Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Felicity Jones, and Rupert Everett
I wanted to love “Hysteria.” I really did. It has Maggie Gyllenhaal being her ball-busting feminist self, Hugh Dancy looking adorable, and the entire film is about the invention of my favorite thing on Earth, the vibrator.
But instead of being the kind of kickass film that had me texting my girl friends, You have to see this movie, “Hysteria” turned out to be pretty much be a rom-com that tries, and fails, to do “A Dangerous Method.” And it fails badly.
“Hysteria” is set in 1880s London and stars Hugh Dancy as Dr. Mortimer Granville, a dedicated, passionate young doctor who is fired from his job at a hospital for trying to introduce newfangled practices to cut back on germs. He’s hired at a private practice for Dr. Dalrymple, who practices “women’s medicine.” But Dr. Granville quickly finds out that the cure his boss is using to help women with their “hysteria” — anxiety, sadness and “nymphomania” — is squirting lubricant on his hands and … well … rubbing her clitoris. Keep reading »
Starring Edward Burns and Caitlin Fitzgerlad
Do relationships thrive on total honesty and communication? Or do omissions and little white lies keep hurt feelings at bay and love burning strong?
These are the questions posed in “Newlyweds,” a new film written, directed and starring Edward Burns. Burns and Caitlin Fitzgerald (“It’s Complicated”) play Buzzy and Katie, a newly-married couple in New York City whose bond is tested as relationships unravel around them. It’s the second marriage for both; instead of a long, drawn-out courtship, the couple married quickly, and due to their busy work schedules, they seldom see each other. Sound like red flags? They don’t think so. Buzzy and Katie say that not knowing too much about each other or not spending all their time together is what keep things fresh. When Katie’s sister Marsha suddenly splits from her longtime husband, and when Edward’s younger sister Linda drops by unannounced from L.A., it only seems to prove their point. That is, until competing loyalties to their family members make both Buzzy and Katie wonder how well they know the person they’ve just married. Keep reading »
Starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Alexandra Roach, Harry Lloyd
Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of the United Kingdom the year I was born (that would be 1984) and remained squired away as a footnote in my memory under “Scary Conservative ’80s Politicians (SEE: Ronald Reagan).” I read several British newspapers and I know, nowadays, that “Thatcherite” is used as an insult. But I also knew that Margaret Thatcher — like Hillary Clinton, like Angela Merkel — was a pioneering woman in the field of politics who deserves my respect and perhaps even admiration. To see Margaret Thatcher brought to life in “The Iron Lady” by Meryl Streep was, for this liberal feminist, an absolute treat.
And if you couldn’t care less about Margaret Thatcher? You should still know “The Iron Lady” will snatch up all sorts of Oscars: possibly one for best picture, possibly one for best director, possibly one for best screenplay, possibly one for best actress, possibly one for best supporting actor, and most certainly one for hair/makeup.
Keep reading »
Starring Charlie Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson & Elizabeth Reaser
Written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman
I went into a screening of “Young Adult” already anticipating that I would love it. After all, the premise centered around that of a young adult novelist, and as a total YA nerd, I was sure I would relate in some way to Mavis Gary. My vague understanding of the plot reinforced my enthusiasm; a single and successful thirtysomething woman, still trying to find what truly makes her happy — that sounds kind of like me! And written by Diablo Cody? Count me in!
Well, my expectations for “Young Adult” were met, not met, and exceeded, all at once. See, I thought the film was fantastic — but it was not at all what I thought it would be. But it was better for it. Keep reading »
Starring Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench and Emma Watson
You might think “My Week With Marilyn” would be a lighthearted film about one of the most famous women in the modern history of the world. After all, it’s about a romance between Monroe and a set gopher while she filmed “The Prince and the Showgirl,” a comedy. But I walked out of the theater with just the opposite — a heavy heart. (And the steadfast belief that Michelle Williams, who plays Marilyn Monroe, should be nominated for an Oscar.) Keep reading »
Gloria Steinem became famous in 1963 when she published an article called “A Bunny’s Tale” in which she went undercover at a Playboy Club to expose the treatment of its waitresses. In the decade-plus to follow, Gloria became one of the most public faces of the burgeoning “second wave” feminist movement. She fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, advocated for abortion to be legalized, pushed the mainstream women’s movement to recognize that lesbian rights were an integral part of women’s rights, and of course was the very first editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. The heyday for the “third wave” feminist battles have arguably passed, but Gloria Steinem is still kickin’ (enough to put Glenn Beck into a fit, shrieking about how the “’60s have passed”). Any young woman or young man who has discovered feminism in the past 50 years will come across something that has Gloria Steinem’s fingerprints on it. Naturally such an icon deserves, at age 77, to be memorialized in her very own documentary. Keep reading »
Starring Bill Cunningham, Anna Wintour, Annette de la Renta, Iris Apfel, Tom Wolf, Kim Hastreiter, Patrick McDonald, Michael Kors
I know a woman whose life possibly peaked when she was snapped by The Sartorialist. Me? I’m gunning to catch the eye of Bill Cunningham from The New York Times‘s Sunday Style section, who has been photographing street style since Scott Schumann and Garance Doré were but eggs in their mothers’ wombs. Bill Cunningham, who turned 80 while the documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” was being filmed, dropped out of Harvard in the late 1940s and began working as a milliner, making hats for New York City’s elite. Then a friend handed him a camera and Bill’s eye for style bloomed. Now he’s the beloved street style photographer — a cultural anthropologist, really — for the Times. As someone — perhaps Anna Wintour — says in “Bill Cunningham New York,” while everyone else who works in fashion is standing inside the tents during Fashion Week snapping pics of celebrities, Bill Cunningham is outside on the sidewalk taking photographs of the regular people. Keep reading »
Starring Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, Jon Hamm, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kempner
When Jon Hamm shirtless is not the best part of the movie, you know it’s a good one.
That’s my summary of “Bridesmaids” in one sentence.
But of course, there’s more to say… Keep reading »
Starring Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Alex Karpovsky, David Call
Last year I interviewed writer/director Diablo Cody, who said something which has long stuck in my mind:
“Let’s say a woman directs a movie that’s not very good — everybody piles up on her. It’s, like, ‘No! You’re representing us! It has to be perfect!’ And that’s not how it works! Women should be allowed to make bad movies. Good movies. Porno movies. Terrible made-for-TV movies. Women just need to be out there directing as many movies as men do. We don’t all have to be the model woman — what we need is to be more visible.”
The phrase “women should be allowed to make bad movies” echoed in my head as I watched “Tiny Furniture,” the flick by first-time filmmaker Lena Dunham, which was made when she was just 24.
“Tiny Furniture” is not a bad movie in the way “Transformers” or “Showgirls” are bad movies. Keep reading »
Starring Sally Hawkins, Miranda Richardson, Rosamund Pike, and Bob Hoskins
We all know what 1960s America looked like for white-collar professional women like the ones on “Mad Men.” While Joan and Peggy were fighting off handsy account men in New York’s office towers, women in working-class towns like Dagenham, England, were doing hand-to-hand combat as well — only against the entire Ford Motor Company. “Made In Dagenham” is based on the true story of 187 women who sewed car seat upholstery for a Ford plant in Britain and what happens when they banded together to fight exploitation by their bosses. Their classification as “unskilled” laborers and the fact that they earned a fraction of the male employees’ paychecks led these strong, brave ladies to launch a history-making 1968 strike. Keep reading »