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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

teh womminz, they are so silly for their complaininz — just ask Cate Blanchett

Gotta love how W magazine frames the awesome graciousness that is Cate Blanchett in its new cover article about her:

Maybe because she never aimed to become a movie star, Blanchett is the rare actress who does not lament the lack of good film roles for women. “I didn’t go into the industry expecting to be wholly nurtured by it. I thought of it as a bit of an experiment,” she says. Before entering drama school, she’d half expected to become a theater director. “But it didn’t happen, and I didn’t push it.” Now, after helming a few stage productions, she reluctantly admits that she is entertaining the idea of directing a film. “I find the offers to do it, um, curious,” she says slowly, obliquely adding that she has “been approached” with opportunities. “But that’s the thing about working with Scorsese and David Fincher and Steven Soderbergh: Their understanding of the technical aspects of it is mind-boggling. It is a different language, and I understand a few strands of it, but I don’t know if I understand the whole possibility. So you think, Who am I to do this? I honestly hadn’t thought about directing film until somebody approached me about it, but now it’s like, Oh, that’s interesting. It sounds like the thinking of a dilettante, doesn’t it?” she adds, leaving no conversation untouched by a dose of self-deprecation.

See? The women actors who are constantly bitching about how there aren’t enough good roles for women actors? They’re just plain wrong. Because Cate Blanchett is a chick and she doesn’t complain. And this makes her rare and elegant and perfect and ladylike, unlike all those awful harridans who just can’t get laid, er, hired.
Note that the W writer — a woman herself, presumably, since she’s called Danielle Stein — does not actually supply a quote, not anywhere in the piece, that comes close to outright saying that Cate Blanchett doesn’t lament that lack of good film roles for women. Or even implying as much. There’s nothing like that to be found here. There is, however, this:

“My husband keeps me really honest,” Blanchett says. “I remember him saying to me after I made Elizabeth”—her 1998 breakout film, for which she was first nominated for an Academy Award—“‘Sweetheart, you’ve probably got about five years.’ He was preparing me for the time when the work dries up, as it invariably does.”

What? Why would work “invariably” dry up? Why, Academy Award winning actors such as Ernest Borgnine, Charlton Heston, Maximilian Schell, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, William Hurt, Michael Douglas, etc., etc., have continued to work regularly well into their 60s, 70s, even 80s. Why wouldn’t Blanchett?

Oh.

Because there’s a lack of good film roles for women, especially women over 40.

And Danielle Stein damn well knows it, too, because immediately after that paragraph just above comes this:

Upton’s grim prediction perhaps explains why Blanchett made 29 movies in the 10 years following Elizabeth.

Oh. Because Blanchett probably wouldn’t face such grand opportunities later.

Just so I’m clear, I do believe that Cate Blanchett is rare and elegant and perfect. But I don’t believe, unless there’s some evidence to the contrary, that she does not lament the lack of good film roles for women. I think she’s smart and cool enough to realize that just because she’s been lucky enough and talented enough to have her pick of roles doesn’t mean that the same can be said of other, merely mortal women actors, certainly not to the same degree that it can be said about merely mortal male actors.

(via Jezebel)



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  • Lady Tenar

    People love a successful woman who “doesn’t complain” about the lack of opportunities for women less fortunate than themselves. They help them believe that the battle for gender equality is won and all those shrill, bubble-bursting malcontents just need to shut the fuck up and get a man. “See? See? Cate Blanchett has a great career! Take that, feminists!”

  • Lisa

    Cate Blanchett’s like Meryl Streep – she will always work. She’s bloody talented, classy and she has a great face, beautiful bone structure.

    I think her comments are half pragmatic, half toeing the line. Nobody wants to work with “complaininz womminz” and there are less opportunities for actresses who are forty plus. Also, women are under constant pressure to be perfect and to make it all look easy. That’s why you get size zero stars saying they eat “normally”, actresses (or other famous women)with kids saying you can have it all.

  • A lot of the difficulty of finding roles for women in their 40’s+ would seem to stem from the roles that they choose while in their 20’s and 30’s. If they seek roles that are focused on their physical attributes (Beauty, sexy, or allure) then those sorts of roles are rare for older women.

    However, actresses who choose roles based on drama, intelligence, human interest (of which, I’ll admit there are fewer roles to choose) then they can build a body of work that will insure that they are considered for every role that features those attributes well into their 80’s.

    Ask Dame Judy Densch or Kate Hepburn about that.

  • Lisa

    I agree – a lot of roles are just the girl roles, but, if you’re a young actress and you want to work, I can’t blame you for taking those roles. It’s hard to get good ones. Can I add Jodie Foster to the list?

    There’s not exactly a million brilliant roles for boys either, but there are more of them. And men are allowed to age.

  • Lady Tenar

    Ask Dame Judy Densch or Kate Hepburn about that.

    People have asked Dame Judi Dench about that. And she’s done some “complaininz” of her own.

    Just one example.

    She is one of the only actresses that has continued to work consistently at her age (and even she’s been forced to take a few stinkers.) There are many more talented older actresses that do not have her luck.

  • Kathryn

    Of course there’s a lack of good roles for women – especially as they get older. Which is why after winning an Oscar Halle Berry ended up in the stinker that was Catwoman, and how Sandra Bullock came to win an Oscar – there simply were not any more challenging roles around for women last year. People take the work they are offered, or don’t work at all. And if the only good roles available are written to fit Dame Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslett, Nathalie Portman and Kiera Knightley perfectly (I think I got the descending order of age right there) then they’re the only ones who are going to built reputations as actors rather than eye-candy.

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