Saturday, June 15, 2013

Caricatures in film

Haven’t seen all of Sandra Bullock’s films--& don’t intend to--but I appreciated this consummate middle-class woman’s ability to portray working-class women even though her roles often make us seem pitiable (as in “While You Were Sleeping”). She’s a fine actress & particularly a fine comedic actress & by US cinema standards that is high praise--when northern European beauty or Hollywood pedigree are usually the only requirements.

Her body of films however is taking on the regrettable nature of caricature & parody & it’s hard to watch talent washed down the drain in return for being one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood. She’s become the queen of white savior films--the modern-day progeny of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn”--where white people save Black people from degradation through noblesse oblige or some other damn dime store sentiment. And she’s becoming the queen of films that demean women--from beauty queens to caricatures of heavy set but always witty & jovial women.

The onus here doesn’t rest on Sandra Bullock’s shoulders but on the entire system of misogyny & misogynist propaganda & imagery. But when they get paid nearly $60 million a film to peddle this crap it’s really hard to work up sympathy for those who are complicit.

(Photo of Melissa McCarthy playing a caricature of the "fat girl" with Sandra Bullock playing a caricature of the beauty)

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