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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Y'know, I loved most of the Harry Potter book-to-movie adaptations.
It's such an amazing world to get to spend time in, I felt privileged
that the movies offered me an excuse to retread previous territory in
the books. I enjoyed seeing certain details as if for the first time
while watching all of my favorite scenes-the most poignant ones--still
present in the movies.
That is, until this drivel.
This movie is shot like an action movie, perhaps 'Heat' or the like; it plays as though the only major conflicts are between Ron 'n Hermione, and between Harry and Malfoy. It plays Harry 'n Malfoy off one another in classic 'hero/antihero' way..the only problem being that anyone who's read the books knows full well that a) Malfoy is no antihero, just a scared little boy forced into something beyond his ken by family loyalties, 'n b) that Malfoy does not in the end directly contribute to anyone's death, least of all Dumbledore's--not intentionally, certainly, 'n c) that in the end Harry saves Malfoy, thus redeeming him sort of. Malfoy has become the antihero by the end of the movie to the degree that any memory of Voldemort's role or presence in Harry's life has been virtually wiped out; the flashbacks regarding Voldemort's childhood seem to be completely irrelevant. Meanwhile Harry dedicates the year practically to finding out whether Malfoy's a bad man and what he's been up to, only to discover this was all wasted energy as Dumbledore engineered the whole thing himself, several books later. This is all a set-up for the 'Harry's not infallible nor is Dumbledore Dumbledore messed up this is how Malfoy's not such a bad guy nor is Snape goodness/evil are more complex than we first thought' message of the later books. This is necessary in a child's book, btw, to prevent the kid getting the wrong i.e. overly religious/black-'n-white world message, from the books in question. In this book, it just comes off like an overly simplified action movie sequence between two not too complicated men, 'n guess what? HP is a FANTASY. It's not a goddam action movie!
Apparently the writer is the same for all the movies, so I'm gonna go ahead 'n blame the director for cutting important scenes for time 'n altogether making a hack job out of it. Although they could have used a female writer consulting on how women ACTUALLY behave, like, ever IMO. The women in these films all seemed rather--masculine, or else were Ginny Weasley 'n disapparated after a few minutes of dialogue when she even appeared at all.
I mean, c'mon, like we don't have enough of those in the world already, now we have to make children's movies suit that structure?
It's almost like--meaning it's EXACTLY like IMO!--the writer 'n director sat down 'n said, hey, let's cut anything from this movie that a religious white adult male wouldn't appreciate, then DID SO.
I hate that they got their hands on my movie.
Meanwhile quidditch barely featured in a book that had many fantastic quidditch sequences; Ron 'n Lavender stole Harry's first kiss with Ginny, which became a g-rated nonsense bit of tomfoolery in the longest- feeling scene since the beginning of time rather than the triumphant bit of post-win snogging it was designed to be in the book. Difference? The latter was an EFFECTIVE scene; the former just made everyone in the theater start tapping their feet hoping it would be over soon.
The writer clearly did not understand the spirit of the story, nor did the director bother to demand a rewrite that would have included, say, any character development whatsoever?
The thing I liked about these books is that they so well played to both the masculine desire for action 'n sports 'n snogging etc., as well as the feminine desire for conversation 'n humor 'n emotional conflict.
The books managed to meet both of these needs, thus providing the best of both worlds--all packaged together in a fantasy land so rich with detail 'n life as to make one want to visit it again 'n again.
This movie managed none of this.
This was also the only movie I had a severe problem with, lest you believe I am simply a self-declared aficionado unwilling to accept minute changes to some of my favorite childhood stories.
From a situation with a movie adapted from a book thus attempting to communicate the spirit of the book, presumably, to audiences--from a situation with a writer presented with a well-loved story who needn't have bothered adapting much at all to make the story in question big- screen presentable--from the basic fact that this movie alone did not even manage to project a world I wished to spend time in, let alone to visit again 'n again--from the basic reality that this movie creeped me out regarding human character as well as a generally oily, icky tone to it--this fan is willing to never see any film written or directed by those involved in the writing/directing processes for this film again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The women totally kicked ass in this movie. Anne Hathaway beat all my
expectations to a bloody pulp; she is officially a rock star musically.
Samantha Barks was a revelation; I can't wait to see what she does next.
