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One Hour Photo questions... (I'm not blacking out, so SPOILERS)

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One Hour Photo questions... (I'm not blacking out, so SPOILERS)

Old 02-20-03, 08:25 PM
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One Hour Photo questions... (I'm not blacking out, so SPOILERS)

When Sy is photographing Mr. Yorkin and Maya having sex, and the poilce develop the photos later, the pictures aren't there. Was the camera empty when he was taking the photos? If so, was it just to basically punish Mr. Yorkin for doing such a thing to his family?

And the things he did take photo's of, the insignificant things like a faucet, or shower curtain rings, or an arm of a couch... I know that's a reference to what he was saying earlier in the film, but is that a metaphor for how he considers himself? Insignificant, and that people should take more pictures of insignificant things (aka, him).

And my last question, when Sy was explaining to the officer about how the officer was a good father who wouldn't do horrible, deplorable things to his child... etc... Was that how he felt about all the horrible things he's had to develop when he worked at the One Hour Photo place, or how his own father treated him? Probably molested him? etc...

Thoughts? Opinions?
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Old 02-20-03, 08:35 PM
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There were threads from last fall that discussed all these points in great detail. Do a search, newbie!
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Old 02-20-03, 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by LBPound
There were threads from last fall that discussed all these points in great detail. Do a search, newbie!
I did! I didn't find anything!
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Old 02-20-03, 08:45 PM
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Originally posted by CKMorpheus
I did! I didn't find anything!
Me neither.

To actually address your questions,

1) I guess that the camera is out of film, and making them feel guilt is what Sy really wants to do.

2) Seems like a good explanation.

3) I wasn't sure about this when I saw it, but I think my conclusion is Sy was abused as a child and that's part of the reason he's turned out so effed up.

The Yorkin family seems to be the perfect family, something Sy obviously didn't (and doesn't) have, and to see it crumbling in front of him drives him mad. Mad, I tell ya!
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Old 02-22-03, 02:42 AM
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My 2 cents. I just watched this and thought it was pretty good (4/5 stars) and it is the type of movie that I think I will grow to like more as time goes on.

1) Det. James Van Der Zee (Eriq La Salle) says that they developed the film found in his bag as well as the film in the camera. The film in the camera is what we saw at the end, the film in the bag was the sex pics.

2) Like the cat woman that didn't have any pictures of anything but her cats, Sy doesn't have anything to take pictures of except random items around him. I'm sure it is a little more than that but the bottom line is that though he talks about people only taking pictures of things they want to remember or the happy times, he finally understands in the end that there really isn't anything else worth taking pictures of. The only thing he really had in life was the "dream family" that he followed over the last 10 years or so. I think that when he got fired, he was more upset that he lost his ability to follow the lives of the Yorkin family than the fact that he no longer had a job. With the family gone, he tried to find the beauty and order in his surroundings, but in the end, he sees that in his pictures (and also his life) there is nothing.

3) My take is that he did have a terrible home life and was likely sexually abused. I wouldn't doubt if his dad did take pictures of him sexually as a child and subconsciously, this is what made him end up working as a photo technician. In addition to that, looking at other's photo's every day allowed him to live the life (even though it was only in his mind) that he wanted but never had. He did think of himself as an uncle in the Yorkin family and the infidelity ruined his "perfect family". That along with losing his job (and eventual loss of contact with the family) finally pushed him over the edge. He wanted Will Yorkin to pay for his mistakes, as I'm sure he wanted to make his own dad pay for his own terrible childhood/abuse.


Maybe I will get a different feel from this movie when I watch it again, but these are my original thoughts on the story. I would like to see continued discussion on this movie if anyone else has anything to add.
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Old 02-22-03, 10:02 PM
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I really enjoyed the scene where Sy is being chased and bursts into the conference room. The lighting and location of the cameras projected him as a fugitive and it reminded me of some old film noir movie posters. I thought the movie was pretty good (8/10) and better than I expected.
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Old 02-22-03, 10:56 PM
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I watched this movie in the theaters awhile ago so this is from memory and was my interpertation of the movie.

