Well, here we are — this month marks a full year since Americans began the Pandemic lifestyle. And while it looks like we’re finally nearing a light at the end of this dark tunnel, some days it’s hard not to bang one’s head repeatedly against the Covid wall. Nevertheless, for those of us fortunate enough to have our health, a warm, safe place to call home and access to a TV (ideally outfitted with subscription programming), we sure have a leg up on our ancestors who endured the 1918 flu pandemic with far fewer entertainment options. In fact, it seems safe to say there is something available for just about every taste, mood and whim anybody could possibly develop. This past month, I spent time with outlaw women (and a few men) who do bad things for good reasons, and Amy hung out with a diverse array of inspiring characters on a journey through foreign lands, different decades and even outer space.
Now that’s entertainment!
A PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (movie, 2020 Rent on Prime): I was so hoping Emerald Fennel’s feature debut would live up to its thrilling premise, and it absolutely did. A woman, played masterfully by Carey Mulligan, targets male sexual predators (and their enablers) and turns the tables on them in startling and surprising ways. The protagonist may be hard to warm up to at first and, like me, you might have some concerns about her feminist priorities early on. But stick with it. The film delivers more and more context as the story progresses right up to the last climactic, poignant second.
M.F.A. (movie, 2017, Prime) A perfect companion piece to A PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, this dark thriller features an unforgettable female protagonist who makes a compelling good case for DIY justice when all else fails with some remarkably poignant lines. When a rape victim from her support group reminds her “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” she wisely retorts, “the whole world is blind.” And her graduation speech is one for the history books. Be warned, there are two rape scenes of which I personally only caught glimpses of through my fingers, however, kudos to director Natalia Leite for showing each assault for what it was without sexualizing the attack as many male directors have been known to do.
GOOD GIRLS (series, current, Netflix): With all the action, suspense and high stakes of BREAKING BAD and OZARK, GOOD GIRLS offers something absent from the others, three lovable female protagonists who put their friendship with each other before everything else. And though it can get pretty dark at times— especially in the new season—it’s also chock full of heart and humor. More exciting still, the women are wonderfully feminine in the best possible ways, putting their skills as mothers and women to clever and innovative use.
IMPOSTORS (series, 2014 Netflix): Like GOOD GIRLS, this one’s a dark comedy that swings between both ends of its genre spectrum offering out loud laughs comingling with nail-biting gasps. In short, three victims of a con artist join forces to get justice only to become con artists themselves. What’s fun about this one is the non-discriminatory approach to gender dynamics. The male and female characters alike have their kickass moments, their emotionally vulnerable moments and everything in between—except maybe Uma Thurman as the inimitable Lenny Cohen, who is just a rockin’ no-nonsense badass villain who’s a pleasure to behold every second she’s on screen. Somebody please give Uma as Lenny her own show.
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (movie, 2020, free on Prime): The directorial debut of African American Regina King features the dramatic retelling of the night legends Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown gather to discuss the struggles of the Civil Rights era and the burden of racism. Regina King is getting Oscar buzz as an Oscar Nominee for Best Director, a first for a Black woman.
FRIDA (movie, 2002, available On Demand/Prime): This biopic documents the radical life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, focusing on her artistic talents, physical pain, and tempestuous relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera. The film now has an added poignancy given the revelations that have come to light regarding the sexual harassment that actress Salma Hayek endured from a certain predatory producer during filming.
ALIEN (movie, 1979, available On Demand/HBO Max): One of the greatest science fiction horror films ever produced, it’s also acclaimed for creating one of the most iconic feminist characters in cinematic history. Sigourney Weaver gives a groundbreaking performance as fierce protagonist Ellen Ripley.
We’ll be back in two weeks with Part Two of Amy’s ongoing examination of THE CROWN, but before we take off, we just want to wish Isabel Weber, who’s taking an indefinite hiatus (due to outside exciting new career demands), the best of luck with her new endeavors. Thanks for your contributions, Isabel!
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