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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

what she said: Emma Thompson…

…on what women in movies need to do to make their voices heard (via the Telegraph):

Write your own roles. So much better than whingeing. Just pick up a pen.

And so Thompson wrote the Nanny McPhee movies, which will, by the time the second one is done, collectively have grossed more than $200 million, despite having jointly cost only a quarter of that, and which gave her a starring role that subverts traditional female roles as much as it embraces them. Oh, and she also wrote an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility — still one of the wisest stories about woman and romance, for all that it’s two centuries old — so lovely that she won an Oscar for her screenplay.
Now, there is certainly a place for whingeing. But that should be only the beginning of the pushback against Hollywood’s treatment of women, which runs the sad gamut from belitting to disparaging to ignoring to worse, not the end of it. Any woman with money and clout to spare who is unhappy with how the industry treats her should howl a hearty “Fuck this shit!” and develop her own projects. With her own money and her own clout, if need be.

If this fair? Of course not. Is this more than men have to do to have a creatively satisfying and financially successful career in movies? Of course it is. But this is the way it is today. As Thompson says (also in the Telegraph):

I think that anyone with any sort of voice has a duty to plug into what they think needs to be said, and say it.


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