Whatever project is wise enough to cast her, I will be sure to see.
Amanda Seyfreid was infinitely better than I expected her to be; her inexperience vocally totally worked for her here, adding to her character's believability as an innocent, cloistered teenager.
I wanted more development for Eponine's character, because just as in the musical, I found her to be the most relatable of all of the characters-certainly of all the female characters. The lack of extreme anguish in her character, the primarily silence of her suffering in a loud musical made it all the more poignant.
I was tremendously disappointed the director cut the latter half of 'Turning', as well as his choice to include the incestuous-seeming, terribly-worded 'Suddenly.' The only real note I have on this film is that the director seemed too inexperienced, certainly too unaware of the layers behind the female perspectives this script presents, to do his job at a beyond merely 'satisfactory' level.
Thanks to him, what should have felt like a revelation instead at times felt jolting and unnecessarily grim. This is a story about hope, not despair, and he seemed to linger in the bleakness with a troubling glee.
The choice to cast Russell Crowe rather than an older, stiff-upper-lip, snarling and sneering at the "less moral" from his perspective individual was..not wise. That's been said already. Russell Crowe seems like a genuinely good guy, real down-to-Earth; his character is among the most difficult in the movie, and the actor clearly got little help either from the script which should have been edited to portray the layers of contempt behind Javer's interactions with Val Jean when Val Jean was still Mayor, for example, to make it more clear that Javer suspected Val Jean all along but could not speak up about it, due to Javer's station being so much lower than Val Jean's as mayor was.
This, again, the director should have caught, as well as the simple fact that you cannot cast a novitiate, as The Phantom of the Opera's casting Gerard Butler in the titular role to flop reviews clearly evidenced to play a role that has been consistently offered only to the greats-with good reason. Russell Crowe was clearly trying, but receiving no help with his performance--it's not his fault he was miscast.
That choice I blame sorely on the director.
The choice to demand the actors speak lines which were originally intended to be sung was also a grave mistake, in my opinion. These lines rhymed--they made no sense as spoken lines. It seemed the director was just trying to include more dialogue in the movie for those who don't like musicals, but-it is a freakin' musical! They sing! Get over it.
I mean that for the director as well.
The choice to include 'Suddenly' was unfortunate. The director I suppose was trying to make his mark on the story, but the song came out all wrong for the script--too long, indicative of a romantic relationship between Cosette and Val Jean-ew!..awkwardly worded even for the romantic song it darn well seemed to be. A song filled with language like that belongs on a Britney Spears record, not in a musical.
Did I mention that Hugh Jackman did his job here perfectly? Cuz he did.
I can't imagine any other male acting in Hollywood today who could have performed this role better. Hats off.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There are reasons why I have stopped watching musicals of all kinds.
Perhaps it was the collective sexism that was the final straw for me.
Maybe I gave up once I realized that almost inevitably some white guy was called upon to stand up to a poorer, invariably less socially privileged person of color with a Point. Maybe it was the portrayal of crazy people doing things no human member of this society would EVER in a million years be allowed to do, like screaming at kids you have stuck into a dumpster during "rehearsal" for a play you are "directing".
The screenwriters cannot write women as non-victimized humans, either.
Maybe it's the pure sexism of only ever portraying women as useless innocents constantly in danger from hulking men these women do not know how to defend themselves against and for whatever reason do not try.
The sub-par voices coming from pretty-faced lousy singers doesn't help.
This is the worst of the worst so far as that style of story goes.
Inserting a transgender woman into the movie does not improve matters.
Not even that obviously heartstrings-tugging move works in a show like this one. Sorry, folks, better luck next time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am actually really not eager to review this show, mostly because I do
genuinely like Jill Hennessy. She is one of those pretty, unassuming
women who looks as though she could have done pretty much anything she
wanted to do--model, run for governor, 'stick it to the man' by turning
every radical liberal leader within fifty miles to violence--but
instead she has chosen to act. Acting is a difficult, artistic
pasttime, of the sort you rarely see pretty girls engage in seriously
without involving a host of men designed to teach them how to, well,
act as they are attempting it. She was one of the first of a slew of
women in some line of police work to star in her own show, and there is
a lot to be said for that. She also manages to be engaging and
impossible to look away from as an actress. Unfortunately, this
character spawned a slew of knock-offs which all carried the original's
inherent flaws. First off, this character's first actual, well,
characteristic that we are introduced to as viewers is the fact that
she is angry. We soon find out the reason for this is that her mother
was murdered when she was just a child, leaving her father alone to
raise her. Now, in real life angry people usually make a slew of
mistakes, because they are too busy fighting back against anyone and
everyone they consider to represent their enemy for even a moment or
two to focus real hard on any other pursuit. They are typically willing
to fight anybody, if that is their anger has gone on long enough.
