So I had a look at what movies were playing downtown and what time the matinees started, and decided -- mostly on a whim -- to go see "Real Women Have Curves," which I knew almost nothing about. It was starting at a convenient time, and sounded like it was on a topic that would interest me.
On the way there, I passed The Evil Theatre (a major chain, which shows a full half-hour or more of commercials before each film and has subdivided to the point of containing many mini-theatres the size of my livingroom), with its long line of PICs (People In Cloaks) waiting to buy tickets to TTT. I'll go see TTT eventually, but probably not for a couple weeks. (Or maybe on Xmas Day, since that's the tradition in my family: movies on Christmas because nothing else is open, and Chinese or Thai food for dinner.)
Anyway, I got to The Non-Evil Theatre (part of a relatively small chain that specializes in independent and foreign films) in plenty of time, and so got to enjoy the music. Yes, instead of the advertising slides shown between films at The Evil Theatre, The Non-Evil Theatre still plays music instead. In fact, it was actually quite nice music, very Celtic. Bodhran, fiddle, pipes, and various combinations thereof, sometimes accompanied by piano, harp, etc. I sat there with my feet on the seet in front of me (okay, yes, I'm a bad, bad woman) and rocked out for 20 minutes or so until the trailers started.
Yes, indeedy, The Non-Evil Theatre in fact does not show commercials. They just show trailers. And there were a few interesting ones. They showed a trailer for "The Hours" (based on Michael Cunningham's award-winning novel), which has some rather ... uh ... curious casting. Nicole Kidman is in it, playing -- yes, you guessed it -- Virginia Woolf. Yeah, I've always thought they looked a lot alike. In fact, all through "Moulin Rouge," I kept saying to myself, "You know who she reminds me of? Virginia Woolf!" WTF?
There was also a trailer for a new Philip Seymour Hoffman movie called "Love Liza," which looked like it had potential. I'm a big Philip Seymour Hoffman fan (particularly loved him in "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia"), so I'll probably go see it when it begins showing in this neck of the woods.
"Real Women Have Curves"
So, anyway, "Real Women Have Curves" is a film about a girl just graduating high school. In many ways, it's a pretty traditional coming-of-age story, but I enjoyed it very much and definitely recommend it. It addresses most of the primary issues concerning women today, including (but not limited to) weight, beauty, the virgin/whore dichotomy, the family responsibility/self-fulfilment dichotomy, economic inequality, religion, relations between women, relations between generations, romance, and education.
The main character, Ana, is played with subtlety and strength by a young Latina actress named America Ferrera (there's a brief but wonderful interview with her here, if you're interested). Ana is self-confident, intelligent, and outspoken in her rebellion against both cultural and familial attempts to put her down. Though she is overweight by modern standards (bigger than me), she is beautiful and comfortable in her own skin. She doesn't define herself by whether men consider her beautiful; she doesn't define herself by whether she lives up to her family's expectations; she doesn't define herself by whether she fits into a size 6 or 7 dress. She staunchly insists that her value lies in who she is, as a person.
Okay, I admit, the movie was a bit overly optimistic on some issues. But in general I felt like they didn't resolve most things too easily. The complexities of the mother/daughter dynamic, for example, were beautifully portrayed: sacrifice, pain, love, resentment, identification, the struggle for control, and more.
Well, I don't want to write too much about the movie lest I spoil it for those who may want to see it. Though I thought the writing was not particularly impressive, I enjoyed the characters, the humor, and the honesty of many of the relationships portrayed. I recommend it, especially to women with weight or beauty issues, because Ana is a heroine for all of us.