Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Catching up on a couple of Oscar contenders in the women's coming of age division



One good thing about the Academy Awards being moved up to early spring is the rush to video releases for many of the films that you didn't get to see the first time around. My newest Netflix movie to watch is Precious,which received two Oscars as well as other top movie industry honors and gave it's debut leading lady Gabourey Sidibe her first(and hopefully not last) Best Actress nomination.

Next to Mo'Nique's performance as the viciously evil mother(which won her Oscar gold for Best Supporting Actress),Gabourey's screen presence is one of the major attractions of the film and makes me very eager to see the movie,despite the harsh elements of the plot. Many have written her off already in terms of a future film career due to her looks and large size but that says more about them that does about Ms. Sidibe.

A truly talented actor can make you believe in the humanity within his or her character and relate to that person even if their life experiences are vastly different from your own. Having not seen the movie yet but based on the few clips I've seen and various praise from others both in and outside of the profession,Gabourey has that in abundance.

Based on what I've seen of Gabby,in interviews and elsewhere,this is a young lady who knows herself pretty well and is comfortable in her own skin,something that quite a few women twice her age haven't achieved yet. Perhaps it would do some of those naysayers some good to take a few lessons in self esteem by following her example:





Joining Precious on the New Releases shelf next week is An Education,which also gave it's lead actress Carey Mulligan her first Oscar nod as well. Mulligan has a few more acting jobs listed on her resume than Sidibe but these gals share more than key spots on the Oscar circuit.

While their two characters are literally worlds apart in circumstance and moment in time,they both are at the crossroads between girlhood and womanhood,dealing with choices both made for and by them that will affect their lives for years to come. An Education even drew some flak slightly similar to the fuss raised about Precious in depicting the sexual treatment of the young female characters.

In Mulligan's case,her character had better social and educational opportunities than Precious but still faced being the object of inappropiate adult affection which seemed to be silently condoned by her parents. Funny and sad how the setting may be different but the situation remains the same:





With the widening of the Oscar Best Picture pool,we may get more of these well done young women coming of age films bubbling up to the pop culture surface without having to resort to trendy tactics for attention.

Yes,I'm referring to Juno,the last flick in this genre to bask in the Oscar glow. The success of that film seems to have inspired more of the small screen folks than the big,with shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Life Unexpected sprouting up under the shade of Juno's snarky umbrella. Don't get me wrong,it was a decent movie but one that seemed more concerned with how cool the characters sounded than with the outcome of their actions:



I hope to see An Education next week and to be on the lookout for more quality films dealing with a young women's introduction to life and love in the future. In some ways,this is a good trend to encourage as it's a vast improvement from stories where younger women scheme to claim all the hard earned property and love interests from older women. While I know that does happen in real life,it's more artistically meaningful to see a leading lady try and embrace their own power rather than leech off from someone else:

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I just watched Precious yesterday and it was brutal. I see why Mo'Nique won the Oscar...the mother was so awful there aren't even words to describe how terrible. I was close to turning the movie off at some points.

An Education is also on my list...I hope it comes in soon. I was just watching Northanger Abbey with Carey Mulligan last week...can't wait to see her in An Education!