Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Movie Review: "Funny Face" (1957)

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Movie"Funny Face"
Director: Stanley Donen
Year: 1957
Rating: UR
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

A fashion magazine gets an idea for a new series with a focus on the sophisticated woman. The magazine's photography Dick Avery (Fred Astaire) finds the perfect face of the series in book store clerk Jo Stockton (Audrey Hepburn). She is reluctant to become a model, but agrees to take the job in order to fulfill her dream of going to Paris. 

It's often very difficult in 2015 to go back and watch some of these older classic films and see how poorly they have aged. We really try our best not to look at these 1950's films through 21st century eyes, but it gets increasingly more difficult not to raise an eyebrow or two at the commonplace sexism that occurs throughout "Funny Face." Really, it's not just this movie, but many from this decade, and many that came before it. We're sure this film may have been considered even mildly progressive at the time considering its main protagonist is an intellectual woman, but when a song like "Think Pink!" has the lyric, "But tell her if she's gotta think: think pink—!," it is certainly a little more than cringeworthy. The film spends the majority of its run time geared towards women, but simultaneously degrades them by reducing them to romance and potential relationships with men, as well as stereotypical gender identifiers like modeling, the color pink, and society's ideals on femininity and beauty. When push comes to shove, the songs just aren't all that great anyways, but we're betting most people forget the lyrics because Fred Astaire is a good dancer and spends each number shaking his hips and shimmying. That's enough to make anyone forget blatant sexism, yeah?

The theme of the film isn't exactly our cup of tea, either. A well-educated woman gives up her intellectual pursuits to become a model and earn a living off her looks. Of course, she has to primped and prodded and made up to look pretty because Audrey Hepburn is hideous without the proper makeup and clothing, right? It's not just about looks, either. There are also scenes of obvious disregard for Jo's feelings over Dick's. One in particular is where Jo's happiness is totally reliant on how Dick feels about her because, you know, Jo loves Dick so much. He tries to convince her about how and why she should love him over other men, but it sometimes seems like he couldn't give a hoot less about her as a person. Beyond all of this, the film is boiled down to a simple romance between Dick and Jo and follows the typical formula, only in a musical setting. You know the formula: two people meet, they initially don't get along, and after a short length of time, they fall in love but have a falling out, which eventually leads to a make up of epic proportions. Apart from this raging sexism, the production values of this movie are really great, and the performances to back up the settings are still good despite the poor script writing.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Rubber"

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