they really think that having their son play as bait in the cornfields would be worth it? What if the creature who heard the fireworks had killed him? Why fireworks? Why not a grenade so that he could have actually created a diversion from all of them in general?
9. Sitting around talking while their kids could be dead
After realizing that they have no idea where their daughter has run off to, that there is an enormous chance of an attack on their household that night, and that their son has been used as a decoy to protect them, they sit around in their house with only a twin-sized mattress between their newborn and sheer doom, talking about how they should totally protect their children. The audience in my theater snickered at this. Why do these parents show no concern for their kids? I realize Evelyn has just given birth, but Lee could certainly run out there and tend to his kids. "Who are we if we can't protect them?" she says. I don't know lady, who are you?
10. Not thinking of every option before leaving their children fatherless
This movie was all about creating diversions of sound to distract the beast from harming you or your loved one. Evelyn uses a kitchen timer to get the beast away from her, Lee uses his son and the sound of fireworks as live bait, so why didn't Evelyn bother to try to make noise where she was to distract the beast from killing her kids and husband when she could see everything happening from the security cameras? I realize she's with her baby, but she could have run out of the house with her rifle and made a shot far from the house and run back. Anything to give her kids and husband some time to escape. But instead, she watched her husband do just that and sacrifice himself in close proximity. The laws of this universe state that the decoys always work. So why didn't she try? She's now guaranteed herself to be without a husband in this cruel world, and her children without a father.
11. Not showing concern when Regan is in pain from her cochlear implant
This one is a small one, but I found that when Regan was suffering from immense pain due to her cochlear implant, her mother showed little to no concern over her discomfort. She was doubled over holding her ear and head making faces of agony, and her mom was looking at her wide-eyed and without making a single move. How, after a movie of neglect, forgetfulness, ignoring safety hazards and using your child as live bait, could you not just hold your child while she's in pain and try to soothe her? Would that be too much to ask for?
It's hard to imagine after all that ranting, that I did in fact like this movie a lot, but I did. It framed the concept of the universe so cleverly in the lives of this one close family and their struggles with their lifestyle, and made it so much more relatable than let's say an action movie about the men in the town getting together to destroy the beasts. It was heartfelt at times, well-acted and easy to relate to. And luckily, that'll always be what we take from the movie, and not the parenting shenanigans. Although I personally as a nit-picker, will remember those too.
Did these parenting fails stand out to you at all when you saw the movie? What do you think you would have done differently in this fictional universe? Let me know and be sure to give me a like on Facebook to see future entertainment posts. Until next time!