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In a society where "celebutantes" like Paris Hilton dominate newsstands and models who weigh less than 90 pounds die from malnutrition, female body image is one of the more dire problems facing today's society. "America the Beautiful" illuminates the issue by covering every base. Child models, plastic surgery, celebrity worship, airbrushed advertising, dangerous cosmetics - no rock is left unturned. Written by
American The Beautiful a documentary that focuses on facts and figures rather than ever hitting on any specific point. Throughout the film we are shown countless examples of how beauty infiltrates our daily lives and how supposedly this factors into our perception of each other as a civilization. I get what the director is trying to do and put across but I guess I just don't really understand why a documentary needs to be made about it
While the creators of the film never come out explicitly and tell us how we should act or feel, there is a sense that as a nation we should feel bad for putting so much emphasis on things like beauty. I can agree to an extent that as a nation we should not discriminate jobs, friendships and talent based on looks but I don't like the idea that I should be forced to feel bad because I may prefer to look at something that may be more aesthetically pleasing than something that isn't. I understand that sometimes unfortunately, we do discriminate based upon looks but you can't fault the majority for the actions of the minority.
I don't think there is anything wrong with someone buying a beauty magazine to make his or herself look better or a health magazine to show us how to get in better shape so I don't really like how that's thrown in my face. For example in the very beginning of the film the camera pans across a magazine stand so we can get an idea of just how many of these types of magazines are in our daily lives. Great, all you proved is that there are a lot of beauty and health magazines. However, they don't show the boating, auto, home or finance magazines that are on the very same stands. We are forced to think we are obsessed with beauty But are we?
The documentary also takes a look at dating websites that are exclusively based on a person's appearance. Now we should feel that this is a bad thing, but again, is it? I don't think so. Speaking for myself, there is no doubt that personality is the most important aspect of making a connection with another but I would be lying to say that appearance did not factor into my judgment. I personally like to stay in shape and take care of my appearance and I would prefer my partner do the same. I believe a partner that stays in shape, shows that they care about their body, diet and appearance and shows positive traits. Now I'm not saying that every relationship should work like this, because everyone is different and has different tastes, likes and dislikes. I am also not saying that just because you are in shape you a great person, quite the contrary. I am saying that health and appearance are simply two of the traits that I personally take into consideration and I don't like feeling that this is a bad way to feel. I would never date a gorgeous person with horrible attitude but I would also never date someone who is 100lbs overweight and has a great attitude, both possess traits that I do not find appealing. Is this bad?
Again, I understand what this documentary is trying to say but I feel it is missing the mark. The creators should be focusing on specifics rather than exploiting everything that has to do with beauty. Models are model because they are beautiful, that is their job and there is nothing wrong with that. Electricians are electricians because they are good doing electrical work, that is their job and there is nothing wrong with that. Should I feel bad for someone who wants to be an electrician but lacks the necessary skills to become one? No, it is just not the job for that person.
Once again, my problem with this documentary is that it doesn't look to focus on any specific horrible practice of the modeling world or the discrimination that may occur in obtaining a job based on ones looks, if it did it would be a completely different story. Rather the documentary focuses on the entire concept of beauty in America as a whole as if it is a bad thing. We don't stop watching sports because some athletes take steroids and we don't stop allowing people to have dogs because some people engage in dog fighting. I know bad analogies but my point is that there will always be people who take things the wrong way but I do not need to feel bad or that I am doing something bad because of these peoples' misguided views.
I understand that beauty is far too often a factor in decisions that have nothing to do with beauty, but we should not blame the companies that promote, sell or advertise beauty. Rather, we should blame the everyday people whom let beauty get in the way of such decisions.
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