the camera was out of film and the pictures the cop did find was Sy waisting the film before he used it on the couple. And Sy most likely grew up in a abusive house without any love.
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Old 02-22-03, 11:17 PM
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Now, I may be taking things wrong, but I got a completely different interpretation of the end of the movie. I saw the end, when Sy was looking at the pictures that he took inside his hotel room of ordinary things, as his delusion. He has been seen as delusional all thru out the movie. We see him several times with the family, but he is NEVER with the family. At least not all together at once. He sits outside their home and imagines he walks inside it and looks around and is even welcome there when he is discovered. That never took place, he imagined the whole thing while sitting in his car. Several times he imagines doing things with the family while he sits and stares at pictures of them. I feel the interaction with the family was exclusively inside Sav Mart, and everything else outside is imaginary. Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but definately the most creepy aspects of it all. It could even be debated if he actually visited the kid at the park, tho he probably did, but it did make me wonder that the kid never mentioned it to his parents, as he did seem to openly discuss Sy with them.

So, when Sy took those pictures out and put them on the table, I knew at that instant he never went inside that room and made those people do those things and actually take those pictures. He imagined it all. Did we ever see the husband make the claim it happened? We don't know what Sy was arrested for in the beginning. He is, as far as we know, just being questioned for stalking these people. Did we ever see the adulterous couple make that claim that happened to the police? Or maybe I am the one reading too much into it, but given Sy's delusions earlier in the movie, I don't think I am reaching too much here to come to this conclusion.

I think Sy saw things in those pictures he developed that made him realize people do bad things to children, and he could have been molested in the past, but I thought he had seen bad things. He did say earlier in the movie that he had to report child porn to his superiors.

What I found most interesting in the movie was the use of colors. The white and the blues represtented when Sy was at peace in the world, and green seemed to represent when he was in contact with the rest of the world. I found it no coincidence that the scene where he talks to the husband in the computer aisle he uses a phone that is the same green as we see in other places in the movie where Sy is in contact with the rest of the world. In that scene, the phone puts him into contact with the world inside that store at that time. It was an observation of how colors are used in this movie. And the warm home colors of the family's house, which I believe the director said was "purgatory," was also noticeable.
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Old 02-22-03, 11:42 PM
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Not to get off topic....actually, it is on topic...the topic is questions about One Hour Photo....but this would be more dvd related....

The question is, can we expect a Special Edition or some such in the future....I enjoyed the flick, but was hoping to see more extras on there...
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Old 02-22-03, 11:48 PM
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I still think that the motel stuff actually happened and he did take the pictures of them naked on the bed. Det. James Van Der Zee said something at the beginning of the film that he 1) found film in the bag and the camera 2) the content on the film was pretty bad and 3) he ended up only letting him see one set of pictures leading me to believe that the other set was the nude pics that he didn't give him for obvious reasons. If it was just another set of random shots like the ones we saw or just "waste" shots, then I don't see why the detective wouldn't have let him look through both.

Last edited by Ketamine; 02-23-03 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 02-23-03, 12:02 AM
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Originally posted by calhoun07

So, when Sy took those pictures out and put them on the table, I knew at that instant he never went inside that room and made those people do those things and actually take those pictures. He imagined it all. Did we ever see the husband make the claim it happened? We don't know what Sy was arrested for in the beginning. He is, as far as we know, just being questioned for stalking these people. Did we ever see the adulterous couple make that claim that happened to the police? Or maybe I am the one reading too much into it, but given Sy's delusions earlier in the movie, I don't think I am reaching too much here to come to this conclusion.
But do you really think he went to all the trouble to find out which hotel they went to, got a room on the same floor, had a delusion about taking the sex pictures, and then just took pictures in his room then left? Do you think he imagined the detective finding the adulterous couple in the state they were in while he was trying to escape? It is all possible (though I don't think so) that a majority of the film was a delusion, but I think the hotel stuff did happen. His delusions were all happy (Christmas with the family, hanging out at their house as their "uncle" and finally the closing picture of a happy family photo). The unhappy delusion of the events at the hotel doesn’t really fit the trend.
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Old 02-23-03, 08:08 AM
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Originally posted by Ketamine
I still think that the motel stuff actually happened and he did take the pictures of them naked on the bed. Det. James Van Der Zee said something at the beginning of the film that he 1) found film in the bag and the camera 2) the content on the film was pretty bad and 3) he ended up only letting him see one set of pictures leading me to believe that the other set was the nude pics that he didn't give him for obvious reasons. If it was just another set of random shots like the ones we saw or just "waste" shots, then I don't see why the detective wouldn't have let him look through both.

