I got to go to another movie premiere! Not too long before, I told myself that I would take the next one I got offered (I’ve been a snob about going to these screenings bc of the whole stand in line outside for an hour+ and missing yoga thing). Then a couple days after I’d excitedly accepted, a friend asked me to be their plus one for this and their tickets were slightly more guaranteed than mine. Yes please!!
We were at the Regency Village theater, one of those single screen joints in Westwood. We were ushered in fairly early and felt like we had the run of the theater, taking videos and people watching. I spied Colin Hanks coming in early and just stared at him for a while. Once we got closer to the movie start time, I noticed some of the stars of the film: Emily Ratajkowski and a blonde pixie cut that had to belong to Michelle Williams. Soon Amy Schumer was brought out in front of the screen to intro the film. She was absolutely radiant.
As I start talking about my feelings towards the movie, let me just start with this: I am EXACTLY who this movie is targeting. EXACTLY. I am a woman who lacks self confidence, who has trouble believing she’s beautiful, who has social anxiety, who generally doesn’t expect most people to like her. This movie was practically made to speak directly to me. And oh boy, was that message received. I was in tears by the time we reached the end credits, and I had a pretty lengthy and heartfelt convo with my movie buddy about it on the drive home.
The movie is about a woman who is basically all the things I just said I am, and that lack of self confidence pulls her into a depression and holds her back from doing anything truly awesome in her life. After a seemingly random head injury, she wakes up and suddenly sees herself as beautiful. Everything changes for her. She starts living with total confidence and completely changes her life around. And some funny stuff happens along the way.
Not everyone is digging this movie, and I get it. There’s basically two main points of the criticism that I’m hearing. The first is that the humor wasn’t there. That’s a tough one, because humor is subjective. I’ve always found Amy Schumer funny, but I know we’re not a solid majority. In this film, I think it was Michelle Williams that stole the show, completely out of nowhere. We all know that lady is fantastic, but we gotta get her into more comedic roles. Anyways, those who are focusing on the comedy are either missing the point of the film (the message of self confidence), and are possibly in a place where that message isn’t so resonant. Good for them. If you’re already able to live your life with that attitude, and you can nitpick about seeing someone else’s journey to that space, that’s awesome for you, but please be empathetic to the rest of us.
The other major criticism I’m hearing is along the lines of “but Amy is already pretty to begin with” or “why are we making such a big deal about a perfect body image”. Again, missing the point. There’s a reason that they didn’t pull a Shallow Hal and have a super model play the “beautiful” version. The point the film is making is that the battle is internal. She is fully capable of being successful and desired, she just needed to believe that. In her mind, she wasn’t those things, and that’s why no one saw her that way. Once she believed she was worthy, and carried herself accordingly, then other people saw it as well. Also, thinking about this point a bit more, for the people saying she’s too pretty to be so down on herself, does that mean that there is a threshold where they believe that a lack of self worth is deserved? I should hope not…
I will also point out that there was an effort made to show that some of the seemingly “perfect” women had their own insecurities to deal with. I would have been interested to see that expanded to more than just a scene or two, but I get that this is meant to be one person’s complete story. Sure, there’s a million other perspectives they could bring in, but I feel that going too wide would dilute what it was trying to do.
There were some awkward scenes where newly confident Renee (character name that I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet) is being judged by people who don’t believe she deserves to be where she is. To me, those scenes highlighted the point (that my therapist has tried many times to make to me) that if anyone has a problem with her, it’s really on them. Their negative attitudes towards her say so much more about them and their issues, and she should just take it in stride and continue being her beautiful self.
This message is something I’ve struggled with for so long. It’s one thing to hear the platitudes of “girl power!” and such, but it’s another to see it illustrated on screen. Seeing how easy it could potentially all come, just with a change of mindset. I can’t possibly express how much it means to see that. It came thru even from the trailer, and my soul has just been craving this movie and its affirmation. Watching Renee come to terms with that thought and realize how wonderful she actually is was more than I can put into words. I don’t care if parts of the story were thin or the comedy fell flat. The ideas the film was trying to convey are worth so much more than that, just like I’m worth so much more than I let myself believe. Anyone with a lack of self confidence needs to see this movie, especially us ladies.
I Feel Pretty – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/