Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quarterly Review

Well, my project is nearing the 25% completion mark. Therefore, I’ve decided to write a broader quarterly review regarding the overall depiction of the women I’ve witnessed in modern cinema. I’ve missed a few movies due to time constraints and what not, but I will definitely (and unfortunately) catch up on those flicks (The Hottie and the Nottie, Untraceable, Mad Money, etc.) when they hit DVD. I promise.

In short, I’ll state the obvious: I think modern cinematic women would be A-OK if they didn’t have to deal with the traditional feminine conflicts of such “blessed” events as marriage, love, or children. Most of the gals’ possess advanced educational degrees, have high-level careers, and, judging by their clothes, seem to support themselves fairly well. Then again, Joan Crawford wore “shop girl” costumes designed by the fabulous Adrian in her woman‘s pictures. The only difference being Joan Crawford’s films empower women and today’s…just don’t. The clothes don’t always fit the lady, which is why the modern women’s film doesn’t fit the woman.

But who could fit into the tight, air locked corner filmmakers push their women into, anyway? More often than not, one of those darn feminine conflicts comes along and torpedoes the female character straight into a situation in which she has to make some sort of a life decision, but the creators don’t give her any resources to help her out with the decision-making process. She has no friends, or if she does, then they’re catty bitches who would rather criticize than empathize. Nor do the women rarely, if ever, have a significant other to back them up since most of the films I’ve watched have been about attaining a relationship instead of keeping one.

What’s worse is that creators don’t give enough personality to their characters to make them even question why they’re being forced to make a decision in the first place. Women are pushed into the corner without any accessible internal resources to pluck out when they need them. One of my favorite aspects of the Joan Crawford persona is her anger - she gets mad! She gets furious! And she does something about it. Few moments in cinema make me smile more than the first act of The Damned Don’t Cry (1950) when Joan Crawford ups and leaves her abusive husband and unsupportive mother and father after her son dies because she has nothing to keep her there anymore.

Her dad says: “Let her go, she’ll be back. She’ll find out what it’s like.”

Joan Crawford replies: “Whatever it’s like, it’ll be better than this. I want something more out of life. And I’m gonna get it.”

None of the actresses or the characters they’ve played in today’s world have that kind of fiery pepper coursing inside their veins. They’re just not written well-enough. Even female screenwriters don’t know how to write women. The worst film I’ve watched so far, 27 Dresses, was even directed by a woman and sure, Katherine Heigl’s character gets mad for five minutes, but she’s ridiculed beyond belief for it and is down for the submissive count in no time at all. It’s almost as if filmmakers are putting women on the battlefield and not giving them any weapons or protection to help them fight their own battles. Of course they’re going to perish within minutes. I just wish I could be the one to bayonet them before they hit the big screen.

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