Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday Night Smashmortion Blogging

Via Jezebel (vote for Jezebel for Blog of the Year in the 2008 Bloggies, pls!), we find this bit of criticism from the Village Voice's film critic:

"There can be no female agency in Knocked Up, Waitress, and Juno -- not because they are comedies, but because, in each scenario, unwanted pregnancy is the joke played (by God?) on the female lead. As the most successful of the preg protags, she who is Knocked Up is necessarily the most smacked down -- the glass ceiling turns out to be Alison's own uterus. Jenna and Juno are less formidable, but unexpected fertility mocks their dreams of autonomy. All three are taught their place by their own bodies--and what's more, they learn to like it."

Frankly, I found the character of Juno to be in possession of a ton of autonomy. But that's besides the point. Had Alison or Juno (I have not seen Waitress yet, sorry) chosen to have an abortion, would that have really been evidence of "female agency" or "autonomy?" No. Of course not. The situation would have been merely a flipped script that described a different set of social inequities. The driver behind Alison's decision would have been her career (inequity: different set of consequences for women who have sex). The driver behind Juno's decision would have been her youth (inequity: Uhm...the same thing).

Anyway, I think abortions should be safe and legal. I'd be interested in seeing a movie about how "female agency" and "autonomy" are affected by the decision to have an abortion. But someone will have know...make a movie about this topic. I'm really weary of critics pretending that Knocked Up and Juno meet these qualifications. The insistence is stupid. It's like saying Citizen Kane is about sledding.


Clayton said...

the village voice and pitchfork reviews. bleh. one's like the high school version of the other, but they're both just annoying.

Brian said...

I recommend you check out the Romanian film 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Months, which comes out in DC on Friday. It's about a woman who attempts to get an abortion during the final years of Ceau┼čescu's regime when abortion were illegal. To politicize the plot a bit, it shows what would happen here if abortion were to be outlawed. Beyond the abortion angle, it's an excellent film that deserves a wider audience than it will presumably get