Jen Yamato on Three Awful Articles About Actresses

Posted on July 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm

There have been a lot of complaints about the Vanity Fair cover story on Margot Robbie by Rich Cohen (“Vinyl”), which reads like a parody of skeezily raphsodic profiles of beautiful women. I particularly like the takedown from Rebecca Shaw, who is, like Robbie, Australian, and so addresses Cohen’s idiotic comments about her country as well as his idiotic comments about Robbie.

Australia is America 50 years ago, sunny and slow, a throwback, which is why you go there for throwback people.

Bloody hell, calm your farm Richo. We’re America 50 years ago, so what – increasing our troops into Vietnam?…

That was the middle of a search that finally led to Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan and Robbie as Jane. Jerry spoke of the actress in a tone he reserved for the big stars, the sure things, the Clooneys and Pitts, those whose magnitude seems old-fashioned. “When I think of Margot Robbie, a single word comes to mind,” Jerry said. “Audrey Hepburn.”

A single word: these two words. Earlier in the piece Richo said that Wolf of Wall Street defined Robbie. It “put her up with Sharon Stone in Casino and Cathy Moriarty in Raging Bull – one of Scorcese’s women.

I know I am 50 years behind all of this being one of the throwback people and all, but did you know that women don’t have to be defined by 1. being compared to other women and 2. belonging to some man or another? Astonishing stuff from here, downunder.

The Fug’s Heather has some thoughts as well.

The piece reads like an interview in which subject and questioner had zero chemistry. But it’s an interviewer’s job to find that, or fix it, rather than go home and throw Google searches at the problem. Frankly, when I read that conclusion and it so strongly created the image of her just casually standing up and leaving, I wanted to shake her hand. Australia has a right to be offended by the finished article (and it is, from what I’ve read). So too does Margot Robbie, though I suspect she will calmly say nothing. She’s already won, honestly. She, somehow, still comes across as normal and cool even though she’s not given as much voice as she deserves.

At The Daily Beast, Jen Yamato insightfuly brings together the Rich Cohen profile of Margot Robbie with two other articles about actresses that have provoked complaints. Variety’s critic Owen Gleiberman wrote that the trailer for the new “Bridget Jones” movie made him think that Renee Zellweger “no longer looks like herself,” and thus he might not be able to enjoy the movie.  (See Thelma Adams’ response, too.)

And the usually-better Wesley Morris wrote a piece titled “How I Learned to Tolerate Blake Lively.” He spends most of the article explaining that he was expecting to see Kate Hudson starring in “The Shallows,” but no, it was another lithe blonde actress from California instead.  Yamato has some good advice: “One glaring (and fixable!) factor in this trend of vaguely lecherous, sketchy filmbro culture: Hire more women writers and editors to represent a more accurate diversity of opinions, analysis, context.”

Related Tags:


Commentary Critics Gender and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Thelma Adams on “Snow White and the Huntsman” — “It Isn’t Pretty!”

Posted on June 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thelma Adams writes thoughtfully on Yahoo! Movies about what “Snow White and the Huntsman” says about Hollywood — and audience — obsession with beauty:

Why is it so important to know who’s the fairest of them all, a question the magic mirror never answers. For Queen Ravenna, played with Joan Crawford relish by Oscar winner Charlize Theron, the answer is an exposé of Hollywood’s obsession with feminine beauty and aging, and chasing after the next unwrinkled new young thing (whether that’s Kristen Stewart or Elizabeth Olsen or Rooney Mara).

Statuesque blonde Theron, 36, tears into the beauty theme, a variation on past roles. She won her Oscar for playing a repulsive serial killer in “Monster”; last year, she courted another as the morally ugly husband stalker in “Young Adult.” In “Snow White and the Huntsman,” we see Queen Ravenna in her full glory on her wedding day as she glances back over her shoulder and a cascade of golden waves at the young girl who will grow up to be her archrival. The queen has closed the deal with the king, Snow White’s widowed father, in 24 hours on looks alone. Beauty is her power. It’s also her obsession — and her weakness. The parallel is clear: As an A-list star, Theron’s superlative beauty is her commodity, but she’s always looking over her shoulder at the next girl, and the next.

Related Tags:


Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Cannes: Where Are the Women?

