Meryl Streep

Versions of Yourself: Nora Ephron as Women’s Storyteller

Sleepless in Seattle

In addition to her work in film, Nora Ephron was a journalist, playwright, and novelist; unsurprisingly, her stock in trade is words. Crucially, what she does with these words is to give women room. For these women at the center of her films, there is, above all, space. Space not simply to be the best version of themselves, but all the versions of themselves: confident, neurotic, right, wrong, flawed.

Meryl Streep Has a Blast in ‘Ricki and the Flash’ and You Will Too

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is having the time of her life in ‘Ricki and the Flash’ — playing rock star, acting alongside her daughter Mamie Gummer, macking on Rick Springfield, and wearing leather pants. Her joy is infectious, and lends an overall lighthearted tone to what could be a very sad movie about estranged families.

Bitch Flicks’ Weekly Picks

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‘Out of Africa’ Shows Hollywood’s Fixation with White People in Africa

Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in 'Out of Africa'

1985 Best Picture winner ‘Out of Africa’ typifies this fixation with white people in Africa. Based on her memoir, it follows Danish Baroness Karen Blixby (Meryl Streep) as she settles in Kenya with her husband of convenience, Bror. He wants her money, she wants his title, and they both want escape, so while they discuss going anywhere in the world (“Well maybe not Australia”) they choose British East Africa for reasons the film isn’t bothered to sort out. Cut to one of the many scenic vistas that make up roughly a third of ‘Out of Africa’s two hour 40 minute runtime (because long = “epic” = Oscar).

Sexism in Disney’s ‘Into The Woods’

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It seems Disney is saying that The Baker’s Wife is a “fallen woman,” and that it is making a firm decision on how it wants the audience to interpret the affair that occurred. This is made more problematic by how the affair was shot and choreographed. In the film, Cinderella’s Prince pins The Baker’s Wife against a tree and kisses her. There is nowhere for her to escape, even if she wanted to.

‘Julia’: A Portrait of Heroic Friendship in an Age of Darkness

Julia (1977)

Although peppered with flashbacks to the women’s childhood and youth, ‘Julia’ is set during their formative academic and professional years. The film chronicles the women’s personal and political lives in the decade that saw the rise of Fascism. We witness how the fight against those dark forces transforms both friends.

The Great Actresses: The Roundup

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Check out all of the posts for The Great Actresses Theme Week here.

Conveying a Soul: The Greatness of Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

From the feminist angle, Streep’s mold-breaking of the representation of women and her mark on scripts probably adds to her greatness in a way we can never completely measure because we can’t track it. One particular example worth mentioning is that the script for ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ did not originally explain why Joanna Kramer wants to leave Ted (Dustin Hoffman) and she fought the director Robert Benton on the script until the character is allowed to say why herself.

The Devil in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

"The Devil Wears Prada" poster

Our contempt for Miranda Priestly is due, in large part, to the way the film contextualizes her decisions, not just her personality. In making her into a shrill caricature of a woman executive whose single-minded focus on her career ruins her personal life, the film, like so many others, shortchanges the potential of a character like Miranda.

‘August: Osage County’ and What It Means to Be a “Strong” Woman in America

August: Osage County. Carloads of fun!

The strength of ‘Osage’ is that it never once sentimentalizes women’s relationships with one another. It does not allow for trite Hollywood portrayals of women as somehow less violent, less complex, or less serious than men. ‘August: Osage County’ is an odd sort of respite for those of us who don’t relate to stories of quirky, privileged, white girls from Brooklyn. The women of ‘Osage’ would destroy ‘Girls’ Hannah Horvath with a word and look. For me, it’s a kind of comfort to see these steely women on screen.

Bitch Flicks’ Weekly Picks

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Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!

Older Women Week: Pretty Little Zombies — The Lure of Eternal Youth in Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Death Becomes Her’

This is the turning point of the movie. All the conflicts revolving around jealousy, beauty, and, of course, youth, are henceforth turned into a spirit of sisterhood. The dependence on Ernest transforms into a friendly co-dependent relationship between the two women. However much of a love-hate sentiment resonates throughout the final part of the movie, friendship and solidarity triumph. The special bond that Madeline and Helen share is still based on the wish for eternal youth, but they have finally turned to each other.