Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of ballerinas and ball players

We went to see James L. Brooks' new film, How Do You Know?, the other night, and I have to say we really enjoyed it. So many "romantic comedies" have become ridiculously bad that it's nice to watch a movie about real people in real relationships for a change, and I appreciate Brooks for giving us that yet again. (If you don't know, he also made Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News, As Good as It Gets, and Spanglish.)

But, as much as I fear I'm starting to sound like a broken record, I have to say that I simply could not believe Reese Witherspoon's body. Honestly, she looked like a little girl, a fact made all the more apparent by her character's jockish wardrobe—she plays a softball player and spends some of the movie in little girl shorts, sandals, and t-shirt.
Her legs were so thin that they looked more like the legs of a ten-year-old than a thirty-something woman, and I found myself thinking back to supermodel Crystal Renn's admission that the goal for models is to have such skinny legs that there is a triangular space between them right below the . . . well, right below the triangle. And that's how Witherspoon's legs looked to me—too skinny to touch each other.

I wouldn't be so upset about Witherspoon's non-body if there were some other movie on the horizon that made me feel better about how women's bodies are being depicted in the current crop of holiday movies, but next up on our list is Black Swan, a film about two nearly anorexic ballerinas starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Needless to say, they both look skeletal and malnourished.

This is a far cry from last December when I wrote about Vera Farmiga's wonderful depiction of a real-sized woman in Up in the Air, and I worry that we're taking steps backward rather than forward.

I have been a movie lover all my life. Though I was a voracious reader as a child, it was really my love of film that made me want to be a writer. But when I continue to see Hollywood requiring its female actors to look like underweight girl-women, it makes me want to give up movie watching for good.


  1. Um, that was the point. The entire point was that Nina (Portman) was going completely nuts thanks to her oppressive Stage Mom. Really, at the end of the day, BLACK SWAN'S really a cautionary tale, not a pro-anorexia movie.

    (I know it wasn't what you were trying to say, but...yeah.)

  2. Yes, Black Swan is a cautionary tale. My point was simply that I hate to look at a season full of movies and see not one about a woman with a body bigger than a size two. Makes me miss Meryl Streep.