I went to the movies this weekend and saw two films back to back. The first that I saw was Jurassic World, a fun, intense and scary ride welcoming us back to the fun, intense and scary ride we had in the Park 20 some years earlier. However one thing I noticed, the female lead, Claire never took off her high heels and her hair was almost immaculate the whole time.
Lately in cinema, women in disaster films or television are a bit grittier, more realistic even. But this film just brought back some of the silly notions that women need to be dressed to the nines and let the men handle most of the dirty work. Vulture pointed out some of the more obsured ideas that Hollywood decided was worth mentioning. For instance, if you are not a mom, you are not complete and therefore lack any emotions.
For a fun movie, there was a lot of insults towards women that were quite distracting and ultimately pathetic and disappointing.
The second film I saw was Mad Max: Fury Road which had almost the exact opposite role for women. They were caring and tough, brave and vulnerable, treated as an equal with the few good guys. There has been a lot of ridiculous controversy about the film being a trick to show off feminism and in allegedly doing so, insulting men.
I can comment that I was happy and impressed to notice a woman edited the film Mad Max, indeed she is the wife of the filmmaker. According to IMDB, George Miller asked his wife to edit it, “Because if a guy did it, it would look like every other action movie.”
As an editor, I thank you Mr. Miller for giving it a chance to have some, dare I say it, feminine touch. The end result is that of a whirl wind ride and imagery of the dessert with vivid characters for both genders.
The other thing that makes the controversy even more hilarious is that there are complaints it is not American enough. The filmmaker is Australian, the lead actor is from England, the lead actress from South Africa and they filmed in Namibia. In other words, it is not an American film so it means it is not American. This brings me to question the American film and media industry and the lack of change it has made to give better, stronger female characters.
Now for men, it isn’t all perfect. The hero in both films is rugged yet handsome. They get dirtier and grittier but still, it is a fantasy which is part of the charm of films. Yet for female characters, there is still clearly a long way to go, especially in American films.