Jordan's, of course, being decades old, has. However, this is
television, and so of course Jordan manages to be an insightful and
driven M.E. in addition to being an Ineffectively Angry Person. She
does not, however, manage to be a particularly interesting one. Anyone
who has spent more than two seconds around somebody suffering from poor
anger management knows that there is little "fun" or "sexy" about it
all--you are simply trying to get away from the person as fast as
humanly possible, to preserve your own skin. Yet in this gem of a
series, an entire office of people are falling all over themselves to
help Jordan in her first case back at an office she left years ago?
Right. Women do not tend to all gather around a near-stranger this way
unless they know this person is equally capable of having their
and the confused look in Jordan's eyes whenever directly
confronted about her behavior or anything else that's real and current
news would seem to imply her inability to do so. So that's odd. Also,
Jordan returns to town and immediately moves back in with her father.
Now, I think most of us can agree that a thirty-sum-odd woman might be
just slightly uneasy about becoming a dependent to her daddy again,
can't we? Jordan however accepts the idea with seeming ease, even going
so far as to break into her father's house without telling him she is
in town and attempt to sneak up on him. This would be cute behavior
with someone her own age, but with her Dad or with any other male
relative, it sends up some serious red flags. First, the two of them
have poor boundaries: from Jordan's "cute" story of staying up late at
night as a child watching him work while trying to remain hidden to him
to their game of putting themselves in the victim's and murderer's
shoes and verbally playing out the scene of the crime, both Jordan and
her father seem to be people unwilling to admit when enough is enough.
She seems desperate even now to hold his attention no matter what; she
is clearly put off by a woman who her father is dating, although her
mother has at this point been dead for decades. Many young girls left
behind by dead mothers and left to their fathers to raise become the
victims of some form of incest, emotional if not physical; this
situation has all the signs of an incestuous relationship between
father and daughter, but of course it is television and so our "badass"
heroine cannot possibly be the victim of incest!. She is I suppose too
pretty. It is not the actress' fault that that the character does not
have what it takes to hold my attention for long. She is simply not
written it seems to have much of a personality, other than being a
Woman who Suffers. These women were probably rare once upon a time, but
they are not so rare now. More, most of them manage to have some sort
of inner strength or fire which remains strong throughout the series
and carries them relatively unscathed through everything they have
suffered. Most of them are champions of survival, women capable of
living through it all and of inspiring that same trait in others. At
least, the women on television shows that I choose to spend my time
with are. Perhaps the reason is because these women are the victims of
specific and individualized male violence of some form or another--the
way that most women suffering in the world today are. Crossing Jordan
is a relatively inoffensive, none-too-gory crime-solving show with a
weekly mystery at its core. Its lasting power lies in the fact that it
can hold the attention of the entire family, or of a couple or a couple
of couples, for an hour once a week without once bringing up a single
point for them to argue about. This may be a rare quality in television
shows--but ought it really be confused with what qualities equate
excellence in them? A solid effort, with a good ensemble cast; to bad
the entire effect is so, well, boring.
Better once the detective is on more.
Also--the show is like CSI--but with powerful women. Nice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
was in love with this show when it first came out; all of us were. We
were so desperate for a lesbian-centered television show back then. Any
television show that even began to touch on the issues pertinent to our
lives seemed well worth the investment of our time and affections.
I know better now.
I can see the way that Shane's abused, traumatized self masks her pain via her many addictions, and I can recognize that this show glamorizes the drug and alcohol co-dependencies which prevent her from being happy.
I can see Jenny's self-centeredness, and I can recognize the spoiled-little-rich-girl background of a woman able to live on the money she makes waitressing! yet still have the time and money to attend a rather prestigious writing class...who cheats on her longtime fiancée with a woman she knows next-to-nothing about...who attempts to kill herself because she was molested once fifteen years prior, and was recently broken up with.
