March 10, 2004

Pretty + Ugly = Prizes

We just watched a bootleg copy of Monster. I think it was one of the most depressing movies I have ever seen. I assumed that Charlize Theron was going to be sort of annoying, the way Nichole Kidman was when she did the prosthetic nose thing, but Charlize was actually really good and this time the makeup was convincing, unlike that awful glued on nose.

The only thing that bugs me is that whole pretty-girl-goes-ugly-and-wins-an-Oscar thing is really obvious and obnoxious. At times it almost seems like these movies are just mocking their subjects. The real Virginia Woolf was not as frumpy as they made her out to be in The Hours and every time there was some mention of Charlize’s character being beautiful you felt like the person was weird or lying. If she had been played by anyone else there wouldn’t have been so much emphasis on her looks, she just would have been who she was.

I guess Charlize was good though, and maybe they just don’t make deep roles for pretty girls because the audience doesn’t trust them. The one interesting thing about it was that it made you feel like the character could have gone either way, like if she hadn’t had such a rough lot in life she might have been an Oscar winning movie star. It really did convince you that ultimately she was innocent.

My favorite thing about the movie was the way it combined corniness and heartbreaking tragedy, I think this is what made it so real. The way they set the love scene at the roller rink with some ridiculous 80’s song playing, somehow this made it really genuine. It made me think of this article I recently read about evidence from the Columbine shooting being shown to the public. The article mentioned all these everyday objects—regular high school things and odd relics of Middle America, suddenly these little things had become apart of this catastrophic event and had taken on a whole new significance. One woman’s daughter had been killed. She was an X-files fan, so her mother made a pin with her daughter’s picture and the words “the truth is out there” printed below. There is something so cheesy and at the same time so depressing and heartfelt about this detail.

Posted by on March 10, 2004 11:37 PM