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Stuff My Dad Says (Female Empowerment/Pre-Oscars Edition)

Date: February 16, 2011 | Posted By:

The other day, my dad (age 71) was telling me (age 35) about his 8 favorite movies of the year, since the Golden Globes and Oscars were coming up, and it occurred to me that most of them (except for #8, Inception) have multidimensional female characters who are mostly strong and empowered. And what’s cool is that the movies’ purposes are not to show strong, empowered women per se, but to tell complex stories about people in general.

Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly in WINTER'S BONE, directed by Debra Granik. Photo Credit: Sebastian M...

Jennifer Lawrence in "Winter's Bone"

My dad’s kind of a conservative, and I’m always pretty impressed by his support of good roles for women given the era in which he came of age. So I asked him to be a guest blogger. He’s not a writer, but he sent me a few words anyway. Given that he gave me this list before the Oscar nominations came out, I think he may have called a few of ‘em. Here he is.

Black Swan is many kinds of movies in one. Natalie Portman nails the role of a lifetime and not just because she studied ballet and dieted herself down.

Winter’s Bone: The main character, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence), takes us on a journey through her meager existence with many barriers in her way. Undaunted courage that we can all try to emulate in our own lives.

In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, played by Noomi Rapace, is now in movie history as a special character with grit and more grit. There has to be a special mention just for being the new female anti-hero.

Morning Glory: Ah, almost all the critics hated it, but I liked it a lot. Harrison Ford played it straight and tough. Great cast but the Rachel McAdams love story part was a dud. People were laughing in the theatre. Very witty without being cutsey.

Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart in "The Runaways."

The Runaways was made on a shoestring budget, which is what the band member’s lives were like. The Runwaways were Joan Jett’s group, but the film isn’t only about her. And it’s applicable to today, showing the travails of girl rockers who are too young for what they are going through. The epilogue tells us that Jett’s anthem, “I Love Rock and Roll”, was rejected by 50-100 people before she produced it herself. What a shame.

Secretariat isn’t really about the horse but about the owner, Penny Chenery Tweedy (Diane Lane). In 1970, Tweedy leaves Denver, where she is a housewife, to go to Virginia to take care of the arrangements of her mother’s funeral. Her father, who she is very close to, has Alzeheimer’s. He then dies and she chooses a foal, Secretariat. She takes control of the farm and the horse’s management. There’s much in this film about the chauvinism of the age. I had many a tear.

To my dad’s list, I would add True Grit (Hailee Steinfeld, yes! All girls over age 14 should see this movie), Alice In Wonderland (so many reasons), and The Fighter (Amy Adams stands up for herself, but was also a really loving character).

Have you seen any of these movies? What did you think?


–Jennifer




What Do You Think?

One Response to Stuff My Dad Says (Female Empowerment/Pre-Oscars Edition)

  1. heidih on 02-16-2011

    Undeniably some powerful female actors and roles on this list. I wish we were hearing more about female directors -- and also that Hailee was nominated as Best Actress, not 'supporting,' (supporting??? SHE WAS THE STAR!)

    But yes, some powerful roles and props to your dad :)