Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Salt!

Posted by: Michelle Haimoff

Cross-posted on genfem.com

Finally, Hollywood does what it should have been doing all along: casting women in leading roles written for men. This is what happened with “Salt” (Tom Cruise was supposed to star but pulled out because the film too closely resembled “Mission Impossible”) and Angelina Jolie nailed the role perfectly as a female action hero who substitutes cleverness and skill for brawn.

The movie has grossed $109,895,105 to date, though Jolie has gotten slack for being “glacial” and exuding too much “iciness” But as Snarky’s Cinemachine writes in a Bitch Magazine review entitled “Evelyn Salt should smile more!,” “remarks regarding Evelyn Salt’s personality are not productive critiques of the film’s deficits, particularly when they are based on extremely flawed, essentialist notions of gender.”

Additionally, all movies have faults, and most also portray women as sex objects, so Salt’s suspension of reality and dismissal of Iran as a legitimate military threat (the faults I noticed) barely register.

This movie is not only worth seeing, it is worth paying for even if you’re seeing something else, since it tries to combat the Hollywood conventional wisdom that women are useful only insofar as they are hot. (Changing Hollywood’s depictions of women seems to be one of Jolie’s life missions and why, as Vanity Fair reports, she refused to play a Bond girl but offered to play Bond).

Now let’s cast men in roles written for women. Or at least think about why the idea of that sounds so preposterous.

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