Chick Flicks by Leah Jean
|Okay. Today I make amends for having written too much about the testosterone side of the movies. Can't help it if I'm a red-blooded American woman who likes to admire an intelligent and good looking man who can act. [Okay, maybe a few that can't act once in a while, too.] ;-) So this time I will expound upon the female stars of the movie business and where they put their best well shod foot forward.
Let's start with a few flicks where the critics lauded the female leads.
The first is "Waitress" which is rift with humorously light and lively dialogue with some drama and, of course, a love story. Actually make that storieeeees. One between a man and a woman, one a woman self love, and another between ... well, let's not give away everything. The writers, director, etc. have mixed all of this in with a lot of references to ... a .... pies. Yes, you heard me. The making of pies thru out the story provides a lot of ... uh ... flavor to the plot. [Cough. I couldn't resist.] ;-) The woman who plays the waitress is warm, wonderful, and cute as a bug, in contrast to her husband who is ditzy, narssicistic, and domineering. And then there is the other leading man (who played the lead in the "Firefly" T.V. series) who definitely sets my heart to thumping! [Okay, I just had to get that testosterone thing in once.] The waitress steals your heart in this movie. But ...... I just have to mention Andy Griffith who plays a rather raunchy and curmudgeony old codger. If you were a big fan of him in Mayberry RFD, you're in for a shock! He dispenses fatherly advise with the manner of a sailor on shore leave. If nothing else about this movie appeals to you though, then I'd recommend it just for seeing what could be one of his last and, what I consider to be, one of his more memorable roles. :-)
The next movie that got critical lauds along with the female lead was "Enchanted". I have to admit that I've always loved a good fairy tale. And this is a modernized spoof coming from the company that built its reputation on great fairy tales such as the animated "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty" movies. Disney is also top drawar at producing musicals. Have any of you seen the Lion King on Broadway? I saw a part of it when Daryl and I were at Disney World a few years ago and it was just amazing! The dance numbers, the costumes and the sheer volume of participants! And this was just at Disneyland. Don't forget there is also Disneyland, Disney Euro, Disney Cruises, etc. So they are the experts at fairytales and musicals. [I've also heard that they are one of the industry leaders in extending benefits to gay people. When you've got that many dancers, artists, musicians, etc. on your payroll, what do you expect?] Oh, there's also one wacky chipmunk who is reminescent of Chip and Dale. And Susan Sarandon obviously having fun playing the conniving and manipulative step-mother. Anyway, Disney put together what they do best ... animation mixed with live characters, tons of beautiful costumes, several toe-tapping songs, and a fairy tale romance with nail-biting action ... into one big cauldron. The with a wave of their magic wand ... Schazam! One amazing movie! This is one of those unusual flicks that the whole family can enjoy together. It even made my hubby laugh. But one warning. You will find the songs running around in your head after watching this movie.
Now I wish to put forward some of my favorite leading actresses.
Emma Thompson. Now this is a woman for all seasons. She can do Shakespeare, drama, comedy, etc. without batting an eyelash. She was also known for being married to one of the premire British actors Kenneth Branagh for a time. She did some flicks with him ... but none of them spring to mind at this time. She played the lead in my favorite movie version of the Jane Austen book "Sense and Sensibility". She also waxed eloquently odd in the literary spoof "Stranger Than Fiction". She was so diverting as the chain smoking quirky novelist who loved to kill off her characters. Queen Latifah is perfect as her deadpan sidekick who tries to wean the novelist off of cigarets and writer's block. Ms. Thompson also did an excellent job of having strange discourse with Will Farrell. Another low key comedic role that Ms. Thompson did was in the film "Nanny McPhee". This is more of a children's story about bratty kids, a put-upon dad, and a fairy tale like Mary Poppins nanny. But I still enjoyed the film because it was done very well.
Meryl Streep. Another woman who is diversity itself. She's been hailed for many years in such films as "Sophie's Choice", "the Bridges of Madison County", and "Out of Africa". Well the critics still "loved" her in the flick "The Devil Wore Prada" where she plays a hard bitten and hard driven boss. [Guess who's the "devil"?] This is more of a chick flick though because it is about the fashion industry. But these types of characters can be seen in just about any work setting where competition is fierce and perfection is expected. Here fashion is queen and who better to play her most royal highness than Ms. Streep? The beautiful and bubbly Anne Hathaway plays her counterpart with her usual loveableness. [Okay, I've got to admit that I liked the "Princess Diaries" also. There ... I've admitted it.] But at least Ms. Hathaway plays a more modern adult with grownup urges and goals here. Anyway, the 2 women go back and forth in a brisk cat and mouse game. It's good writing and acting.
One last mention. I watched this film because there wasn't else much on ... and I wasn't expecting much. But I found it very moving and inspiring. It is called "Iron Jawed Angels" and it is based on the women's suffrigette movement to get women the right to vote. I'd heard bits and pieces about this part of America's history but never seen something so encompassing. It is so surprising to realize what these women went thru to get that amendment passed and how short a time ago it was that this happened. This story was intelligently written and very interesting from a historical perspective. I'd recommend it as History 101 viewing for all women ... and wish I could make it mandatory for all men too.
All of these women have one thing in common in most of their films. They all have the guts to make hard choices and do so with intelligence and perserverance. That's what makes these women interesting and compelling.
Kind of reminds me of the women in the Rose family. :-)
Ya'll take care now, ya hear!