Film Review: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING (USA 2018)

This Changes Everything Poster
Trailer

An investigative look and analysis of gender disparity in Hollywood, featuring accounts from well-known actors, executives and artists in the Industry.

Director:

Tom Donahue

Nobody likes a complainer nag on and on on an issue – the person being a man or a woman.  The same can be said about the film THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING that at first goes on and on at how women are mis-represented and how they have been ignored, less abused, with the film industry targeted.  Fortunately, the film switches in the last 30 minutes to show how changes have been implemented.  The film turns encouraging and crowd pleasing (to both genders).

But what is most strikingly visible is the fact that this doc that complains about the minority of women in the directing field has enlisted a male to direct what basically is a woman’s film.  The fact goes against not only what the film stands for but against total logic.

The doc neglects to consider other fields with women in the employ to get a better perspective of the situation of women in industry.  The doc also fails to note the advances of the progress that has been made.  It does mention that Kathryn Bigelow is finally the first female to win the director’s Academy Award for THE HURT LOCKER in over a century but instead of losing at it as progress, bitches about it  The doc could do very well to tout the fact that women also excel in certain areas and that theses days the ratio of female themed or made film to their male counterparts has steadily been increasing.  A good example of similar themed female vs. males films are BOOKSMART and GOOD BOYS.  BOOKSMART about two female high school girls was funnier, raunchier with superior comedic set-pieces and cinematography than the male teen Seth Rogen collaboration GOOD BOYS.

One wonders what the purpose of the doc is.  The under-representation of women in the film industry is already a known fact, but whatever seems to be done appears insufficient.  Aside of the fact that the director of this doc is male, THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING would be considered a good film if it does a few things.  Firstly, it must convince the audience that the under-representation of women in the film industry exists and is a danger if not corrected.  The doc must also anger audiences to act towards the change.

The ‘This’ in the film title is accomplished by actress Geena Davis (THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST, THELMA AND LOUISE).  She founded the Geena Davis Institute and commissioned a two-year study, he first of tis kind on the subject.  Davis used to address the issue on film meetings, when told that the problem is known and something has already been done about it.  The important study shows otherwise. “Females are not properly represented in kids’ films”  was one of the findings.  An example is Disney’s FINDING NEMO when all the fish voices were done by men.  And in her won words which is 100% true in all case of prejudice, If the bias is unconscious, it is therefore present and the most harmful.

Understandably, the film’s climax takes in hot issue of the Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment case.  The case is the perfect example of Hollywood gone wrong now being in correction mode.

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING ends up an insightful look at the injustice done to women in the film industry particularly by the major film studios, with Disney and Paramount Pictures singled out.  Yes, there has been progress (take for example last week’s new film releases: Out of 6, one of which is neutral – a doc on the environment, three were female based) but still much work needs to be done.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=dPGwJmSMoPs

Full Review: DON’T TALK TO IRENE (Canada 2017) ***

Don't Talk to Irene Poster
When Irene – the fattest girl in high school – gets suspended, she must endure two weeks of community service at a retirement home. Following her passion for cheerleading, she secretly …See full summary »

Director:

Pat Mills

Writers:

Pat MillsPat Mills

DON’T TALK TO IRENE takes its cue from Woody Allen’s PLAY IT AGAIN SAM the Herbert Ross film where the Allen character takes advice from Humphrey Bogart with regards to getting a girl.  In DON’T TALK TO IRENE, the protagonist, an overweight teenage girl takes advice from Geena Davis as she follows a different goal, in this case of pursuing her passion for cheerleading.  She signs up for a talent-search reality show in order to prove that “physical perfection” isn’t everything.

Irene Willis (Michelle McLeod) lives in a town of a small fictional town of Parc supposed to be just north of Toronto.  The film was shot in Hamilton, Ontario.  It is described in the film as the worst of small towns, where Irene goes to the worst of high schools.  Her cycle of life is predictable and bland.  Fuelled by the dream of becoming a cheerleader, but constantly told by both her overprotective mother (Anastasia Philips) and classmates that she does not fit the mild of a cheerleader.  But Geena Davis, speaking to Irene via the A League of Their Own poster on her bedroom wall tells her “Never quit!”

When Irene gets suspended and is forced to do community service at a retirement home — run by Barrett (Kids in the Hall’s Scott Thompson) — alongside her bullies and her new friend, Tesh (a gender non-conforming, glitzy dreamer), an opportunity arises.  She rounds up her new-found circle of elderly friends into an unlikely dance troupe.

The film has the story of a socially unaccepted underdog doing it successfully at the end.  It is an age old story which audiences have seen time and again.  In fact this is not the first film in which seniors enter a dance competition.

But it is often the story that does not make a good film.  Despite the story’s limitations, the film benefits for the sly humour of its writer/director Pat Mills.  Mills gives himself a cameo as a drunken teacher in a few segments in the movie.  Mills, in his 2014 film, GUIDANCE, made an imprint with his dark and really funny comedy.  DON’T TALK TO IRENE is not as good as GUIDANCE but it has its moments.

The character of transgendered, smart-talking Tesh is not that funny and appears in the film to set a politically correct statement.  The mother and daughter relationship is also nothing new and the mother’s final acceptance of her daughter’s goals is predictable, if not tiresome.  The film also aims to be too smug with strong language added to create a more edgy film.  The seniors, again all try their best to show that they still have it, in terms of ingenuity, sex drive or dance skills.

McLeod is a rare find and is able to carry the film well.  The film contains a nice surprise with the actual appearance of Geena Davis.

Still everyone loves a feel-good movie.  Undemanding viewers should lap this tale up, with no problem at all.  Critics can only wince at the goings-on of this girl that finally makes good.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/56xfd8POz4c

TIFF 2017 Movie Review: DON’T TALK TO IRENE (Canada)

Movie Reviews of films that will be playing at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2017. Go to TIFF 2017 Movie Reviews and read reviews of films showing at the festival.

DON’T TALK TO IRENE.jpgWhen Irene – the fattest girl in high school – gets suspended, she must endure two weeks of community service at a retirement home.

Director: Pat Mills
Writers: Pat Mills
Stars: Michelle McLeod, Anastasia Phillips, Scott Thompson

Review by Gilbert Seah

Irene Willis (Michelle McLeod) lives in a town of a small fictional town of Parc supposed to be just north of Toronto. It is described in the film as the worst of small towns, where Irene goes to the worst of high schools.

Her cycle of life is predictable and bland. Fuelled by the dream of becoming a cheerleader, but constantly told by both her overprotective mother (Anastasia Philips) and classmates that she does not fit the role of a cheerleader. But Geena Davis, speaking to Irene via the A League of Their Own poster on her bedroom wall tells her “Never quit!”

She rounds up her new-found circle of elderly friends in a senior home into an unlikely dance troupe. The film has the age old story which audiences have seen time and again.

Despite the story’s limitations, the film benefits for the sly humour of its writer/director Pat Mills. McLeod is a rare find and is able to carry the film well. The film contains a nice surprise with the actual appearance of Geena Davis. Everyone loves a feel-good movie.

Undemanding viewers should lap this tale up, with no problem at all. Critics can only wince at the goings-on of this girl that finally makes good.

DON_T TALK TO IRENE 1