Even though she doesn't appear until relatively late, would you say Fargo is really Margie's film?   Even though she doesn't appear until relatively late, would you say Fargo is really Margie's...

Even though she doesn't appear until relatively late, would you say Fargo is really Margie's film?   

Even though she doesn't appear until relatively late, would you say Fargo is really Margie's film?




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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the film has to be Margie's.  From a cinematic point of view, the story is about Margie's exploration of the criminal act of the murders committed on the highway and the path that leads back to Jerry.  She does show up only mid way through the movie, but in a sense, this is prelude to what she enters.  The movie does not accomplish the same type of flow and fluidity if we start off with the murders and with Margie.  As the viewer, we have to be "brought" to Margie, just as she is "brought" to the murders.  From a thematic point of view, Margie is symbolic of the faith and order that may exist in the universe.  Nearly every other character in the film represents some lack of totality.  Margie is the only character that represents some form of wholeness, the only element of redemption in the film.  She does her job because she feels compelled to do the best job she can, not for external gain.  She is able to make her husband, frustrated at his own attempts, feel better about his place in the world.  She speaks to the goodness and overall sense of dignity that the rest of the primary characters in the film lack.  In this element, I think that Margie becomes the basis of the film.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great points thus far.  Margie is the control in the experiment that is Fargo. She is the normal one, working the law and order job, leading the very ordinary home life with a baby on the way and a husband in a painting competition for stamps.  They are the definition of the mundane American family.  Almost everyone else in the film is either deviant, psychopathic criminal or just plain strange.

I can believe it is Margie's film, in that the crux of the movie is her trying to understand how people can do the horrible things that they do.  I think the most obvious scene exemplifying this is when she has the kidnapper/murderer in the police car and is taking him in, and asks him why he did these things for a "little bit of money".

scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Just to add to the other excellent points made by the posters, Margie also represents the role that an independent, logical woman can play in our often chaotic, testosterone-driven world. She provides an excellent contrast to Jean (the "victim" of the kidnapping) who uses manipulation and her intimidating father to get what she wants (not her intelligence or compassion like Margie). The screenwriters show Jean and Jerry's dysfunctional relationship first so that when Margie does come into the film later, the audience recognizes her unique role--she is the only character who uses common sense.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with a number of the excellent points made in #2. It is clear that if you compare Margie to other characters in the film, she is completely different in terms of her outlook and what drives her in life. It is she that offers us an impression of the goodnes that may still exist in a world that is otherwise dominated my violence, greed and pain. Although she is not introduced at the start of the film, it is clear that she is what the film leads up to.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely! Frances McDormand didn't win the Oscar for Best Actress for nothing, and she was totally deserving. In addition to her wonderful accent, Margie is the only totally competent character in the entire movie--a pregnant, small-town cop with the appetite of a horse. The fact that she doesn't appear for the first 15 minutes or so is unimportant, since the film belongs to her once she is introduced.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Margie is certainly the most unforgettable character in Fargo--the only unforgettable character, really. As in all good detective stories, the crime comes before the detective and, as in all good detective stories, the detective is the central character. So I'd agree, Fargo is really Margie's film.

e-martin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Margie has to be considered as the "moral center" in the story of Fargo. She also functions as the audience-stand-in, the character through whom we engage with the rest of the story. We feel what she feels because the film is set up for us to do this, in my opinion.

So, yes, I'd say this is Margie's film.