I Feel Pretty (2018)
A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed?
Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Sunday 6th May
Who with: Darren
Snacks: Strawberry laces, cloudy apple juice
Yes it is stupid that Amy Schumer’s Renee is treated like the ultimate dog when she’s pretty much everything the beauty ideal celebrates: white, thin, able-bodied, feminine, cis gender. Think about it like this: if Renee is made to feel this way for being just a teensy bit untoned and not as beautiful as an actual supermodel, how the fuck must the rest of us feel?
It is problematic, make no mistake. That said I still wanted to see it for myself and see what I would take from it. I didn’t hate my experience and although I’m not defending the main points – she’s not fucking fat or ugly – I did have a bit of fun.
Renee works in IT for a glossy beauty brand and has low self-esteem (not helped by being locked away in a stinky office in China Town, as far away from Fifth Avenue as possible). Like most women, so far so relateable (the first bit). She unfavorably compares herself to all other women (check) and carries herself like she should be ashamed of taking up any space at all (check again). After she hits her head during a Soulcycle spin class, she gains consciousness and believes she’s been magically transformed into a true beauty. Finally. (There’s a quite brilliant Big homage a few scenes before that I loved).
This leads Renee on a journey to her dream job and her dream relationship because she’s suddenly gained all the confidence and currency you’d imagine conventional stunning beauty would bring.
Yes, there are some fun bits as Renee enjoys her newfound looks. Her over-confidence is amusing, her best friends’ (Aidy Bryant and Busy Philipps) bemusement and then annoyance at her conceitedness are both funny and sad. Her new romance with Ethan (Rory Scovel) is cute – and the scenes with baby-voiced Avery (Williams) were among some of the best. Also, is one of Naomi Campbell‘s parents a cat? She’s looks like an actual sphinx.
The film is really trying to make a strong and valid comment but it falls flat when you consider the above points – and the rhetoric gets a little confused at times. Had Renee been played by an actual fat actress, she never would have been afforded the same opportunities as Amy Schumer would. I want to see that film, please – I want to overcome, or at least challenge, all the bullshit of the beauty myth with someone who falls far short of it.
I don’t think I’ve expressed myself in the best way – there are many fat positive bloggers that have done a better and more eloquent job that I – but I do think it’s important not to just gloss over the issues at play.
So, if you take this as a fun piece of fluff, then yes, it’s alright. Schumer didn’t make me want to gouge out my own eyes and yes, I sympathised with her feelings of inadequacy. I hear them – but the makers could have taken this premise and gone all the way. I’d be here for that.