By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 18, 2012 at 1:00PM
Recommendations for the week:
Hysteria directed by Tanya Wexler and Polisse by Maiwenn.
Films About Women Opening This Weekend
Virginia stars Jennifer Connelly in the title role as a beautiful yet unhinged single mother who struggles to raise her son Emmett (Harrison Gilbertson) while dreaming of escaping her small Southern boardwalk town. Her long time affair with the very married, Mormon Sheriff Richard Tipton (Ed Harris) is thrown into question when he decides to run for public office. Things are further complicated when Emmett begins a romantic relationship with Tipton’s daughter (Emma Roberts). Virginia and the town—populated by Amy Madigan, Toby Jones, Yeardley Smith—are full of secrets and everyone knows Virginia can only keep things together for so long. (from the press materials)
The Color Wheel
The Color Wheel is the story of JR, an increasingly transient aspiring news-anchor, forcing her disappointing younger brother Colin to embark on a road trip to move her belongings out of her professor-turned-lover's apartment. Problem is these grown up kids do not get along and are both too obnoxious to know better. Chaos and calamity are not far behind her beat up Honda Accord. The Color Wheel is a familial comedy of disappointment and forgiveness. (Synopsis courtesy of official website)
A young newlywed woman is thrust into a supernatural nightmare of the unknown when she moves into her deceased father's house. (Synopsis courtesy of TIFF)
Hysteria - directed by Tanya Wexler, co-written by Jonah Lisa Dyer
One of the most vivid memories I have of my college learning experience is a class I took on Women in American History. I remember reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and Kate Chopin's The Awakening, and if I didn't have feminist inclinations before I read those books, I sure did the moment my eyes hit the page.
Those books (and many other in that class) changed me. It was when I discovered that women were thought to be hysterical because they wanted to have lives outside the home and were told by doctors that they needed to sit quietly and rest and not think too much because that would be too taxing on their poor brains and their private parts. Their diagnosis of hysteria made some of the women actually lose their minds.
The new movie Hysteria directed by Tanya Wexler takes a comedic twist on this very serious and feminist topic. Read more.
Read Women & Hollywood's interview with director Tanya Wexler.
Polisse - written and directed by Maiwenn
Polisse by Maiwenn was one of the four female directed films from last year's competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and it was awarded the Jury Prize. It also became huge box office hit in France and was nominated for 13 Cesar Awards. It tells the story of the the Paris Child Protective Service police unit.
Unlike Law & Order SVU that shows on an endless loop here in the US which focuses mostly just on the cases, this film gives us a behind the scenes glimpse of the toll this work takes on the team. It shows the marriage troubles, the drinking problems, the eating disorders, the breakdowns when the work gets to your soul and you can't go on another moment. These people are flawed heroes. They don't get many accolades for their work, in fact they constantly get shit. They are not rich, most of them have serious problems, but they are the people on the front lines every day. That's what makes it so interesting. Ordinary people doing extraordinary work. The film is very fast paced and many things happen at once. When the characters run, the camera runs. The story is very gripping and the ending was very unexpected and jarring.
Films Written by Women Opening This Week
What to Expect When You Are Expecting - written by Shauna Cross and Heather Hach
A look at love through the eyes of five interconnected couples experiencing the thrills and surprises of having a baby, and ultimately coming to understand the universal truth that no matter what you plan for, life doesn't always deliver what's expected. (from IMDB)