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YMMV / The Constant Gardener

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  • Acceptable Targets: Pharmaceuticals are decried as being little better than arms dealers.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Tessa is said to have hid her work from Justin to protect him, and Sandy says she didn't want him involved in what she was up to. But is it possible there was a more selfish reason for hiding her work? She begged Justin to take her to Africa with him, and she later says that her work is what defines her. So does she selfishly not want to share her work with Justin because it's all she has independently of him? There in Africa she's defined as Justin's wife, so her work serves to differentiate herself from him.
    • A more cynical interpretation is her entire marriage to Justin being essentially an infiltration into enemy's ranks. When she insists on going to Africa with him, Justin notes they know nearly nothing about each other. Could be it wasn't about her being so much into him, but about her wanting to get closer to the company's higher ups and to a place, where they do their dirty deeds. Later Tessa goes to give birth to a rundown hospital, despite having opportunity to do it in a better clinic just to make a point/check the place, without ever thinking that she is needlessly endangering their baby. When the baby is stillborn, her reaction is a mix of annoyance and 'well, at least I got some more info I needed'. She also offers herself to Sandy sexually in return for the proof she needs, and while she never intends to keep this promise, once she gets it, one can only wonder, what would happen if Sandy demanded the payment in advance. While she does it to stop the horrific crimes, she still doesn't come off all that sympathetic.
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  • Character Shilling: After Tessa's death not only Justin, but nearly every other main character (even villains) talks about what an awesome person she was and how they've failed her.
  • Ending Fatigue: The film seems to climax a couple of times - following Ham exposing the conspirators publicly and then a Dead Person Conversation between Justin and Tessa before things are finally wrapped up.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Rachel Weisz's status as a Posthumous Character seems oddly prophetic of her role in The Fountain, and also The Lovely Bones - where in that case it's her daughter who fills that role.
  • Iron Woobie: In her life, Tessa was very aware that her work was dangerous and could result in her death. She kept it hidden from Justin because she knew this - and it's likely she knew she would die eventually and was trying to get as much information as possible before it inevitably happened.
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  • Moment of Awesome: When Tessa's cousin Ham reads the letter out loud during Justin's funeral.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Bill Nighy is barely in the film, but given that he's one of the chief conspirators, he makes an impression whenever he's on screen.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Archie Panjabi, who plays Ghita, would be more recognisable for her roles in The Fall and The Good Wife.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Ham's speech at the end decrying all the parties involved in the conspiracy, even society, is heavy handed and directed largely at the viewer, the camera even watching him from a perspective in the audience. It's also set right after the powerful victory of reading the letter aloud in front of the press, and after the stress and frustration with corruption throughout the whole film seeing it exposed so clearly like that is highly refreshing.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • When Tessa is found after giving birth in the hospital, calmly announcing that the baby was stillborn. She's breast feeding another baby, because the mother is dying.
    • Justin gets so caught up in investigating the facts and figures that when he finds some personal videos Tessa took of him, the full force of grief hits him. He goes back to their old house and, upon looking into the living room, collapses sobbing against the door.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Downplayed but the prosthetics to have Rachel Weisz look convincingly pregnant while nude are quite impressive. It seems that she's given the bath scene just to show it off.


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