In a film with such great and memorable scenes, one scene portrayed as a flashback stands out amongst the rest. V for Vendetta is a fictional movie based on a graphic novel by Alan Moore but its focus on what happens when a totalitarian dictatorship rises to power in the fact of domestic and international calamities is relevant to what’s happened throughout history.
To give some background on the scene, Evey Hammond, the secondary protagonist to the masked anarchist and freedom fighter, V, is captured due to her alleged support of V’s activities to overthrow the dictatorial government that has seized power over the United Kingdom. Her hair is shaved, she is forced into a tiny cell, and practically starved for food or water. She is held there until she is sentenced to death by firing squad unless she gives up V’s identity and his whereabouts.
Rather than do so, she stifles their inquisition into who the masked man with the Guy Fawkes mask is leading her to a certain death. As Evey is about to lose hope and give in to her demands, she finds a letter stuck in a small crevice within the jail cell’s walls, written by a young woman named Valerie, not much older than Evey when she was forced into captivity by the government.
Valerie’s written on toilet paper what appears to be her last will and testament before a likely execution, waiting others to know about the injustices that the Creedy-led government has committed against her and why she is sharing her story of what happened to her. Valerie begins the letter describing her normal childhood in Nottingham in England and how she didn’t mind the rain because her grandmother told her that “God was in the rain.”
Valerie discusses how in grammar school as a teenager she fell in love for the first time with Sarah, a classmate, and that she was homosexual. Sadly, Valerie was forced to endure her teacher’s bigotry and disapproval of her sexuality and Sarah breaking up with her as a result. Even more painful for Valerie was introducing her 2nd girlfriend, Christina, and coming out as a lesbian to her father and Mother.
Valerie had to strength to show her integrity and not lie to her parents about who she is as a person, but they did not accept her for who she was and rejected her and even threw her baby picture away. “I only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little but is all we really have.” Valerie’s quote in this scene is what makes it so searing as a quote in that being truthful and showing integrity should be accepted and understood because it is not easy for those seen as ‘different’ to come out as being ‘different’ even though it is what makes us who we are. Valerie’s parents wanted her to be someone who she is not, and sadly refuse to accept her as she is. She kept true to herself and did not sell her integrity as a person, which is more than her parents can say, who abandon their daughter because they don’t accept who she is forgoing their love over something so short-sighted and ignorant of them.
Valerie did not let her teacher and her parents keep her from being who she is and in 2015, became an actress on a film, and ended up marrying her co-star on it. Her partner, Ruth, and Valerie, move to London together, start a rose garden, and begin their lives as a couple, and end up in the throes of the rise of a dictatorship throughout the United Kingdom as Adam Sutler comes to power due to war breaking out around the world. They fear for what their country is becoming as “different becomes dangerous” and Valerie does not understand “why they hate us so much.”
The dictatorial regime that takes power in the UK begins to take away people who are ‘different’ for ‘rendition’ and ‘detention’ without cause or just because they are ‘different’ from others. The Sutler regime uses the false platitude that because of growing insecurity internationally that he must withhold civil and human rights domestically. He consolidates his power and ends up arresting and detaining minorities, refugees, and homosexuals including Valerie’s partner, Ruth. Valerie is all alone and cries for how she will never see her beloved partner again because of this injustice.
“It wasn’t long before they came for me.” Another resonating quote from this powerful movie scene related to the quote of how they come for different groups of people until there is no one else left but me. The ending of this scene has its real-world historic parallels to other genocidal and abusive periods of time where crimes and injustices were committed against ethnic, religious groups and races, just because they were ‘different’, including genocide. Valerie is alone in her apartment when Sutler’s regime’s thugs come for her too. Like Evey, her head is shaved, she is held without doing anything wrong and against her will. Valerie ends up in a small jail cell like Evey and they both are alike too in that they stand for principles that make us humane to each other like equality, justice, and liberty. “For three years, I had roses and answered to no one.
During captivity, Valerie does not lose that last ‘inch of hope’ that she clings to from her free years of living her life as she wanted with whom she loved. “Every inch of me shall perish, but one. An inch.” Valerie implores that even though she only has a glimmer, or an inch of hope left, she will not let them take it from her despite how long she is locked up for. Valerie implores Evey to never give up, stay true to who you are, and cling to the hope that there is still good in the world worth fighting for.
Valerie, sadly, does not survive her detainment as it is inferred that she is experimented on by the regime and killed, but the letter survives, likely because of V himself. V knows Valerie as V knows Evey and his role in using roses for his victims comes from his own knowledge of the inspiration that Valerie was for him.
Valerie gave V hope to stand against Sutler’s regime and now that Evey has read Valerie’s story afterwards in the same prison cell, she will gain the same last “inch of hope” to keep fighting for herself and the world around her especially if she were ever to get free and leave Sutler’s prison. Valerie ends the letter to the person(s) who find her letter that it is important to have hope that things will change, and the world will get better. However, Valerie ends her last written words by saying that what is most important thing to her is to let that person reading know that she accepts them, and she loves them, whomever they may be. “Even though I do not know you, even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you…I love you, with all my heart. I love you.” -Valerie.
While many people around her sold their integrity by not accepting who she was as a person, disowning her, imprisoning her unjustly, forcing her to die in their detainment, Valerie never sold her integrity and she never stopped being herself, which is an inspiration to us all watching this excellent scene and film.