I’d really like to see more introspective films about the human experience where the humans experiencing things look like me.
For a very long time, women who didn’t want to have children were deemed “selfish,” because — well, I’m not quite sure why. Men, however, although maybe a disappointment to their mothers, weren’t really labeled anything. They were bachelors, at worst.
In many movies, the struggle that men have is not a result of a decision involving kids. But in most romcoms and dramas, if there is a female role of a certain age, it centers upon the subject of children.
I wanted to look at three current movies and their depiction of parents, particularly how their children influence their decision making and where the children fit into their lives.
I chose to examine three movies where the lead was nominated for Best Lead Actress in 2014 and in a fertile age range, which led to the movies ‘Blue Jasmine,’ ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Gravity.’
The 86th annual Academy Awards ceremony aired last night, and a billion viewers around the world struggled to stay awake. The show had a notably slow pace, with more time for introduction clips and acceptance speeches and less “Isn’t Hollywood Grand?” foofaraw (which, to be fair, a lot of people say they want. I happen to really like the foofaraw). Ellen DeGeneres’s hosting was more laid back than I am hosting an Oscar-watching party, and when I take a break to hand out pizza there’s still stuff to watch on screen. And ‘Gravity’ swept the technical awards, giving the overstuffed middle of the show a certain monotony.
If you fell asleep, never fear! I’ll recap for you the bullet points a feminist movie fan needs to know:
What is telling is the presence of so many films that either elide or sexualize female bodies in the category that presumably represents the best of the best. The Academy clearly has a critical preference for movies about men, with women present primarily as wives and sex objects.
Usually movies with such mainstream blockbuster potential are not portrayed at Telluride Film Festival. Telluride opts for more artistic limited release movies. But I suspect Cuaron’s credibility, including casting a woman in the lead over Clooney, made it a Telluride film.
I was excited to see Gravity for a long time. A female-centric sci-fi film? Yes, please! I adore Sandra Bullock. Even when she stars in shitty movies, I don’t care. I unapologetically love her. While people envision her as a comedian (and yes, she’s incredibly funny), I’ve always thought she had the potential to shine in more serious roles (sidebar, 28 Days is one of my favorite films).
But the best part of Gravity? It offers us a different kind of female hero.
Gravity survives on the merit of its spectacle. It’s beautiful, terrifying, and gripping. The characters, while feeling real, are underdeveloped. The story itself is one big metaphor for Stone’s journey into isolation and despair after suffering personal tragedy. It is an epic allegory about the journey toward life, toward connection with the earth. I couldn’t tell you what kind of card player Stone is, though, or what made her want to become a doctor. Her life is a blank because she’s not an individual; she’s an archetype.
From a Saudi Arabian female filmmaker to loving your body to privilege–check out what we’ve been reading about this week! What have you been reading/writing this week? Tell us in the comments!