“Horse Girl” (2020) is an oddity of a film, but a moving and harrowing one at that. Alison Brie stars and co-wrote it with director Jeff Baena, known for his ability to construct a marriage of dark subject matter and comedy. Here, there’s definitely a gloom, and while there is some humor, “Horse Girl” is mostly a rabbit hole down one woman’s detachment from reality. It also provides Brie, an incredibly talented and versatile actress, a chance to embody a role entirely. While I missed the film at Sundance, I was able to chat with Brie briefly, and I know how personal this story was to her. Even without that context, it’s clear. It is a tour de force for Brie, showing her devotion to the performance in every way.
“Promising Young Woman” is one of those films that begins with a very good idea. Ideas that involve the camera lasciviously objectifying men on a dance floor the way women typically are. Granted, it's played for laughs rather than sex appeal, since there's nothing resembling eye candy, but you can't have everything. Or maybe it's an early indicator of what the movie's real agenda is, which is condemning anyone who violates its ideas of what good behaviour should be, rather than people who suffer from such expectations. Not that it's a bad idea to condemn violence, which is the real villain in “Promising Young Woman.” In case the marketing left any doubt, the movie addresses a very specific kind of violence that dares not speak its name here.
January 20th, 2020 is a date that will go down in infamy as the end of one the greatest eras in modern television : the brief but powerful reign of "Bojack Horseman", star of screen and book. Five and a half moving, funny, poignant, brilliant seasons have left little doubt that Raphael Bob Waksberg and friends will knock the final six episodes out of the park but there are many questions left about how our dubious hero will say his final goodbyes. Besides "The Office" ( the soundtrack of my life) there are few shows I have examined as carefully or studied as intensely as "Bojack Horseman". It is the only show I’ve ever loved enough to consider a fan tattoo. My careful examination of a show that rewards careful examination has revealed the following : Bojack Horseman’s (Will Arnett) life is in danger.
It is a show run by women, about women, and about women using their bodies not for the benefit of men but for the benefit of themselves. As someone who has been inundated with images of how a woman should look and can’t look, it is powerful see a group of women who show that there is no wrong way to look or be or exist. That every woman has strength in her.
At the 2018 New York Film Festival, actress Carey Mulligan was asked how she could get into character for someone as unlikable as Jeannette in “Wildlife” (2018). Mulligan explained to the shortsighted audience member that likability is more than niceness. It is finding a connection in someone. Mulligan transformed herself into Jeannette, a young mother who, while her husband is away, has an affair as she tries to find herself again. It is a beautiful performance about the way definitions can be thrust upon and shackle women. So, what made her unlikable? Was it the infidelity? The selfishness? The uncomfortable self-exploration? It seems that male characters can do and be those things. We call them “complex” or “complicated.” We label them the “anti-hero.” But what makes that journey different for women?
GLOW - The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling - is a based-on-a-true-concept type sitcom (? drama ? sit-ma ?) about a women’s wrestling in the eighties. It’s a feminist by default excuse to recreate the most extreme looks of 80s women's fashion and some of the most cliched of 80s women's problems with some kitschy wrestling scenes and liberal politics thrown in for good measure. Like the "A-Team" meets "A League of Their Own" meets "Tiffany" but with heart.