What Movies Say about Being Women-Thank you Manohla Dargis



Jane Hall created her own images of women in 1930s movies: Trailer can be seen here

“Movies teach us all sorts of things: how to aspire, whom to fantasize about, (all those princes will come), how to smoke, dress, walk into a room (always like Bette Davis). They teach us whom to love and how, as well as the ostensible necessity of sacrificing love along with careers. . . .movies get into our bodies, making us howl and weep, while their narrative and visual patterns, their ideas and ideologies leave their imprint.” Manohla Dargis, NYT, 12/2/18

In the meantime, click here for an insightful New York Times article by Manohla Dargis.     What do women learn about themselves from the movies? That’s an Important theme in Such Mad Fun. It’s intriguing to imagine what movies and television programs have done to shape our images of who we are meant to be. And to think about what’s happening to our sense of ourselves –or to the views of our male partners or family members– if we watch movies such as these by women directors, or diverse television programming such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Crown, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Mme Secretary, or even Hallmark Movies.

A record 1.21 million viewers watched the Hallmark Channel’s holiday-themed movies between October 30 and November 26. Try analyzing the formulas behind some of these. The plots are often clever, even if predictable, and the casts are more diverse than ever. But viewing these is total escape. That’s the charm. There are a surprising number of fantasies that include a young woman who ends up with a prince. (Is that because Hallmark is owned by Crown Media?) And there are also many career women and men who must compromise their goals (or change them) for the sake of true love. Big-city life and all-consuming ambition do not win out over bucolic settings with thousands of Christmas lights, snowball fights, culinary delights, and good-hearted people doing the right thing. Everything always turns out okay, despite a crisis that occurs about 17 minutes before the end of each movie. No wonder the viewership is up at a time when that’s not the case in so many peoples’ lives.

Another theme of Such Mad Fun is the impact of glamour on women in the 1930s and 1940s. Right outside my window sits the Flagler Museum with a superb exhibit related to this topic. To learn more about how Edward Steichen invented glamour photography click here for an illustrated article by Jan Sjostrom. I was blessed to have both my California daughters visit the Flagler (and me!) here in Florida in the last month. Plus one son-in-law and two grandsons. The boys’ favorite moment at high tea at the Flagler was probably the sight of a not-so-glamorous but impressive huge iguana climbing up a palm tree outside the window. But Florida’s invasive species are way beyond the scope of this post.

Best wishes for a joyful and healthy new year to all my followers and visitors to the site! More to come….