I can see that Carmen's desperate desire to win Shane's love via her stick-to-itiveness is kinda pathetic, and that her willingness to be involved with even a fractured, barely-functional Shane rather than demand Shane heal into someone worthy of Carmen's time leads directly to the events of the season three finale.
I can see that Alice is pathetically obsessed with tracing connections between other people because she feels so disconnected herself.
I can recognize her involvement with her best friend, Dana, is an attempt to become more connected to the world at large and particularly to her other "best friends" so as not to be left in the dark by herself.
I can see that she perhaps should be, as her "bisexuality" is actually the result of the fact that she is at heart still a toddler, stumbling around after anybody who might take the place of Mommy or Daddy while they are gone, willing to do whatever she has to do to feel loved.
I can see that Dana is determined NOT to be loved and so she deliberately sabotages every romantic relationship she ever enters into.
I can see that Tina is stupid to the point of utter incompetency at life, that she goes back to Bette again and again because she feels she does not deserve better, and because it seems easier than finding someone else to be that "better." I can see that she is depressed to Bette's bipolar, and thus they make the perfect mutually unhealthy team.
I can see Bette's utter incapacity to love anyone nearly as much as she loves herself, let alone respect them...and that Tina is far better off without her. I can see her as the self-centered, coddled child-woman that she is, that she is the kind of woman whose friends make sure never to directly confront about anything for fear of being screamed at. I can see that she does not temper her rage for anybody.
I can see how misplaced that rage is--indeed, it is as misplaced as her sister Kit's struggles to be accepted, approved of and desired are.
I can see how everybody on this show looks for love in all the wrong places, and that what they find thus is not love but simply indulgence.
I can see that this indulgence benefits no one, and never would.
I can see that they obsess over romantic relationships because the rest of their lives are so entirely empty of passion and of satisfying intellectual pursuits and athletics.
They do not really care about anything save themselves and one another.
In spite of the attempts this show makes at throwing gender and particularly feminine stereotypes into harsh relief, as much as the show makes claims to be doing this in order to criticize them, it fails.
These women are entirely feminine creatures, whose lives focus around gossip, relationships or lack thereof, and making and earning money.
They do not understand themselves at all, nor do they seem in a hurry to do so. They act insanely carefree in order to cover up what they are truly feeling...and thus, they depart from the women whom I know who are lesbians, and from the reason I admire them so much.
The women I know who are lesbians express themselves without fear. We know what our feelings are and we speak up on their behalf.
We do not cover up our feelings in the name of having a "good time."
That's something straight girls do.
Meanwhile, there's the whole 'sex' issue. Mark's character in season two actually brings this up in a really interesting way in season two.
However, the creators and writers of the show never appear to actually listen to themselves. Mark is filming these women having sex without telling them what he is doing. Meanwhile, the actresses are featured on this show in all kinda undress for no apparent reason other than the audience's titillation. I mean, yes, many "straight" shows include straight sex scenes...can't think of any right now that are nearly as explicit as the scenes on this show are, but I'm sure I will in a second. Nope, still nothing. There is no really great reason I can think of to be revealing the naked bodies of your actresses on a regular basis, or be showing intimate and fully-naked full-on sex scenes on this show. Just, none at all. Besides, how do these horny boys differ from horny Mark on the show?
Jenny finally ranted at him, which he deserved--but she cannot unfortunately do the same for every horny and misguided boy viewer.
Thus they walk away believing their "interest" in lesbians is okay.
As you might imagine, I severely disagree.
Actresses, y'all are my heroines.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This could definitely have been a better movie.
It could have been a worse one too, but. Well.
I am not trying to denounce what this movie attempted to do.
I think it is brave to attempt to trace a frakked-up teenager's journey from a loud-mouthed, grieving kid whose sadness has turned to anger, into an excellent, brave and capable human being.
I just happen to think that process is a lot more complicated than suddenly becoming great at something I happened to be great at anyway.
I also think it's a lot easier to offer the sort of absolution, forgiveness and redemption this Teacher is offering to his Pupil when the pupil happens to excel at one of the things he is being taught.
