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Movie Bad Girl of the Week: Sue Snell

Embrace your inner bad girl  with Movie Bad Girl of the Week!  

By Alexandra Elaine Michaels

Amy Irving as Sue Snell

Amy Irving as Sue Snell

This is written especially for some of our younger readers out there.  Carrie is one of my all time favorite movies and in this day and age where bullying has come to a real public awareness, this seems the perfect choice to pull my “Bad Girl of the Week” from.  I am sure some of you are looking at my choice (Sue Snell) and scratching your head thinking, “Chris Hargensen is the bad girl in this movie. She is the one who dumps the pig’s blood on Carrie.” Let me clarify. Chris is a bad girl and the villain in the movie. Last week I mentioned that a bad girl is someone who possesses a trait or quality that gives them self-empowerment, so bear with me and you will see where I am going with this. For those of you who have not seen Carrie, I highly recommend that you do.

(Be warned that I am writing this as if all of you have seen this movie so there are plot spoilers included here.)

 

    In the opening of the film Carrie experiences her first period in the showers after gym class. Frightened she runs to her classmates begging for help. The girls turn on her with a pack mentality and shove her back into the showers. Sue opens up the sanitary napkin dispenser on the wall and begins handing them to the girls who then pelt Carrie with them chanting “Plug it up”. There gym teacher hears the girls and comes out to find out what has them shouting. She confronts Sue who says “Carrie, she just got her period” Miss Collins gives her a rough shake and asks Sue what she is doing. We can already see the guilt over this ugly display in Sue’s face.

“Sue Snell” in Carrie (1976)

 The next day in school Miss Collins berates the girls for doing a “really shitty thing” to Carrie and issues a punishment to them. Sue’s eyes well up with tears because her guilt is becoming stronger. During their actual detention Chris Hargensen tries to stand up to their coach for punishing them over something they did to Carrie White. (In Chris’ mind it is only Carrie after all) Miss Collins slaps her across the face. Chris turns and tries to get the girls in the class to side with her claiming “She can’t get away with this if we all stick together” and in her first real step towards adulthood Sue tells her to shut up. Sometime in the course of that day Sue makes a decision. She asks her boyfriend (the handsome jock) Tommy Ross to take Carrie to the prom. He reluctantly agrees.

    Mrs. Collins finds out and confronts the students and Sue lets her intentions be known.  Feeling badly about the shower incident she wants to do something nice for Carrie, to get her to join in and be a part of things. Sue is sincere. She can see all Carrie wants is to be accepted like everyone else. Miss Collins thinks it is just another way to for the kids to hurt Carrie. Unknown to everyone Chris is devising her plan to dump pig’s blood on Carrie at the prom. The night of the prom arrives and Carrie attends with Tommy. Chris, with the help of a couple of her friends. has made sure Tommy and Carrie will be elected King and Queen so she will be under the bucket.  Sue sneaks into the prom from behind the stage just as the announcement of King and Queen is made and hides in the shadows smiling as she watches Carrie, looking beautiful and simply beaming with happiness. It has worked, she helped Carrie fit in. In a scant few seconds a thumping rope that is attached to the bucket of blood above the stage gets Sue’s attention and she follows the rope with her eyes seeing both the bucket above the stage and Chris Hargensen’s shadow (holding the rope) through the crepe paper surrounding the stage. Sue tries to stop Chris. Sadly Miss Collins will not listen to her and forcibly removes her from the prom. The bucket tips and horror ensues. At the end of the film, Sue, the lone survivor of that night has a dream about Carrie. She will be haunted by the memory the rest of her life.

What can we learn from Sue Snell?

    Keep in mind as you read this we are talking about a character that is a 17 year old girl. Through the course of the film Sue empowers herself, making her a bad girl everyone could be like. Sue goes against every rule of high school politics. Although she has taken part in picking on Carrie over the years she, for the first time, looks at Carrie through different eyes after the shower incident. She sees a shy, awkward girl who only has one wish: to be just like the other kids and not the scapegoat or outcast. She then, by way of Tommy, befriends Carrie (having him ask her to prom) and gives her that wish. Bad Girl Status Level: Incredible!

    How many of us look at someone and find them odd or different and would rather snicker at them with everyone else instead of looking through their appearance to see the true person on the inside. Growing up I was that person, the one that was picked on, although that was years ago and she is long gone, so now, I make a request of you. Next time you are with friends and there is that one person everyone likes to pick on and make fun of ask yourself “What if that was you?” Whoever it is has feelings just like you do. Would you cause yourself pain?

    The other thing Sue does is go against the opinion of the cliques. She stands for something that she knows is right even if everyone else disagrees with her. Sue finds herself, probably for the first time, standing on her own two feet, not being swayed by the popular opinion. Bad Girl status level: Bad Ass!

    How many times do we go along with the popular opinion (even if we know it is wrong) because we fear being ostracized by our friends or peers whether at school, work or in our social circles? It takes guts to stand on your own and it can be a lonely place at times but it shows an incredible integrity on your part to do so. This gives you that empowerment we have talked about because “you” are thinking for “yourself” and that is power. We are all people, not cattle, and should have our own thoughts and standards we set for ourselves. Be an original, not a copy.

 

Until next time, embrace your inner bad girl, because being bad feels so damn good!

 

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