So you think that Sy took those random pictures in his room after he left, in an attempt to hide the actual pictures he took of the couple? Or what do you think the point of the random pics were?
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Old 02-23-03, 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by calhoun07
So you think that Sy took those random pictures in his room after he left, in an attempt to hide the actual pictures he took of the couple? Or what do you think the point of the random pics were?
For one, this guy is screwed up. But obviously you want more discussion then that. During the film, he talked about how the only pictures people take are of things they want to remember or the happy times, but never the everyday things in our lives (go back to see what he specifically said but I think that was the jist of it). Then think back to the pictures that the Yorkin boy took with his birthday camera. Sy loved them because they were not the typical pictures that he normally develops. Those pictures were just random items from around the house, yard, etc. At the hotel, Sy had just gotten done taking the sex pics (which was very difficult for him to do) and I think the pictures of his hotel were his attempt to forget the previous pictures he just took and instead find the beauty of the common things in our everyday lives. Even after he was caught, he really wanted to view these pictures (the random pics of the hotel) because he thought they would turn out beautiful and have a deep meaning (show the beauty of the ordinary things in life). But after he sees them, he starts to realize that his pictures were not beautiful and had no real meaning or order. Instead, I think he got a little insight into the chaos of his life.
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Old 02-23-03, 11:08 AM
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Originally posted by calhoun07
(snip) I saw the end, when Sy was looking at the pictures that he took inside his hotel room of ordinary things, as his delusion. He has been seen as delusional all thru out the movie. (snip)

So, when Sy took those pictures out and put them on the table, I knew at that instant he never went inside that room and made those people do those things and actually take those pictures. He imagined it all. (snip)
Is it possible Sy only imagined he entered the lover’s hotel room and forced them to pose? Absolutely. It’s equally possible that all of the events from the moment Sy pulled up in front of the Yorkin’s home are part of a larger fantasy; i.e. Sy only dreamed he switched the photos in Maya’s and Mrs. Yorkin’s envelopes, that he took photos of the store manager’s family and that the police were called in to investigate, and that he tracked the lovers to the hotel room. Being arrested is all part of his fantasy---it’s the coda to his dream which takes place entirely in the front seat of his car. Ultimately one can take almost any situation imbued with ambiguity and interpret it as a dream. In fact, one could argue that the entire movie took place in Sy’s head while sitting in the lunch room.

Personally, I saw nothing in the movie to suggest that the events surrounding the hotel and the “photo session” transpire in a dream. Following Sy’s fantasy where he enters the Yorkin’s home, the director cuts back to an objective shot of Sy sitting in the car. Why? To let the audience know that the preceding events unfolded within Sy’s head. There is no such shot following the photo shoot or his subsequent arrest. I believe that if the director’s intent were for the audience to view the final act as a dream, he would have employed some device to make his intentions clear.
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Old 02-23-03, 11:57 AM
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WRT to the “random images” of “ordinary things” I believe there are many ways to view the photos. The answer (and of course there is no single right interpretation) hardly matters—the very act, itself, is somewhat creepy and reflects a sadness within Sy’s character. As Ketamine noted above, these photos encapsulate Sy’s view that people only record the moments they want to remember. Sy devotes his life to processing and preserving his customers’ memories of their families and friends; Sy has no family, no friends; hence he captures images of objects. He is forced to notice and record the simple things most people overlook.

In contrast to some of the prior posts, I don’t think Sy actually took photos of the two lovers; rather, it was simply an act to humiliate the adulterer and his mistress, to punish them for failing to value and respect the family he could not enjoy. Just as Sy directed the lovers not to actually touch each other, to only simulate physical contact, so too the camera simulates the act of taking pictures. These are not ordinary, everyday things; these are not images worthy of Sy’s camera. To my way of thinking it is more disturbing if the act serves only to satisfy some twisted, personal need, rather than permanently record the moment for others to see.
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Old 02-24-03, 08:27 AM
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Another interpretation of the photos that Sy took in the hotel room, IMHO.

