July 10, 2008

Hancock: Super man, Super woman, super chic???

Here is guest post from screenwriter, and author Amy Ferris. (warning- spoilers included)

Maybe it’s just me.

I want to preface this by saying that I liked the movie Hancock. Much more than I thought I would. I like Will Smith. He’s smart and sexy and has a great face. And I really like that guy Bateman. Talk about smart and sexy and wow, what a great, great face – he’s funny, and charming and easy, in other words - effortless.

And for a good chunk of the movie I could relate to Charlize Theron. I could relate to her being a mom (although, truth be told, I don’t have kids, but I could relate to her balancing children, husband, life…), I could relate to the Thursday night meatball and spaghetti dinners (although…another truth, my husband is a vegetarian, so we don’t eat meatballs. I eat meatballs, I actually sneak eating meatballs, but that’s another story…), I could relate to her relationship with her husband (finally…need I say more?). And she’s a wonderful, gorgeous, talented actress. Truly. She lights up the screen.

But, and this is again, maybe just me – I could not relate at all when she turned into Super Woman. You know how Superman runs into a phone booth, spins, and boom – head to toe costume, cape, slicked back hair? I can only imagine this Super Woman dashing into a Sephora store, putting on every black kohl eyeliner and hair straightening balm imaginable, and once all that make-up is meticulously applied, she explodes out and lands in H & M, where, in a flurry, manages to try on, and buys (or borrows) a “skintight” black “to the belly button” low-cut tee, skintight black pants, and matching “to the knee” leather boots.

And then of course, all dolled up in her Superwoman ensemble, she goes toe to toe with Hancock.

My husband, who was now sitting on the edge of his seat, (prior to her costume change, he was casually leaning back eating popcorn) says audibly, “God. Jesus. Whoa.” I turn to him, and tell him to sit back, and eat the popcorn.

My point is: I thought Charlize Theron was pretty cool to begin with. She was a mom, a wife, she had a career, she loved her family, she had emotional issues, she had secrets, and she made love to her husband. This to me is a superwoman. I am at a point in my life when getting out of bed can seem miraculous. Before all the black kohl eyeliner, I thought she was beautiful and simple, and smart, and elegant – and a bit disheveled, and had qualities that most women can relate to. Except for the long legs. Most women I know are hoping that Spanx comes out with a leg lengthener along with the tummy tuck and thigh reducer.

Having her wear black eyeliner and skin tight clothing is not my idea of a superwoman, or superhero.

I wonder if a woman had directed this movie, if she would have made Charlize’s spirit -- her heart, her passion, her commitment the very qualities that made her super. I understand all the subtext, the need for sexiness, and theatrics – I understand the need to make people seem larger than life. I understand the need for a make-up artist. I do. But I think the message could have been a bit louder had she stayed exactly who she was, and manifested her dormant power, proving that equality between men and women is not because a woman is wearing high heels and therefore can look a man straight in the eye, but because she has the ability to kick ass barefoot.

- Amy Ferris is an author, a screenwriter, a television writer and a journalist, she lives in Pennsylvania and New York.
photo: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos