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Thursday, September 06, 2007

 

Being Done With Jodie Foster

I'm not usually in the habit of pre-judging works of art; I feel like, if you don't see it, you don't have the right to bitch about it. (I feel the same way about voting for president.) But walking down 8th Avenue today, I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a shiny new billboard for The Brave One, Jodie Foster's latest exercise in paranoid victimology. And I realized two things: one, it's probably going to be good. And two, I am not going to see it.

From the ads and the trailer, you can tell that The Brave One is the latest in Foster's long line of fetish fantasies about trapped, abused and/or badly-treated women (Flightplan, Panic Room, Contact, Nell, The Silence of the Lambs, The Accused, etc.). You know the drill: her characters suffer mightily, then eventually triumph (kind-of) over their (male) oppressors. And while the movies are well-made and entertaining, there's a creeping sexist undercurrent in her work, and I just can't stomach it anymore. So maybe it's a boycott of one, but I'm not going.

Why so strident, you ask? Because I'm sick to death of watching women suffer brutally in movies...five years later, I'm still not over Monica Belluca being raped in Irreversible. Furthermore, I'm sick of actresses incessantly having to prove that they're as bad-ass as men in order to be viable. (Why oh why are you in that National Treasure sequel, Helen Mirren???) But mostly, I'm skipping it because Foster is one of the greatest actresses working today, and I want her to find a wider palette for her talent. (Inside Man was a great start...so why is she running back to revenge movies?)

http://images-cdn01.associatedcontent.com/150_0000053837_0000075779.jpgIt's complicated, of course, by the fact that Jodie is a victim in real life...her inability to deal honestly with her sexuality and her long-term relationship is sad to watch. (This interview is heartbreaking.) Doubly tragic, since it seems like her lesbianism a secret to almost no one. When looking at her career, her character choices seem to mirror her own constricted sense of self. It makes me pity her a bit. (Only a bit...it's hard to pity multi-millionaire movie stars.)

And it hardly makes me want to call her The Brave One. Foster trafficks in domestic fear -- fear of losing her child, fear of being trapped in your house, fear of cannibals with a penchant for fava beans. Not to take the theme too far, but hasn't this country had enough fearmongering of late? Aren't we all tired of living in the place that Foster repeatedly asks us to inhabit? Until she's found other stories to tell, I'm going to skip her Brave act and look for something more at peace with itself. Like Shoot 'Em Up.

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2 Comments:

Blogger StinkyLulu said...

yup.


that about sums it up.







good work.

9/6/07, 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're going to have to change your philosophy on judging works of art that you haven't seen since that's what you just did. And as far as not being able to bitch about things when you don't vote, all I can say is grow up. I voted in 2000 for Gore and it didn't make a bit of difference. If you're still living under the illusion that we live in a country where Politicans represent the people, then you're either a child or willfully ignorant.

9/6/07, 1:55 PM  

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