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For Women In Film, Progress And Frustration

Hollywood’s “Sisters of Summer.” Women and the movie business now.

Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman and Gillian Robespierre on the set of the new film, "Obvious Child." (A24 Films)

Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman and Gillian Robespierre on the set of the new film, “Obvious Child.” (A24 Films)

In the silent film era, Hollywood knew how it liked its women.  With fluttering fans, maybe.  Or tied to the tracks.  A century on, women are still fighting for their full place in Hollywood, behind and in front of the camera.  It matters, says Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday, because movies mold our sense of the world.  Our cultural expectations.  Our sense of what we ought to be.  What we can be.  This summer, there’s a riffle of change, she says.  In “Obvious Child,” “Maleficent,” “The Fault in Our Stars. This hour, On Point:  Women, power, and Hollywood now.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post film critic. (@AnnHornaday)

Wesley Morris, critic for Grantland. (@Wesley_Morris)

Gina Prince-Bythwood, director of the upcoming film “Beyond the Lights.” Also director of the films “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Love and Basketball,” among others. (@GPBmadeit)

Gren Wells, writer and director. She’s making her directorial debut with “The Road Within.” (@grendola)

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: The sisters of summer — “The fact that women seem finally to be on the cusp of being taken seriously as a market is good news, just as last year’s plethora of successful films by and about African Americans boded well for audiences interested in seeing more than the usual white faces on screen (see ‘cinematic monoculture, sexism and racism of’). But this early summer crop of hits also suggests a welcome widening of the lens when it comes not just to women’s roles, but men’s as well.”

NPR: ‘Obvious Child’: A Momentous Film Of Small, Embarrassing Truths – “Director Gillian Robespierre has a good last name for a revolutionary. But it’s not a revolution with placards and manifestos. It’s a revolution of small, embarrassing truths. Obvious Child begins with Donna, played by Jenny Slate, standing before a mic in a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, club making fun of her Jewish features and her farts and implying it’s a miracle she even has a boyfriend. That boyfriend, Ryan, is standing in the back, scowling. He doesn’t seem to like her exhibitionism. In fact, he’s fixing to dump her. ”

TIME: How Hollywood Can Get More Women To See Movies – “Getting a lot of women to see your movie is notessential to its success. Superhero and monster movies will continue to draw big crowds: Spider-ManX-Men and Godzillaall had at least $90 million opening weekends. But courting more women certainly doesn’t hurt. After all, females make up 51% of the population.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • OMA_OPINES

    Thank you, Ann, for your comments about not just putting a female in a traditionally “male” behavior, Obvious Child, etc. Most thoughtful. I will likely see this film. This is Janet, the caller from Alabama.

  • Lisa Delissio

    Do the movies discussed today pass the Bechdel Test? Which movies would you recommend that do?

  • Darryl Daniels

    I can’t believe that “Belle” which was lead, directed, written and scored by women never made it into this discussion. It’s the third highest grossing indie film this year.

    • Human2013

      Can’t wait to see Belle!

  • JGC

    On the small screen, Tatiana Maslany plays multiple roles in “Orphan Black”, a show where strongly-drawn female characters are driving the action and dialogue, and men become the supporting actors.

  • rkean

    Great show. Very encouraging that there are some movies where women have agency, aren’t just victims or objects. And, thanks for bringing Wesley Morris back to Boston- I miss his reviews in the Globe.

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