Critics who self-identify as male take note. Your next review could get attacked for “unconscious bias.”
IndieWire.com just published a screed against a trio of male critics. Their collective crime? Panning the new Sofia Coppola thriller “The Beguiled.”
The film, a remake of Clint Eastwood’s 1971 potboiler, drew a respectable 78 percent “fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com. Colin Farrell stars in the Eastwood role, playing a Union soldier recuperating at a southern school for girls. Sexual tensions flare with co-stars Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning, as does the potential for danger.
Coppola’s film follows the general blueprint of the original film. This critic found the story ultimately tepid, although the strong visuals and authentic setting deserve praise.
Then again, I’m a male critic, too.
IndieWire writer Carrie Rickey might take me to task for that assessment. She won’t find anything sexist in my review, but she doesn’t need any gender smoking gun. She can just make stuff up using the Left’s familiar tool kit.
Here’s Rickey, who reviewed films for The Philadelphia Inquirer for 25 years, attacking USA Today critic Brian Pruitt for these “sexist” comments: “It lacks the necessary edge to make it a satisfying revenge thriller.”
Necessary edge? Is that a euphemism for a tool that men have and women lack? He likes the atmospheric cinematography while dismissing it as “artsy” and “overly pretentious.” He concludes with, “’The Beguiled’ won’t leave you hot, but more likely bothered.” So the necessary edge it lacks is female nudity that would make it more frankly erotic?
Female nudity? Where did that come from? Oh, yes, Rickey’s feverish imagination.
Next victim? Owen Gleiberman at Variety: “After stripping down the sordid subtext of the 1971 version of ‘The Beguiled,’ [Coppola] was left with a light didactic fable – a trifle of identity politics.”
Reading that, I actually said out loud, “Don’t trifle with me, Owen.” But it was the female identity politics that made my head explode. Is he really saying that when a man makes a movie from his perspective, it’s normative and when a woman makes a movie from hers, it’s identity politics?
We’ll spare you her third assault on Todd McCarthy at The Hollywood Reporter. You’re welcome.
Should movies from female directors be spared such criticism? Must male critics tiptoe for fear of offending a hardened feminist like Rickey? Sounds absurd, right? Here’s a related story tied to “The Beguiled.”
Coppola came under fire since the film’s release for not including one character from the Eastwood original -- Mae Mercer’s slave character named Hallie (or Mattie in the novel upon which the movies are based). Social Justice Warriors pounced. They called the effort a “white washing.”
That line of attack forced Coppola to come to her own defense. Guess where?
There are many examples of how slaves have been appropriated and “given a voice” by white artists. Rather than an act of denial, my decision of not including Mattie in the film comes from respect.
It’s the latest variation of, “please don’t hate me … there’s a very logical reason for what I did” from a backpedaling star.
Coppola shouldn’t have to defend herself in the first place. Why bother? SJWs will find new faults with her reasoning. And, heaven forbid she did include a slave character in her narrative that could be problematic, too.
Did the character capture the inhumanity of slavery properly? Couldn’t she have more lines? Was she empowered enough?
You cannot win with SJWs. Or with feminists who spot gender bias around every corner, real or imagined.