Critique of the NYTimes Amelia Critique

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Really, Manohla Dargis. Was the following comment necessary?

“The director Mira Nair, whose only qualification appears to be that she’s a woman who has made others films about and with women (“Mississippi Masala,” “Vanity Fair”), keeps a tidy screen — it’s all very neat and carefully scrubbed.

First of all, I don’t know why you’d expect anything less than bland from Hilary Swank (excellent in “Boys Don’t Cry,” boring as sh*t in everything else) in a straightforward biopic (biopics are dull as hell. The only thing about the Amelia story that would hook me is a magical realistic investigation of her disappearance, something beyond the facts of the biography.)

But whatever, if the film is bad, fab, but why mention the qualifications of the director? Do you think McG had anything beyond a handful of music videos prior to making “Charlies Angels Kick Butt”? Did anyone ask what qualified Jonathan Demme (an older white director dude) to direct “Beloved” (story about slavery in the U.S., in particular, female slaves)? Hello?? HELLO?

In fact, Mira Nair has actually directed a bunch of movies, including “The Namesake,” and I’m not sure that she’s good or not, but she’s noteworthy b/c she’s one of a handful of female directors working in Hollywood — and she’s the only one I can think of right now who’s not white. I actually like that she’s involved with a project that isn’t a story related to Indian heritage. Gives me a little faith that others might believe that women and nonwhites can tell universal stories. (Duh.)

If you’re going to mention gender, how about mentioning the dearth of female directors in mainstream commercial film? (I think part of it has got to be b/c films are an extremely time-consuming and expensive habit, so lot of film people are folks who come from money who don’t have to be the ones to bear children in order to have a family, but that’s just my unscientific theory.)

Finally, I think it only bugged me b/c I’ve never read in a review of a film that a director’s “only qualification seems to be that he was a man.” It’s just blatantly offensive. Big ewww.

Click here for the review. There was nothing else that really struck me as interesting about this critique.

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