Let’s begin with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining who portrayed Wendy as an isolated, emotionally abused housewife. She is introduced in an audacious dress in conspiracy-fueled colors of red, white, and blue. After a brief scene in her kitchen, she hosts the doctor who has come to check up on Danny after his incident in the bathroom. Early in the film, without Jack, we begin to get an idea of her character. She stands against a plain, white wall like a quiet flower. Compared to the earth tones on Danny’s bed, Wendy sticks out sorely. Especially in today’s fashion, she poses as someone to mock.
Things do not get easier nor better for her. In Jack’s shadow, she is emotionally battered and numb to her husbands abuse. There is zero chemistry or attraction between the two. While Wendy shows little strength she does, in the end, demonstrate survival. She is the sheep to Jack’s wolf. We watch in horror witnessing the wolf attack the sheep.
In Kubrick’s vision, Jack’s affection for Danny was mentioned briefly. But the film emphasizes he’s a terrible husband. It’s only fitting Wendy is a character that reflects the result of an oppressed spouse.
In the mini-series, Wendy is very strong character. She is inquisitive, resilient, and capable of rage. Unlike the film, she is introduced in soft light wearing the most simple of wardrobe. In the opening moments of her introduction, we see evidence of her artistic skills and soon later seen drawing. The contrast is already made. She’s a woman more refined, elegant, and is not just a one-dimensional character.
Because the mini-series stressed more the bond and struggles between father and son, Wendy can afford to be more both confrontational or seductive. The mini-series attempts in showing chemistry between Jack and Wendy. But it is Jack who drifts away mentally or spiritually away from his family. Wendy fights and copes however. In the end of the mini-series, we see no character arc. That is the one similarity the mini-series Wendy shares with Kubrick’s vision.
Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining
Stephen King’s The Shining TV mini-series