I have been watching a LOT of TV shows on Netflix of late, some (my Husband) would say too many, and so I have decided to take a little break from the TV shows and do a little experiment with movies because I want to tie a few things together…. movies, my blog and VALENTINES! Before you turn and walk away I am not one of those hard core smushy folks but nor do I fall into the hopelessly cynical camp. I float somewhere in the middle but I do like the opportunity it gives for thought experiments like this.
Over the next few weeks I am going to try and watch a movie a day whose general theme is considered to be romance or love. I am going to attempt to do so with a open and aware mind about what kind of messages the movie is sending me about love, relationships and my place as woman in the world. I plan to choose from a cross sections of movies including classic, Rom-Com, foreign and WTF. Some I will have never seen and some I will be watching again but with fresh eyes.
I am going to kick it off this evening with a classic which I have always meant to watch but somehow never got round to… Funny Girl.
Made in 1968 and staring the incredibly handsome Omar Sharif and a STUNNING Barbara Streisand in her first major film role.
Okay first off HOW have I never seen this movie?? I knew most of the songs but into context they were so much better.
There are things that strike me right out of the gate, the most significant is that Fanny doesn’t consider herself to be beautiful. She doesn’t look like the other girls so of course she isn’t pretty! Hokum! It is so painful for me to watch this STUNNING creature devalue herself, as so many others. This is a thing that happens ALL the time in real life. People aren’t considered pretty because there is something different about them. Babs has little boobs and a decidedly Hebraic nose but she is exquist to look at, to listen to. All the time we get these messages that you can’t be pretty… and have a big nose. You can’t be pretty … and be over weight.
So Fanny Brice develops the hard shell of humor, because it IS okay to be funny if you have a big nose, are over weight or have a lisp, ESPECIALLY if that humor is self deprecating.
Of course near the end of the first act something MAJOR changes with Fanny, she falls in love. I guess it is meant to be supper romantic when she throw her career to the wind and runs off to follow Nick across the ocean but again I found it painful to watch, it smacked of desperation. It was the same in the second act when she and Nick are talking about marriage on the ship. I actually had to pause and walk away because I was so embarrassed by her desperation. I had heard the song Sadie Sadie Married Lady a hundred times in my life but it wasn’t until tonight it really sunk in. Nothing else matters if you can land a husband…. even if that husband gambles away your home or lands in prison.
I think the worst moment for me is at the court house when she say everything is all her fault. I want to crawl through the screen and shake her! Which of course was why I was so surprised in the last 10 minutes of the movie. I admit it, I cried when she sang “My Man”.
The end result, I would watch this movie again and again but I won’t be looking to it for relationship advice. 😉