Personal Response to An Inspector Calls

The short, remake of the play, An Inspector Calls, by J.B. Priestly, was set in the early 1900s. It starts out slow, with a dinner party between a family and their daughter’s fiancé. Then the entire plot line starts with a bang as the inspector enters announcing the suicide of a young girl. I find it quite interesting that the film starts with the answer (the girl has passed away) and the questions/story builds up the more you get through the story. Even at the end, many questions have been left unanswered and even more have emerged.

The beginning was quite unexpected as the  inspector interrupts the seemingly normal family’s dinner by shocking them with the story of a young girl who had committed suicide. It was frightening for the entire family but they don’t believe they have anything to do with it.

The detective starts his “work” on Arthur, the father of Eric and Sheila. he unravels the past and figures out that Arthur had relations to the girl. The inspector also seemed to already know all the facts and was just confirming with the father. I found this quite interesting and made me think about what the others had in relation to her.

Then the inspector continues onto the young, soon-to-be married daughter, Sheila. We then find out that she also had negative relations with the young woman who had abruptly passed away. It was about now when I started to see the pattern being found in the family. I also started to see the mystery of the departed girl unravel but more questions began to rise. How did the inspector seem to know all of this already? Is there something we’re missing?

I found what happened next quite interesting as well as the future husband of Sheila, Gerald, was introducing into the equation. He was completely unrelated (by blood) to the others yet he took a large part in the events leading to the girl’s suicide. Gerald had slept with the young woman even though he was already engaged with Sheila. This was when Sheila and Gerald’s relationship began to deteriorate. Soon after, Sheila returned her ring back to her no longer wanted fiancé, wanting him to leave, which is exactly what he did.

Even now the inspector seems to know everything, in a mysterious, almost dark way. He is completely at ease and doesn’t mind insulting the family. It was around this point I began to think something was adding up about him.

The detective then moves onto the mother, Sybil, which we all already know is going to have a part in the predicament which was slowly coming together. At this moment in time we find out from the inspector that the young girl had been pregnant at the time that she took her own life.

What I found intriguing is that the mother had worked for a charity set on helping young women in need. When the girl had come to visit the charity with her unborn child, the mother turned her down. Sybil then told the inspector that she thinks the father was to blame for the young woman’s child, not her, and he should be punished.

Right then we find that the final member of the family, Eric, is also part of the mess. It turns out he was the father of the child, an alcoholic and a thief. It was a lot of information to take in at once but also quit surprising and exciting.

As expected, his mother tries to defend him from the harmful words she had thought to be for someone else before. I find this scene filled with lots of human emotions and I feel as though it was done very well. If I were to re-watch it that I would noticed many more facial expressions that I didn’t realize were important the first time around.

After all the new information had been finished off, the inspector leaves. Everyone is worried and shocked by all the new things they had learned about the family they thought they knew so much about. Through the chaos, Gerald returns. He announces that he saw a police officer as he removed himself from the disorder house.

He asked the officer if he knew a detective by the name of Goole (the name of the inspector) and he doesn’t recognize the name or the description of the man. The family then realizes the man might not have been an inspector at all. I found this turn of events quite dramatic and it changed the tone of the story.

The family begins the think maybe they weren’t related to the girl’s death at all and even though they did all these horrible things, they hadn’t ended up ending an innocent person’s life. To make sure, they call the hospital to see if anyone had come in and passed away after committing suicide. There turned out to be no one fitting the description.

This plot twist really changed the way I looked at the story and the way I would look at it again if I were to re-watch it. However, what astonished me most was when the hospital called the family back, telling them that a girl fitting the description the inspector had given them had just been admitted there.

When the movie had ended on that note, I was almost a little upset that there wasn’t any closure. I definitely enjoyed the story and how it started with an answer and asked the questions as it continued. If I were to re-watch it, I would see the characters differently and feel like I’m hearing it more in depth. Overall I enjoyed the plot line and the characters. Personally, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries or just wants to see something new.

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1 comment to Personal Response to An Inspector Calls

  • Negar Zunuzi

    great post 🙂 you wrote full of content and points of views, maybe you should take a quote from the film next time.

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