I think it's high time we as a society stop deeming sports skillz the kind of talent that makes somebody 'great' as a person, rather than simply as an athlete.
Growing up as a man has got to come to mean more than succeeding at football or baseball--or, in this case, swimming. It has got to come to mean more than successfully throwing a ball or running faster than anybody else around. This movie only offers half the story.
Yes, Ashton Kutchers' character does try to reach beyond the typical athlete persona by attempting to become a member of the Coast Guard.
However, once there, he does nothing but screw up.
Because he is "great" at swimming, however, he never once has to face the consequences. He simply sails along getting into barfights, snarling at his supposed teammates and mouthing off to his superiors.
All in all, he clearly has some ambivalence about being a "hero."
None of that matters because he is a great swimmer ergo he seems presumed by all to have every right to get into a 'few minor scraps' along the road to the sure success his superiors all predict for him.
This cute, small-town white boy is thus taken under the wings of several older, good-ole-boy types and made into a man--or their version.
Somehow, he is also surrounded by a team of other boys--and teachers--who look exactly like him. Oh, there is one black student and one black teacher just for the sake of paying lip service to diversity...but they have about six lines combined. The ONLY female rescue swimmer has got literally just about one line during the movie.
The screenwriters pay no attention to the difficulties that any of these people would surely face in any military institution, nor to the complexity of the issues surrounding their entrance into it.
Of course not.
This is an easy movie, designed to provide easy answers to complex questions. It is designed to trace the 'hero's journey' of one white boy who really does not so much deserve the opportunities he is given.
It is designed to give a second chance to a man who would not need it if he had not given in to his depression and hidden out for a year to begin with, then decided the solution to his internal agony was to "save" other people. This has never in the his- and her- stories of the world provided an effective solution to intense grief.
Too bad we still have so many movies that suggest otherwise.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I get it now.
Really, I do.
What a relief.
See, I never understood before why so many people in such oppressed, marginalized, persecuted and low-quality ways of living would insist upon standing up for the capitalist system that oppresses them.
I do now.
Batman represents that heroic figure, that capitalist who secretly has the needs of the "little people" on his mind.
He represents that mythical figure who actually, against all hertorical precedence, chooses to use his wealth for good.
However, in real life this figure never seems to quite exist. Real-life billionaires give millions to charity; their actions are well-publicized in papers thus shamed out of publishing their various other, less-moral exploits. Few if any sources ever criticize the fact that so long as they HAVE millions to casually give away in the first place, there will never be equality in this world and thus never any real justice. So long as justice is arbited by the few elite against the many, it will never be ought but a ploy to perpetuate the few's oppression. The rich are never convicted, the poor are thrown in jail...and the lawyers who put 'em there come from middle-class families that Really Believe in the "democractic" system of justice.
It's all sickening.
Bruce Wayne's 'superpower' is essentially being wealthy. Nothing he does could not be done by a man with the time, money and resources i.e. connections that he has. There is nothing special about him personally.
Like most so-called "superheroes", Batman enters the trade by accident.
What he really wants is revenge, as well as perhaps the chance to break out of "Daddy's shadow" and become more than a wealthy playboy.
That's all admirable in its own right, but it must be noted that he did not become a hero to save people's lives. He did not become a hero to better the quality of life of the average citizen...because he doesn't care about the quality of life of the average citizen.
What he cares about based on all available evidence is his own ability to buy fancy cars and have sex with fancy women and do so uninterrupted.
Here's a man who would be happily lost to his own playboy tendencies had his own personal life not been touched by violence, make no mistake.
Meanwhile the public valorizes him because he represents the hope they need. They place their faith in him and in so doing take the easier route to freedom from whatever forces or individuals happen to be oppressing a person--trusting someone else to take care of it for you.
Unfortunately Bruce Wayne does no such thing.
Look at the people he tends to take down--drug dealers, The anarchist Joker, thief and sometimes-whore Catwoman. These are not people who came from powerful families, like Bruce did; these are people who came from poverty and only were able to survive via petty crime. Petty crime can spiral into large-scale crime if a person is not careful to take the correct roads in life, and that is what seems to have happened here.
These are not "bad people", not as such--besides the Joker, most only kill those who cross them. That's not so different from Batman, is it?
