Thursday, June 27, 2024

The right way and the wrong way to bring Girl Power

I just watched two very different, I suppose you could call them, "girl power" movies - one whose role in history played a major role in the advancement of women and is excellent and the other that played no role in the advancement of women and arguably almost brings them stooping down to the level of the male part of the species.

Before there was Barbie, there was Greta Gerwig's 2019 adaptation of Little Women. Based on the classic novel published in 1868 by Louisa Mae Alcott (I'm just realizing that somehow I've never read any of her other works), at first glance, this remake might seem unnecessary since the 1994 version starring Winona Ryder was so excellent.

But along with Gerwig as an awesome director who creatively plays with the story's timeline, the six-time-Oscar-nominated movie is essential because of the cast. Saoirse Ronan and TimothĂ©e Chalamet are clearly among the top talents in Hollywood today, likeably playing the roles earlier perfected by Ryder and Christian Bale. When Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Laura Dern, Bob Odenkirk, and Florence Pugh are relegated to supporting actors, you know a film might be great. 

Little Women is set just after the Civil War, as young people finally get the chance to throw out some of their worries and focus on good times. This means, for most young women, falling in love with a suitable future husband. But Jo, played by Ronan, is conflicted about this and is committed to being alone and chasing her dream of being a novelist. The movie's release was delayed by the Covid pandemic, which ironically must have felt a lot like the time during the Civil War for young people in stunting their development.

5 out of 5 stars

Now we fall to the other end. Other than the cool ending that reveals who the new Charlie is (the old one has passed away), Charlie’s Angels: The IMAX 2-D Experience, also from 2019, is a high-glitz, low-intelligence stinker. I suppose a case could be made for the Elizabeth Banks-directed production as eye-candy entertainment, but life is a little too short. How the otherwise wise-decision-making Kristen Stewart got attached to this as one of the Angels is what offers the true suspense. Yuck. 

1.5 out of 5 stars.

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