By Jennifer Merin
WeNews film critic
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Movies directed by Jodie Foster, Massy Tadjedin and Niki Caro burst into movie theaters in May. It's a good thing. We need some reassurance after the latest study pointing to Hollywood's minimizing treatment of women on screen and off.
(WOMENSENEWS)--May films are opening on the heels of the latest disheartening research into Hollywood's minimizing treatment of women, on screen and off.
Analyzing stats derived from 2008's top grossing 100 films, a USC Annenberg School of Communications study--posted on its Web site April 22--finds high percentages of female teen characters costumed in scanty, sexually provocative clothing with exposed cleavage, midriff and-or upper thighs. For male teens, the numbers were significantly lower.
The report also found that for every woman who directed, wrote or produced a movie in 2008, there were nearly five men chosen for the same creative positions.
That's depressing. But a bunch of great movies opening this month are made by women and put women in terrific, serious roles. See them to show your support!
One is Jodie Foster's latest directorial effort, the much-anticipated "The Beaver," which opened May 6. It's an unusual family drama in which Foster also stars as Meredith, whose husband (Mel Gibson) finds relief from severe depression and social alienation by expressing himself through his alter ego, an ever present beaver hand puppet. Don't let Gibson's infamous off-screen misogynistic tirades dissuade you from seeing this film. It touches in a positive and loving way on many important contemporary family and relationship issues.
Another is "Last Night," written and directed by Massy Tadjedin, which also opened May 6. It stars Keira Knightley and Sam Worthington as a happily married couple who face difficult issues of fidelity when they spend a night apart: he on a business trip with an attractive colleague (Eva Mendes) and she in a chance encounter with a former lover (Guillaume Canet). This is a steamy and seductive film and as far as what else happens, you'll find no spoilers here.
On May 6 "An Invisible Sign," Marilyn Agrelo's first feature, also opened. It's based on Aimee Bender's sweet and quirky novel about Mona (Jessica Alba), who had escaped her childhood emotional traumas by focusing on heady mathematical equations and who, as a shy and troubled 20-something, finds her vocation in teaching math at a grade school. There she reluctantly allows a handsome science teacher to add unexpected romance to her life's equation.