Who is Batman to decide who lives and who dies? Are we to believe that anybody who breaks the law has earned the punishment any civilian wishes to dole them, so long as it is administered while they are suspected of committing or in the process of committing a crime? Great.
What a great world to live in, huh?
This is not Superman, defending the world against a much-wealthier, playboy enemy who has never worked a day in his life. Batman neither holds down a normal job nor maintains friendships with anyone save his butler. He does not 'date' so much as 'have conquests.' He is a jerk.
Much as I like to believe everyone is redeemable...about men like Bruce Wayne, I'm on the fence.
One thing I do know...I wouldn't want this guy defending my city.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Way to make wolves seem terrifying and potentially murderous, y'all.
This movie is interesting, in its own way--if by interesting you mean 'tremendously bloody and unnecessarily perverted.'
The main character, Vivian, is a sulky, broody, somewhat rebellious twenty-something whose guilt over her parents' death hangs like a cloud.
She falls for Aiden, a decent, good-ole-boy running from an assault charge in the states and perhaps his own dorkiness--he writes comics.
Anybody who calls themselves a "graphic artist" in defense against accusations of being a comic-book writer is well aware he is a dork.
Meanwhile Gabriel, Vivian's other potential love interest, is a jerk.
He's not just a jerk in the teenager, he-never-called-me-back style.
Rather, he is a cold-blooded killer who has instituted a habit of killing a human being at random judged unworthy of life by himself.
This is his idea of pack bonding.
In this version of the story 'Blood and Chocolate', Gabriel is also Vivian's uncle, which just adds a terrifyingly 'ick' factor to it all.
As if mercilessly hunting down humans in the forest wasn't 'ick' enuf.
This story is kind of entertainingly interesting in its own way. The 'girl/boy breaks away from old community by breaking its rules, falls in love with the wrong guy/girl, and thus learns to forge their own way in life' is an oldie but a goodie. The werewolf thing's a twist.
The problem is that this movie has nothing to do with the original novel except the names. In that far BETTER story, Viviane's mother had escaped the fire with her, and no member of the pack blamed her for her father's death. She lived in the U.S., not Romania. She went to school with Aiden, and she met him there. The entire pack had lived with child!Vivian and her parents before the fire, and they lived together still.
They were not the only werewolf pack in the world, which made more sense as Werewolf legends seem to exist everywhere these days.
Vivian was seventeen, and her mother was pushing her to commit to Gabriel because he was the new leader of the pack; there was no talk of some "mysterious" prophecy, which is an always groan-worthy insertion.
The book is more a story of coming to terms with one's relationship with one's community, and accepting every sacrifice that must be made to maintain the natural order within that relationship...
The film is more a story of accepting oneself at the cost of one's family.
Gabriel in the novel is a cigar-smoking, motorcycle-riding, consonant-dropping hunk, five years older than Vivian at most but totally hot.
Vivian is meant to feel somewhat afraid of his sexual prowess and his total ease with himself and his rebellious, leather-clad attitude.
She is also meant to feel drawn to Aiden's more laid-back self.
She also chooses to reveal what she is to him, and he freaks out.
The important difference between book and movie--the most important one, anyway--is that in the book, killing humans is against pack code.
While the book is a live-and-let-live treatise, the movie is a for-god-sakes-fear-the-outsider, chances-are-s/he-does-want-you-dead masterpiece. It is a masterpiece of FEAR-MONGERING, but oh well.
Can't have everything I guess, but was a smart script too much to want?
In fact, Rafe and Astrid, who is not his mother but rather his consort, wind up dead at Gabriel's hands because they murder a girl.
They also set Vivian up for the murder...anyway, the plot is tight.
The plot is also twisty, at times difficult to follow and a mystery on top of everything else. The book is in fact incredibly intelligent.
I wish the same could be said for the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is the kind of totally misogynistic movie that does such an
excellent job of masquerading as a movie about female empowerment that
it fools all but the most discerning types.
There would be nothing wrong with that, except that it lulls us all into a false state of comfort. Police will always be kind, gentle folk, escaped convicts will always be 'really good' at heart, and a woman can be rescued from the worst types of spiritual and emotional pain by the 'power of the penis'. If only, right?
