Amy’s 2024 Viewing Roundup

January 9th, 2024

As we embark on a new year of adventure and insane political turmoil, it’s a great time to escape into movie-watching and enjoy the plethora of interesting movies at the local theater or on a streaming service. It can also help distract us from the guilt regarding all the New Year’s resolutions that we have already broken and get us through the long winter ahead of us. Much happiness in the New Year!


KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON (Streaming on Apple): Martin Scorsese has been criticized for not featuring more female characters in his films. There might be some merit to the criticism but it also seems a bit harsh in light of the fact that he’s responsible for films which feature diverse-and rich-portrayals of women going back for half a century. ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, GOOD FELLAS and RAGING BULL are just some examples of his films that portray strong female protagonists who demonstrate courage, independence and street smarts even when they find themselves in a world that doesn’t always reward such qualities in women. KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON can be added to the list of Scorsese films which take seriously the stories of women, portraying the dangers that often come with the territory of being “the fairer sex.” This film is the true-and shocking-story of what happens to the Osage Tribe when they discover oil on their land and overnight become among the richest people in the world. While the horrible violence is directed at all of the Osage people, it’s the women of the tribe who are depicted as being particularly vulnerable to being preyed upon and exploited due to the added burden of sex based discrimination. Lily Gladstone stars as Mollie Burkhart, a Native American who is targeted by unscrupulous men trying to enrich themselves by entrenching themselves into their lives. She doesn’t depict Mollie as a victim despite the blatant racism that she is forced to contend with-she is clearly smarter than the men seeking to exploit her and relishes in the limited power that her wealth temporarily gives her. Gladstone dominates the film even when she doesn’t grace the screen because it’s her story in which the audience is invested and her personal tragedy drives the film. This film marks one of the first times that a Native American woman stars in a major studio film and she deserves to make film history in the coming year as one of the first indigenous American woman to be nominated for an Academy Award. Whether or not her groundbreaking performance open the doors for other Native American actors remains to be seen but her success in this movie proves that Native American actors have a place starring in major studio films beyond the stereotypical roles to which they were once relegated.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE (In Theaters and VOD): Writer Shere Hite is one of the most influential feminist intellectuals of the twentieth century that no one remembers or has even heard of. This documentary reflects on her writings and legacy while pondering her erasure from the collective memory of American society. She became a notorious public figure when her controversial book “The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality” was published in 1976. Her book made public the private feelings that women harbored regarding their satisfaction with their sex lives. When her anonymous research found that women found their sexual experiences to be lacking and unfulfilling, the male dominated media landscape attacked her on such a personal level that the audience is left wondering why so many took her research so personally and if perhaps they had something to hide. She ignited a national debate that elevated women’s sexual pleasure to such a position of importance that feminists recognized it as an issue that should be treated as an integral part of the women’s movement. It’s hard to fathom that it was once considered radical that women had a right to not only freely engage in sex but to actually enjoy the experience. Her second novel “The Hite Report on Male Sexuality” proved even more controversial as she released the findings from the anonymous surveys she conducted with men that detailed their loneliness and internal struggles of feeling inadequate. When she published her second novel the public savaging became so fierce that she fled the US and lived in Europe as an expatriate. So why has this once iconic figure been so thoroughly erased from history? Why are so many feminists unfamiliar with her groundbreaking work? Perhaps because her message challenged the status quo and was misinterpreted when critics falsely claimed that she was diminishing the importance of men. At one point while being grilled during an interview she says, “Equality doesn’t seem dangerous to me.” The powers that be didn’t agree with the sentiment and that may explain why she’s largely lost to history.





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