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Searching for Debra Winger back to product details

A terrific documentary about women in film
written by MKaliher September 20, 2008 - 11:36 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Rosanna Arquette, who herself could serve as a poster child for exploited women in film, provides in this wonderful documentary a long-overdue discussion of the industry's lack of appreciation for its female actors. Among the topics openly discussed (god forbid) is the fact that most American films made today are created for the adolescent male, or middle-aged males with adolescent sensibilities. [I would characterize the target audience as the adolescent white suburban male, but hey, that's just me.]

While the editing is a bit disjointed, Ms. Arquette has to be commended for even daring to breach the topic in our sex- and youth-obsessed culture--especially given her own experience, which some might use to dismiss the film as a personal complaint. So far as I know, hers is the only film to even approach the topic. It comes down to this: how is it that a run-of-the-mill actor like 60-something Sean Connery is still able to find roles, while more accomplished female actors like Debra Winger and Holly Hunter, who are much younger, are passed over? Do we have different standards for men and women in film? This, certainly, seems to be the case, as men are allowed to age gracefully, while women--regardless of how man breast implants, Botox injections, and face-lifts they endure--are discarded as unappealing when they reach a certain age.

Ms. Arquette interviews dozens of such women in the film, and they uniformly bemoan the lack of substantive roles for women in middle age and beyond, and question why. Suprisingly, it is the middling talent Jane Fonda who really describes the joy of acting some women experience toward the end of the film. And--no surprise here--it is Salma Hayek who proposes a solution: we need more female film writers and directors, who may be better able to appreciate what mature female actors can bring to the screen--more writers and directors (my addition) like Lone Scherfig.

If you appreciate film acting not directed to the adolescent male, and have ever wondered why the industry discards women when they are just approaching the peak of their skill in the craft, this is a documentary you will want to see.


(Average 5.69)
32 Votes
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