The world doesn’t need another article today memorializing Carrie Fisher by focusing on her role as Leia Organa in the Star Wars saga, so I apologize that this post adds to the seemingly endless recollections of Fisher’s most famous role. She should be, and thankfully has been, celebrated worldwide today as much for her abilities as a novelist and screenwriter, particularly her semi-autobiographical novel Postcards from the Edge along with the film it was based on and the countless scripts she worked on and improved throughout her career, as for her performance as Leia. She should be remembered for her biting sense of humor, her eagerness to call out bullshit wherever she saw it, especially in the world of movies and celebrities, and her bravery in openly discussing her battles with addiction and bipolar disorder, giving a voice to struggles that are all too common yet which we frequently pretend don’t exist. And of course her career as an actress was far more diverse and expansive than just Star Wars, with supporting roles in classics like When Harry Met Sally…, Hannah and Her Sisters, and The Blues Brothers to countless appearances on television. Carrie Fisher was far, far more than Leia, and yet the role that she so expertly defined will be the one that will forever define her, just as the character of Leia helped to define my views of what a hero should look like. Through Leia, Carrie Fisher taught me to be a feminist, long before I even knew what a feminist was.
Cinderella has generally received good reviews (currently at 84% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s had its fair share of detractors, particularly when it comes to how the film relates to feminism. I consider myself a feminist, as equality for women is one of my core beliefs and goals, so I’ve found myself in the week after seeing Cinderella asking a question: “Is there a feminist interpretation of Cinderella?” Many people probably already have an answer to that question, formed without having seen the movie. Some will answer, “No, of course there isn’t,” as everyone knows the story and most of us have seen the 1950 Disney animated version and can base an opinion from that. Others will answer, “Who cares?” either because they’re not interested in feminism, or they actually dislike feminist ideas entirely. This article isn’t for them, but it’s for people like me, who passionately support feminism but who also loved Cinderella. The question is whether we can reconcile these two, seemingly mutually exclusive, views.
In a World… is funny, random, charmingly sweet, a little romantic and an impressive feature length writing, producing and directing debut by star Lake Bell. It’s also strongly feminist, but in a way that feels realistic while still sending a clear message. The film, which was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival, tells the story of Carol Solomon, a struggling vocal coach whose father, Sam Soto, is one of the famous kings of the movie trailer voice-over industry. You would think with a father who is a legend in the industry that Carol would have an easy way into the business, too, but her father not only is uninterested in giving her handouts (which his therapist tells him is just enabling Carol) but also doesn’t think women have any place in the industry. It’s a boy’s only club, with Sam spending his time and energy promoting sleazeball Guztav Warner as the next generation of voice over powerhouse instead of his own daughter. Sam makes his opinions clear to Carol before kicking her out of the house so that Sam’s groupie girlfriend can move in instead (nevermind the fact that she’s a year younger than his daughter.)
So Carol moves in with her sister and brother-in-law, Continue reading