Sorry Guys, Movies Featuring Women & POC Do Not Need to Be Perfect in Order to Have Value
The mediocre reviews for A Wrinkle in Time are disappointing. It seems like a lot of the reasons for the muddled plot comes from the original source material and a desire to stay true to the magic of the book. While this isn’t great news, I’m still excited for the movie and will be checking it out. What irritates me is this idea that A Wrinkle in Time not being great means something about future POC directed/led movies.
It’s okay for POC movies to be mediocre. We have tons of mediocre movies starring a white cast that as long as it makes money, it will continue indefinitely.
Ava DuVernay has spoken about the reason she worked on this movie—to give young black girls a heroine that she wished she’d had growing up. From what I’ve read, that is exactly what she accomplished: to create a diverse fairytale that tells young girls (and boys) that they can be heroes regardless of whatever race, gender, etc. That is a powerful thing.
Does that mean we should handwave the faults of a film because of what it represents to a larger group? No, we don’t gain anything by coddling writers or directors, we should always strive to do well. But, we also should not have this ridiculously high pedestal so that when both of the 2 female lead action films come out, we are either (a) comparing them to each other in an unconstructive way, or (b) treating it as though if it doesn’t do well that’s it for female-driven action films.
Crazy Rich Asians the book was a campy, extravagant, and over the top farce of a romantic comedy. It is not going to be some “high bar” film because the books they are based on are not that way. Fun, but not great. However, that does not erase the fact that it is the first movie since The Joy Luck Club in 1993 to feature a mostly Asian cast and not be a martial arts movie. That’s 25 years. That is unacceptable and that has to be part of the review process.
Be honest, but do not pretend that these things exist in a vacuum. The pressure on Black Panther to be good was unreasonable considering this is the studio that gave us Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 2, yet there was this feeling that if Black Panther wasn’t good, if Wonder Woman wasn’t good, it was going to be the end of days.
I didn’t love Wonder Woman. There are a lot of things I wish it could have done different, but the fact that it was a really good superhero movie starring the most important comic book superheroine on Earth was not lost on me. It’s okay that it wasn’t perfect because it was a stepping stone to eventually getting that perfect movie.
Also, we don’t always need perfect movies. I’m fine with my Jupiter Ascendings because at least there was an attempt to explore something about how we write female characters. I love the Tomb Raider movies because they are fun and offer me the female wish fulfillment equivalent of a James Bond movie.
Don’t be like this dude:
I haven’t seen A Wrinkle in Time. I don’t know how it is! But dear lord, white dude critics, don’t do this pic.twitter.com/Ed1qp1jduT
— Kristin Hunt (@kristin_hunt) March 7, 2018
We can talk about movies like this being mediocre, without hyperbole and trying to make it sound as though every failure is a step backward. I’m okay with A Wrinkle in Time being meh, I will give it money and support it the same way I supported the also meh Proud Mary, the same way I’m going to go see Crazy Rich Asians, and the way I would leave Quantico on mute just so it could get views.
I’m going to support these movies and shows until I get options, and hope that eventually, we will get to a point where there isn’t so much pressure to watch one because otherwise, you won’t get another.
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]