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Searching for Debra Winger (review)

You’ll never see an all-star cast like the one assembled here again, the primary reason being that they’re here to complain — justifiable so — about the lack of roles available to them, among other things. Actress Rosanna Arquette, inspired by Debra Winger’s very early retirement from show biz, set out to interview as many famous female actors as she could about the difficulties of being a woman in Hollywood, and the result is stunning: intelligent, irate, eloquent, compulsively watchable. Onscreen is a red carpet’s worth of luminaries: Sharon Stone, Holly Hunter, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Lane, Meg Ryan, Vanessa Redgrave, Salma Hayek, Winger herself, and many, many more. To a one, even these most successful of women, with the best resources and the greatest access to help, struggle with juggling career, motherhood, and men in a way that many nonfamous women will recognize. Mostly, though, they rage against how Hollywood typical ignores women above 40 and women who don’t look like supermodels, and how the industry suffers from a lack of roles for women beyond that of victim, girlfriend, or mother, and the lack of options actresses have compared to actors. Distressing as it is to see these beautiful, vital, smart women straining at the boundaries set around them, it’s worse to know that nothing in Hollywood seems set to change.

MPAA: rated R

viewed at home on a small screen

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