The Lesbian Gaze of “Carol”

Todd Haynes’ film Carol—like the novel The Price of Salt on which it is based—examines the blossoming love between (you guessed it) Carol, a high society, impeccably dressed married mother, and Therese, a younger woman working at Frankenberg’s department store over the Christmas season. Carol, played exquisitely by Cate Blanchett, is navigating the end of […]

While Heartfelt, “The Danish Girl” Recycles Tired Trans Tropes

The Danish Girl takes the “touchy” subject of transgender artist Lili Elbe’s life and renders it into a beautifully artistic film. However, rather than unraveling the complexities of transgender identity, the film focuses too literally on touching, on the feel of fabric, hosiery, skin, lipstick, high heels—as if one can “cross” to “the other side” of […]

Final “Hunger Games” Film Ends on a Low Note, But JLaw Still Soars

Mockingjay — Part 2, the final film of The Hunger Games series, is more of an action flick than any of the other iterations. Yet, thanks to its condemnation of greed, its depiction of oil as a killer bent on drowning all in its wake, its satirizing of news as infotainment propaganda and its denunciation […]

Guillermo Goes Gothic in the Grrrl-Powered Crimson Peak

WARNING: SPOILERS Forget the phallic-tongued vampires populating The Strain and go for the sumptuously Gothic Crimson Peak. As with Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak is a woman-centered and driven narrative brimming with claustrophobic imagery and red-hued horror. While Pan’s Labyrinth incorporated fairytale structure and imagery to tell a political tale of post-civil war Spain, Crimson Peak draws on the gothic genre to meditate on the dangers of inherited class privilege. More […]

Freeheld Beautifully Captures the Notion that “Love Is Love”

Love is forged in small moments. Like ragged bits of bottles polished into sea glass, Freeheld‘s lead characters, Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), are rugged and tough, tumbled unwittingly by societal pressures and personal illness into gems fighting for LGBTQ equality. In one early scene in the film—which is based on the true […]

Why You MUST See Mad Max This Weekend

A version of this article originally appeared on Skirt Collective Much has been made of the call by Aaron Clarey in his piece “Why You Should Not Go See ‘Mad Max: Feminist Road.’” As many articles have discussed Clarey’s ridiculous, hyper-macho douchery, (for example, here, here and here), I will instead offer a counter call: Instead of “mancotting” the film as Clarey […]

How Ex Machina Fails to be Radical

Reprinted with permission from Skirt Collective I am going to admit: Ex Machina profoundly disturbed me—so much so that at one point I had to leave the theatre and catch my breath. It is very rare for me to walk out of a film. Rarer still for me to walk out not because the film […]

Are Divergents Feminists in Disguise?

Last year the first film of the Divergent series made close to $200 million, putting it almost in league with The Hunger Games. While the latter dystopian trilogy, featuring the intrepid Katniss Everdeen, is richer and more politically nuanced, the Divergent series—now weighing in with a second film, Insurgent—also offers relevant political critique and a realistic […]

“The Lazarus Effect” Is No “Frankenstein”

The Lazarus Effect focuses on reviving the dead—hardly a new concept—and few texts have done as well as Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein. The Lazarus Effect is no Frankenstein, but, as in that novel, betrayal, questionable ethics and a fascination with the possibilities of science frame the narrative. The plot follows a team of medical scientists […]

“It Follows”: A Horror Film That Doesn’t Blame the Victim for Having Sex

It Follows has an uncanny eye for detail, using jump cuts, long takes and a heavy musical score to build a horror/arthouse film that suggests very ominous things about sexuality, sexual agency and sexual coercion/abuse. The second film from director David Robert Mitchell, It Follows draws upon ’70s and ’80s horrors flicks, filling the screen […]