“This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”
In fact, it isn’t a true story. That’s the charm of Fargo. Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen added the disclaimer in hopes viewers would be more willing to suspend their belief of the events of the story. The film is about a kidnapping gone awry in the cold climes of Minnesota and the police officer, Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand), who breaks the case.
Unassuming but tenacious, Marge, this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday feature, has a way with catching criminals. Unlike other officers of the law, her language contains a generous helping of “there in a jiff”, “time to shove off” and “thanks a bunch.” When watching her work for the first time, one cannot help but notice the simple-minded feel she projects while she investigates a murder scene. Make no mistake; her quirky exterior hides her razor-sharp ability to see through lies and discover the truth.
In the midst of this, her husband provides her support by visiting her at the station. “I brought you some lunch, Margie,” he says. They talk about his painting. Only, she’s the one providing support after he reveals their neighbors may have a better painting for an art exhibition. Marge, the trooper that she is, says, “You’re better than them.” Which he quickly answers, “They’re real good.” She shoots down his insecurities, “They’re good, Norm, but you’re better than them.”
Punctuated by episodes of an ordinary life, Marge handles every clue to the mystery with the same instincts a bloodhound would use to track its prey. Layer upon layer, she puts it all together as if it were a challenging puzzle ready for the final piece.
When she meets with anyone posing as a threat to her investigation, she focuses her aim on pointed questions, never deviating from her prepared script. One of the best lines in the movie is the one she utters after the man she’s investigating uses the word “darn”—as in “I answered the darn…I’m cooperating here.” To which she replies:
“Sir, you have no call to get snippy with me. I’m just doing my job here.”
And when it’s all over and done with. When there’re no more criminals to catch. Marge talks of the futility in chasing after a little bit of money. In terms of her simple life, she can’t understand what compels anyone from destroying other people’s lives in order to attain that “little bit of money.”
Which begs the question: Why can’t we all just get along?
Have you seen Fargo? What did you think of Marge?
25 thoughts on “Marge Gunderson”
Reblogged this on The TV Media Junkie ReBlog Blog.
Love Fargo – I heard tell that FX is going to run a new series on Fargo and that my very favorite Hobbit, Martin Freeman, is going to be in it. Between this and the Outlander series on Starz, I thin I may need to get cable!
You’ve got your stories right on the mark, Katie. I’m looking forward to both series!
I really enjoyed this movie and Marge was my favorite character. 🙂
I had a need for someone to come up to my property to do some chipping this week. Every time there is work to do with the chipper I get a broad smile from Marge’s pointed question: “Is that your friend in the chipper there?” Great post.
Marge wows everyone. I like to think of her as a supercharged Columbo… also is it true that there’s talk of a Fargo tv series?
Yes! Apparently Billy Bob Thorton’s will star in it. Not sure what it’ll be about, but I’m sure it will be a good show!
Fargo is now on my TBW list! Thanks to you, Jack. 🙂
Fargo, the city, is just weird enough to love the movie. I went up there to visit my niece, and she took us to the visitors’ center, where they have the wood chipper from the movie. You can pose for pictures shoving your friends and relatives into the chipper. 🙂
I love this movie! And Marge. Haven’t seen it in ages though, and thinking it’s time for a re-watch 🙂
Perfect timing with the weather and all, Amb! Check out A Simple Plan as well. Another movie with a small town feel to it containing memorable characters.
I think I’ve seen that one, too 🙂 Billy Bob Thorton is in it, right?
Right. He’s so good in it. He’s what holds the movie together.
Never seen it but she sounds great.
Great movie, but it’s very explicit in violence and language. Just so you know!
I’m fully booked with kids movies anyway. Lego movie next then Muppets :
I loved this character and the movie
An excellent film – I have watched it a few times. Did you hear about the poor Japanese fan that went to Fargo to find the buried ransom? She was found frozen in a short skirt – not even dressed up for the weather. Maybe that’s the sign of a good film, or just too believable?
I don’t know if it’s a true story or not, but I heard that a movie version of it premiered at Sundance this year, and that it’s amazing!!
Maybe it’s apocryphal – it is amazing how this film keeps interest down the generations 🙂
I heard about it. Here’s an article about it: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2003/jun/06/artsfeatures1 Seems she didn’t believe the officer when he told her Fargo was a fictional story.
It’s a very sad story really, but it does testify to the quality of the film. It’s been on Netflix for quite a while in the UK and it’s still in the most popular list.
That movie gave me nightmares about wood chippers.