It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write about movies. I’ve really missed it. It feels home-y. Is that even a word? Maybe? Ah, who cares, you’re picking up what I’m putting down!
I’d like to kick this all off by discussing two movies I’ve seen this year and a wonderful commonality between them: female directors. This year has been a big one for showcasing the work of female directors. The first of 2017 being Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins. The release of this movie showed that females can take on big blockbusters, and DOMINATE the box office while they’re at it. The continued success of Wonder Woman has truly broken a glass ceiling in Hollywood and has helped to open many doors of inclusion for others to take on similar projects. The next film I saw this year that included a female director was The Beguiled.
This was a film I had anticipated for months. It was highly praised at Cannes Film Festival and widely talked about by many reviewers across the internet as an incredible thriller. Not to mention, a brand new movie from Sofia Coppola, and that’s exciting within itself.
Now, was I a massive fan of The Beguiled? Not entirely. It was a beautifully shot, well written adaptation of the Don Siegel film of the same name that starred Clint Eastwood. This adaptation also had a magnificent cast. From Colin Farrell to Nicole Kidman to Elle Fanning, the performances were wonderful. The movie had a certain sense of where it wanted to head, but dropped off the last 30-minutes to a quick and unsatisfying ending. It had potential to be something dangerous and seductive and exciting, it just fell a little too quick. This could be the side of me coming out that’s used to blockbusters and massive stories with shocking twists and ends, but I find that’s something I also enjoy in a movie. I like something that puts me on edge and makes me want more. One thing that this did get me thinking about was the female perspective, especially from the director’s chair, and the importance of it in film.
Here’s where Wonder Woman comes into play.
There is a marvelous similarity between these two movies, mainly in the portrayal of the women at the forefront of it. Wonder Woman is guided by love in her quest to save the world. Not by vengeance or a need to “destroy”, she believes in the goodness of everyone. You could tell that this was a very important aspect to this film. There’s no lack of emotion, and that’s what makes watching it so impactful. As a woman watching it, you can feel the empowerment from Diana right through the screen. The scene in “No-Man’s Land” was enough to make me emotional and very excited at the very same time. There was a similar emotional level to be felt from watching The Beguiled. These women weren’t driven by a sense of hate. They still felt love and compassion, and although they had their slip-ups, their actions were guided with love. Especially from Nicole Kidman’s character, who strives to help the wounded soldier until she feels him become a threat. She’s not afraid to defend herself and help the girls when the time comes. These are feminist movies. That’s something not a lot of people might like to hear, but it’s true. You can be strong and intelligent and have your own power, and still be feminine. It’s a wonderful message to send to young women everywhere, and these ladies nailed it.