I saw my oldest friend yesterday, oldest by the length of our lifelong friendship. We decided to see a movie. Seemed like a safe activity given the potpourri of Best Picture nominees in theaters. American Hustle was the only film available before 10 am at our selected venue. Perfect, we thought. Everyone adores it.
I loved the first scene, Christian Bale (!!!!!) as Irving, painstakingly arranging his combover. After that, it was downhill. About halfway through, I wondered two things: 1) How can Jennifer Lawrence possibly be nominated for Best Supporting Actress when she’s had virtually no screentime? 2) How much longer can I stand to watch?
When the credits began to roll, I turned to my friend and said, “That movie is nominated for Best Picture.” She, being an excellent therapist, replied with an open-ended, “Well –“ I fussed and fumed all the way home, wondering why this “comedy” left me disgruntled, cranky, and depressed.
I figured it out.
Jennifer Lawrence (Rosalyn) is reduced to a cliché, a nail polish sniffing, intellectually challenged, cocktail guzzling housewife who proclaims something to the effect of “…all I ever wanted was to be loved.” Puh-lease. The Mafia man who lures her away from Irving says (again, this might be a paraphrase), “You’re too beautiful to be unhappy.” And the clip that pops up everywhere shows Rosalyn crawling sensually across her bed, a scene that lasted all of five seconds.
Amy Adams’ Sydney wields her feminine wiles to get her way, seduction as a means to an end. In a flashback (of course it had to be a flashback, otherwise no nipple tassels), we learn she used to work as an exotic dancer. Seriously? Can’t a woman be down-on-her-luck in any other profession? Ms. Adams’ body is groped, frisked, handcuffed, fondled, and displayed. In the one sex scene, we see her, not Christian Bale.
Out of curiosity, I googled the movie. No shock to discover it was written, directed, produced (9/10), filmed, musicked, edited, costumed (that explains a few things), and art directed by MEN. I realize this patriarchal Hollywood theme is old news. I just don’t get out that much.
I wouldn’t call American Hustle a comedy. I’d call it yet another pompous documentary of the Hollywood Boys Club. If Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell win for Best Original Screenplay, I will seriously puke up my lunch. (“…all I ever wanted was to be loved.” <hairball>)
Can we get some women writers and directors and producers and editors and cinematographers please? And don’t even get me started on the whole ABSCAM Arab Sheikh subplot.
Give me Lawrence in The Hunger Games (written by Suzanne Collins, 6/11 women producers) and Adams in Julie and Julia (directed and written by women, 4/11 women producers). They deserve better than American Hustle.