Friday, July 22, 2011

Will Gluck, Feminist Director?

I've written before about the feminism of Easy A. The film's director, Will Gluck, has released a new film, Friends with Benefits starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake (who have accidentally become a trend on here...) Friends with Benefits suffers from a very distinct was released just months after a movie of the exact same subject, No Strings Attached. I haven't seen No Strings Attached but I did get to see Friends with Benefits for free at an early screening, as Mr. Nerdy Feminist writes for a movie review blog. I went into the movie with pretty low expectations, simply because I'm NOT a romantic comedy type gal.

Honestly, it was a pretty "blah" movie. Nothing like Easy A, which I loved. It was at least less cliche than the typical romcom, meaning I didn't feel nauseous with the story line. What really stuck out to me was Mila Kunis' character, Jamie. She was pretty refreshing. She did claimed to want a prince charming to come sweep her off her feet, yet she was smart, independent, career driven, and not in a stereotypical field. At one point in the film, Jamie's mom basically called her out on her prince charming dream, saying something to the effect of, "You don't want someone to rescue you; you want someone to be an equal partner to you in life." The message was clear: once Jamie's mom helped her realize what she really needed, she was able to pursue a positive relationship.

Sure, the movie wasn't perfectly feminist. (Spoiler) It is Jamie, not Dylan (Timberlake) who first decides casual sex isn't possible after all. But in combination with Easy A, it made me Will Gluck a feminist? Sure, he is the producer/director and not the writer of these films, but if he is taking on projects with pretty clear themes of gender equality, anti-slut shaming, and challenging the status quo, that's got to mean something, yes? All in all, while I was mildly disappointed that Friends with Benefits didn't have the freshness, hilarity, or entertainment value of Easy A, it still was better than most other romcoms out there. That's gotta count for something.

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