Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Stockholm, Pennsylvania

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Stockholm, Pennsylvania

Article excerpt

(2015)

Directed by Nicole Beckwith

19 years ago, a little girl was kidnapped and taken to a basement by a man named Ben. She was kept in that basement room for 19 years with no exposure to the outside world. She was never allowed to leave the basement and the only window in the room was covered over from the outside. Ben changed the girl's name from Leann to Leia. This is part of her change in identity. Ben provides for all of Leia's necessities-food, shelter, companionship, security-although the result is a young woman who has had no experience of the real world. She lives life on Ben's schedule. Ben tells Leia that she is loved and cared for and safe. He also explains the world in terms of various simplistic clichés.

After 19 years in captivity, Leia/Leann is rescued and returned to her parents. Leia wants to keep her name, expresses concern for Ben's well-being, calls the basement "home" rather than a basement, and continues to speak of the world in the clichés that Ben had taught her. After 19 years, she has come to identify with her kidnapper; thus the title, "Stockholm, Pennsylvania."

In an interesting twist, Leia's mother, Marcy, who wants so desperately to win her daughter back, begins to treat Leia in the same way that Ben did. …

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