On one hand, I think it ties into his statement that people rarely take pictures of inconsequential things.

Sy also has a keen sense of detail (his appearance at the store, the color on the developing machine, etc.), and I think he sees beauty in those things that most people take for granted.

Also...

Remember when the son brought in the camera to be developed? Sy looked at the photos - the pictures were all random, obscure things that were taken at weird angles and distances - just like to might expect from a child using a camera for the first time.

I wonder if, in a sense (or at least in his own mind), Sy was regressing back to his childhood days, taking random, obscure photos like he would have as a child, to basically "capture a moment in time" before all of the abuse would have happened via his father.

Another sign that Sy's mind was rather childlike in that scene: It was weird how he would say things such as "put his thingy near your mouth," as if he was too embarrassed or wasn't sure of the correct word to use.
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Old 02-24-03, 12:43 PM
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Originally posted by audrey
In contrast to some of the prior posts, I don’t think Sy actually took photos of the two lovers; rather, it was simply an act to humiliate the adulterer and his mistress, to punish them for failing to value and respect the family he could not enjoy. Just as Sy directed the lovers not to actually touch each other, to only simulate physical contact, so too the camera simulates the act of taking pictures. These are not ordinary, everyday things; these are not images worthy of Sy’s camera. To my way of thinking it is more disturbing if the act serves only to satisfy some twisted, personal need, rather than permanently record the moment for others to see.
While I agree that this is highly possible, then what did Det. James Van Der Zee mean when he said that 1) there was film in both the camera and in the bag and 2) that the film was pretty bad or something to that effect. I don't think random shots of the hotel would be considered bad though agreed it may look a little strange. I don't know that there was enough evidence as far as I remember the movie that showed that he took other pictures at another time that would have the detective saying there was bad content on the film.

I don't think Sy would have a problem taking pictures of something as bad as simulated sex. I think he is more about capturing life in film in every moment, from the happy times to the everyday items around the house to the terrible things in life that nobody takes pictures of. One reason I believe this is that Sy let Mrs. Yorkin see the affair pictures and it was his goal to take pictures of them in a huge fight. He was pissed when that night after she saw the pictures that she didn’t confront her husband. I think he would have taken pictures of the simulated sex to capture the moment on film though he didn't want them to actually touch b/c the actual act of this adulterous relationship made him sick. This was his (Sy's) family and the things the husband was doing behind their backs was destroying his perfect family.
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Old 02-24-03, 01:05 PM
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Originally posted by Ketamine
While I agree that this is highly possible, then what did Det. James Van Der Zee mean when he said that 1) there was film in both the camera and in the bag and 2) that the film was pretty bad or something to that effect. (snip)

It’s been quite a while since I watched the movie and I don’t recall the exchange you mention. I’ll have to watch it again. Like many things in this movie, it works either way.

(snip)One reason I believe this is that Sy let Mrs. Yorkin see the affair pictures and it was his goal to take pictures of them in a huge fight. He was pissed when that night after she saw the pictures that she didn’t confront her husband. (snip)
Hmmm….I had not considered this angle. My feeling at the time was that he just used the telephoto lens on the camera to get a closer look, not to take photos.
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Old 02-25-03, 10:21 AM
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After rewatching this, I have to say I don't think there is ANY way the hotel stuff was a "dream." Sy's in trouble, the detective mentions the "other" roll of film and the "bad stuff" that's on it. What other film could he possibly be talking about?

I also listened to the commentary (w/director and Robin Williams), and neither gives even the slightest indication that it was not real. On the contrary, they talk about how it was a breaking point for Sy, and how his finally admitting it and his awful childhoold could possibly be a turning point for Sy.

When I saw it in the theaters I thought the whole "I was abused as a child" thing was a bit of a copout, and I still feel that way to a certain degree. Either way, Robin Williams handles it tremendously.
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