** SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers for the movie 'The Women', but that shouldn't matter because it is really not worth seeing in the theater. Maybe not ever. **
I went and saw 'The Women' last night with Violet. Talk about a disappointment. And not ONLY a disappointment, but an embarrassment. I have so much to say about it that I'm not even sure exactly where I should begin. Maybe I'll begin by saying that I knew Violet wouldn't like some parts of the movie. I don't like to label people, but it would be fairly accurate to say that V is a feminist - or more accurately, that she believes that women should be strong, be allowed to be strong, and be supported and respected. I could literally feel Violet getting angrier and angrier during the movie. Mine was a slower anger. After the movie was over and we started talking about it, I just found myself getting more and more pissed off.
The most major disappointment with this movie is that in previews, and during the movie, it touts itself as being really pro-woman. It looks like this movie about a woman whose husband cheats on her, so she goes off on her own and realizes she can be strong and still support her daughter and her relationships with her girlfriend. Unfortunately the movie itself leaves something to be desired. Much in the same way that Mona Lisa Smile was a huge disappointment, I found out that these women are not roll models.
Meg Ryan's character is the main character in the movie. She finds out that her husband, a famous Wall Street dude, is having an affair with the hot chick from the Sak's perfume counter (Eva Mendes). So, at first on her mother's advice (Candice Bergen - who by the way is really only 15 years older than Meg Ryan) she decides not to do anything. Eventually she ends up confronting the mistress, which does no good. Then she fights it out with her husband and they split up. She stays in their giant mansion with the daughter, housekeeper and au pair, and he leaves and moves in with the spritzer girl.
Then, she falls apart. She can't function without her husband. She totally neglects to take care of her daughter, who ends up turning to her mother's college friend to talk to. By the way, the friend is Annette Benning, and supposedly her and Meg Ryan are supposed to look the same age in this.
Speaking of Annette Benning, her character plays a woman working for a magazine who is supposed to be portrayed as this independant career woman, but gets all woozy when her friend's daughter tells her she'd be a good Mom and despite the fact that she LOSES HER JOB in the end because she doesn't want to comprimise her values (though she already did but giving information on her best friend to a gossip rag), it is all okay in the end because HALLELUJAH, she's finally found a MAN who she is gaga over.
Debra Messing's character is just an embarrassment. She has four kids, and consequently, despite the fact that she has a nanny, is portrayed as sloppy, off the wall, frazzled and emotional for the whole movie. She's pregnant in the movie, and eats with a napkin tucked in like a bib. Then she reveals that all she wants is a BOY. She's waiting for a man in her own way - by waiting to have a son, and declares that she is going to keep getting pregnant until she has one. Are you kidding me? You can't just keep popping out kids. At some point, it becomes irresponsible. Especially if you aren't even taking care of all of them. The women wonder how her husband can possibly live with the chaos of these children, and Debra's character reveals, oh he DOESN'T. He's moved in to a studio apartment in the same building so he can HAVE HIS SPACE. Are you fucking KIDDING me? Give me a break! How is that a positive relationship when he can't even stay in the same house and take care of his children??
There was a lesbian character in this movie, but she was effectively portrayed as a MAN. Is there some reason that they couldn't have had a lesbian character that wasn't hyper-sexual, walking around making lecherous sexual remarks no matter where she went? Who has a supermodel for a girlfriend and is basically just this wild person who continuously talks about how hot other women are etc. Kind of insulting...
We noticed the Dove product placement during the movie, and Violet and I both found it ironic. Not only has Meg Ryan OBVIOUSLY had serious plastic surgery, but there is a whole scene in the movie revolving around the character played by Candice Bergen getting plastic surgery and Meg Ryan implying that she will later in life - portraying it as a reasonable, and possibly even expected, option for women. Not only that, but during the movie, the tweenaged daughter of Meg Ryan's character - who is COMPLETELY abondoned by her mother over the course of the movie - talks repeatedly about how FAT she is, and other than a laugh about her bad body image and a couple of passing 'you're not fats', the issue is never resolved. She does, however, reveal that she has started SMOKING in order to lose weight. Her cigarettes are taken away, but more in a 'you're silly' kind of way than anything else. There was no discussion of why that wasn't a good idea, or how serious it is that she had that bad a body image. We were even more shocked when, at the end of the credits, they showed the web address for the campaign for real beauty, along with clips of the actresses from the film talking about beauty.
Really, Dove? I am a big supporter of that campaign, but I find it repugnant that they would support a film that in the end doesn't support having a good body image or really even support women being strong and independant. I find it really ridiculous that they would choose to have Meg Ryan speaking about how everyone is beautiful in their own way when she clearly caved to the weird beauty standards that exist in Hollywood.
While I do agree with snippets out of this movie - you should know and love yourself before someone else can be expected to love you, that it's worth working on a marriage before abandoning it, that it's okay for a woman to be indepeandant or gay and not be judged. Unfortunately, I don't think that most people will probably come away from the movie with these things. I wouldn't bother with this movie, and I certainly wouldn't take my daughter to see it. Why don't you go rent Casa de los babys, about six women in South America waiting to adopt, or Real Women Have Curves with America Ferrera if you want some REAL woman power.
P.S. Meg Ryan, could you get your FUCKING hair out of your FACE?!