Wrong. The world is not like that. In this world we all live in, police rape young homeless woman wandering around on their own as often as they help them out. Women who have been convicted of felonies rarely get second chances, regardless of how generous or good-hearted they happen to be. People are shaped by their circumstances and rarely manage to "rise above" them, instead dragging everyone else down with them often as not. There are no second chances.
Nor should there be. Women who murder ought not to be let off the hook from the ramifications of their actions for "good behavior." Policemen ought not do the job of the non-government organizations and social programs which do not exist in the South for all intents and purposes.
We ought not be able to work or charm our way out of being who we are.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to start again, but part of that process MUST involve some acknowledgment of why things went so badly wrong in the first place. Teaching young girls that all they have to do to improve their lives is to trust the people around them unconditionally to help them out of any scrape they get into is morally bankrupt. Movies like this one do a terrible job of preparing young girls for the world they will actually be entering upon adulthood.
It does a terrible job of describing the world they exist in now.
We need to learn how to be less sweet and giving, rather than more so.
Women are taught to be caring at the cost of everything we love about our lives and ourselves. Because we are so open-hearted, we are easily taken advantage of in our naivete. We need movie heroines who encourage us to be MORE wary, more suspicious of who we place our trust in, rather than less. We need heroines willing to stand on their own two feet and to work to accomplish their own dreams, rather than to fight for the dreams of those around them without a thought for themselves.
In real life, this kind of goodness is boring...it is scrappiness, it is the willingness to stand one's ground and to fight for one's right to exist at all costs, that makes a life entertaining to watch and live.
Instead, what this movie does is make us resent the people around us for achieving less than the perfection that the main characters of this movie achieve. We also hate ourselves for being less than wholly sweet.
No man will ever solve all a woman's problems for her. No woman can work her way into redemption by serving the people around her rather than serving herself. There is no opportunity for healing without pride.
No one can work themselves out of a pit of despair without honesty.
May I live to see the day when movies all represent heroines of reality, rather than of male fantasies of what a 'real woman' should be.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I gotta say, when I first read the reviews of this movie never having
seen it before, I thought that the reviewers were being typically
chauvinistic patriarchal drones and giving it such low scores because
it was a movie about women, and they did not appreciate movies about
women. I thought they simply could not understand the beauty of such a
multi-generational film. I thought they were just being jerks.
I have since learned that they were right.
This movie IS awful. It did not have to be awful--in fact, it ought to have been good. Many of the actresses in this film are excellent and are stars in their own right; the supporting cast of men looked solid.
The acting was good. That was the only redeemable bit of the movie.
The fact that Sandra Bullock can be watchable even in the dregs like this movie speaks more to her talent than the movie's success.
If there is one theme however that films "about women" insist upon time and time again, however, it is that looks can be deceiving.
The direction of this film was terrible. The editing was worse.
The core story of this film--abusive mother becomes alcoholic in her old age after having raised a bipolar, far-too-straitlaced daughter.
They yell, they scream, they have conflicts and they resolve them.
Now, this movie could have been made in a new and exciting way.
It could have been great. It could have really called our mothers to task for using alcohol as a coping mechanism for all and sundry, and it could have called ourselves to task for using work and lack of a social life as a way to avoid the past. It could have opened our eyes to the ways we fall into whatever relationship opportunities present themselves rather than make truly genuine and thus difficult decisions.
It could have; it did not.
The movie spent half its time in flashbacks, which has never particularly been a favorite story-telling mechanism of mine. It spent its entire middle engaged in fairly useless fighting between the main character's mother and fiancée and father, which wasted time. The flashbacks' significance or impact on Siddalee were rarely explained, leaving us to guess as to Why We Should Care. For those of us who did not grow up in the South, the sudden entrance into a way of life we had no familiarity with whatsoever was jolting, to say the least. There was little-to-no context given to any of the revelations meant to explain it all. There was too much the rest of the time.
Meanwhile, no one stopped drinking, Siddalee never got the opportunity to actually confront her mother regarding her mother's abuses, and Siddalee's father never left the woman who tortured him for so long.
Meaning, no one ever got the opportunity to be human--instead they became caricatures in a story 'bout how Forgiveness Heals All.
This is a story about crazy white people doing crazy white people things and never acknowledging or even seeming to realize that the things they were doing were completely 100% insane and pointless.
Nice job, y'all, and I DO mean that sarcastically. Nice job.
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