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"Real Women Have Curves"

Instead of hiding in my office and/or going back to sleep, I decided to go out to the movies today. I love going to the movies by myself ... I find it very relaxing and comfortable. It's a different experience from going to the movies with other people, but it's one I enjoy for its own merits. Perhaps I'll write an entire journal entry about that sometime.

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.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2002 03:23 pm (UTC)
I'm so tired of seeing 20 minutes of commercials before a movie....

If I wanted commercials, I'd stay at home and watch TV.
Dec. 21st, 2002 03:47 pm (UTC)
See, this was a new experience for me, the last time I hit the theatres (yeah, I don't go much). I sat down while they were still showing the normal slideshow thingy that has various trivia tidbits and stills from movies and whatnot, then after that I was expecting trailers. I see a commercial for something unrelated. "Okay," I think, "That was different." Then another commercial. Another. Then a random shout, "What the $#&* is this?!" Hey, that voice sounds familiar... why's everyone looking at me like that?

Yeah, that wasn't a good day. I think I'll stick with rentals; I can fastforward through any commercials they put on those.
And on my "Real Genius" VHS tape, there are trailers *after* the movie, not beforehand. So the first time I watched the video, I left it on to watch the trailers. Just because they were on after (and for movies that were 15 years old...)
Dec. 21st, 2002 03:56 pm (UTC)
I agree.

Not only are there commmercials, but they are usually totally un-related to the movie you've over-paid to watch....
Dec. 21st, 2002 05:39 pm (UTC)
Of course, it's been ages since I have been to any US cinemas (Evil or otherwise) but half hour is just way too long.

We usually get a few minutes of high quality commercials in the big cinemas though in UK there is a very different approach to advertising than the US. The emphasis is strongly upon creativity over hard sell so you get a lot of quite quirky ads or 'arty' ones that are just stunning such as the Guinness series.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 21st, 2002 09:06 pm (UTC)
I have a special fondness for Michael Cunningham because he's the person who encouraged me to try my hand at writing a novel. In fact, he told me, "You're a novelist. Just do it." He earned my eternal love that day. Plus, he's just a very very nice person. And incredibly talented. His "White Angel" is one of my favorite short stories ever.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 21st, 2002 11:01 pm (UTC)
Don't know him, but met him through a mutual friend just after The Hours was first published. Got a chance to talk with him for a while over dinner, and he was incredibly encouraging ... treated me like a peer, which was amazing. I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for him as both a person and a writer.
Dec. 22nd, 2002 03:43 pm (UTC)
wow! you met michael cunningham! can I touch you?
I didn't know you got to meet him. That's so cool! I think The Hours is one of the best novels I remember reading the past few years. It was perfectly structured, narrated, etc... plus I enjoyed it much more than Mrs. Dalloway. (I should really give M.D. one more chance)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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