Posted on May 20, 2012 at 8:00 am

Thanks to Thelma Adams for writing about the way that the prestigious Cannes Film Festival continues to overlook women

year’s Cannes Film Festival has not a single female-directed film among the 23 in competition.

I love contenders like David Cronenberg, whose “Cosmopolis”— starring Robert Pattinson — has been welcomed into the competition, and who headed the Cannes jury in 1999. I was a champion of his cerebral period drama “A Dangerous Method,” which had a terrific star turn by Keira Knightley. But, really, not a single film by a woman? I’m just gobsmacked.

It is, however, a good year to be a North American male: In addition to Cronenberg, Lee Daniels (“The Paperboy”), Jeff Nichols (“Mud”), and Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) will premiere at what is considered the most prestigious film festival on the planet. The other 51 percent be damned.

Adams points out that other top festivals like Telluride and Tribeca have no trouble finding worthy films directed by women, including the latest from Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow and “Away From Her’s” Sarah Polley.

The Wrap reports that “Before the festival began, an open letter ran in the French newspaper Le Monde. ‘Men are fond of depth in women,’ read one line of the letter, ‘but only in their cleavage.'” More than 1000 people have signed a petition calling for Cannes to include more women filmmakers and many have asked that Cannes include more women — and not just actresses — as judges.

Related Tags:


Commentary Festivals

Men, Women, and The Three Stooges

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Thanks to Thelma Adams for her thoughtful discussion of two perennial questions: Why do men like The Three Stooges?  Why don’t women like The Three Stooges?

That’s Not Funny! Why Comedy is Different for Men and Women” is Adams’ post on why men find head-bonking and eye-gouging funny while women look on, mystified.

Of course there are women who are fans of Moe, Larry, and Curly and men who don’t get the point.  But in general, men laugh at them and women do not.  As I told Thelma, there is scientific research showing that women respond to seeing others in pain with empathy while men take pleasure unless they feel it is unfair.

In other words, women empathize with the victim of violence (hence the wincing every time Moe pulls Curly’s hair out by the roots), while men experience schadenfreude when folks get their comeuppance. Men enjoy watching someone get whacked — as long as it isn’t them. Maybe it’s because every time someone else gets picked on, they get a reprieve.  It may simply be that women see pain where men see pratfalls.

Or, it may be that women identify with the victims and men identify (or fantasize about being) the perpetrator.

We certainly have a lot to laugh about, and an abundance of potential story lines — as “Bridesmaids” proved so well. Just don’t expect us to howl at “The Three Stooges,” OK?

Related Tags:


Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Movie Star Turned Nun: Dolores Hart from Elvis to the Cloister

Posted on March 5, 2012 at 8:00 am

When Delores Hart was a movie star she kissed George Hamilton and Elvis on screen.  But she left to become a nun.  She is now Morther Delores, and is now Prioress of the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut.  This year she attended the Oscars because she is the subject of one of the nominated films, a HBO documentary short called “God is the Bigger Elvis.”

Thelma Adams interviewed Mother Dolores for Yahoo! Movies and what she describes as her favorite interview of the 2012 Oscar season is a pleasure to read.  Among the highlights:

TA: What did you want to achieve? What did you want people to know?

MDH: We wanted them to take away the truth as they could perceive it. We hoped that they would, by coming into the reality of an experience, find themselves connected to something that would make sense to them. We didn’t set up an idea ahead of time. That would deny the Holy Spirit his opportunity to teach them, for them to experience what was for them to experience. We wanted to be there as the conduit, because I believe that every good teacher is meant to be the open book so that those who come in can find what they must learn to help them to know what is true.

TA: One of the fascinating aspects of cloistered life the movie reveals is that sexuality doesn’t end at the cloister doors — but perhaps our notion of it does. One nun discusses her union with others when singing, for example….

MDH: One of the key factors is that in all generations, in every generation, ever since Rome, sexuality has always been understood in one dimension, and that’s always been carnality of the experience of the male and female exploitation of one another. That’s always the limitation of sexuality, but I think that anyone who really knows what love is, you know that sexuality has the fullness of the human experience of love — that’s not limited to one or two bangs in bed. That’s not what it means. And, if it does, I think the human beings are really lost and caught in a terrible network of limitation and psychological doom, because what is our life worth?

The movie will be on HBO staring Thursday, April 5, 2012.



Related Tags:


THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik