Monday, 14 May 2018
I Feel Pretty (4 Stars)
This is a comedy with a serious message that most women can relate to.
Amy Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a technical employee for LeClaire, a large cosmetics company in New York. Her job is to manage the company website, so she's evidently intelligent, but that's not enough for her. Her body doesn't match the beauty ideals projected by her company, so she feels inferior. When she visits fashionable stores the saleswomen hint that she's too fat for their products. She goes to a fitness studio and immediately feels intimidated because all the other women are thinner than her. On her first visit the exercise bike breaks under her weight. She has trouble dating, not because men don't look at her, but because of her attitude: she assumes men don't want to look at her.
On her second visit to the fitness studio she falls off the exercise bike and cracks her head. This changes her. She thinks her appearance has changed completely, so much that her friends won't recognise her any more. She looks in the mirror and sees a beautiful person. Nobody else sees a change, but it's a complete attitude adjustment. She feels beautiful and she acts like it.
She applies for a job as receptionist in the LeClaire headquarters, a big wage drop, but she wants to be seen. She wants to put her beauty to work. At first this is alienating to the woman around her who think that her appearance doesn't match her attitude, but her self-confidence is so overwhelming that it's impossible not to like her.
Renee meets the company's CEO, Avery LeClaire, who is suffering from different self-confidence issues. She's constantly being belittled and told she's not good enough by her grandmother, the company's founder. Renee gives useful insight into a new product line, because she remembers what she felt like buying cosmetics before she became beautiful.
The film rolls through one comic situation after another, but it's very serious when it shows that the fashion industry's beauty ideals are flawed. Women look at pictures in magazines and feel they aren't good enough. Even women who fulfil the beauty ideals still think they're not good enough. An example is the model Emily Ratajkowski who appears in the film as a woman who thinks she doesn't look good enough. Self-confidence is sexy. That's what Renee discovers in the film, and I know enough about Amy Schumer to realise that she's playing herself.
The question about whether beauty is even important is hardly mentioned by the film, but I'll deal with it here. Many women consider it a feminist ideal to be able to succeed in life without being beautiful. I disagree. The women who say that are the ones who consider themselves unattractive. They work hard in their careers and congratulate themselves on succeeding without having good looks. That's wrong. They should start off by accepting themselves the way they are. Every woman can cry out "I feel pretty!" She can walk into her office every day with an air of self-confidence before she sits at her computer to do her job. Intelligence and beauty don't have to be contrasts, they can go hand in hand.
I hope I've managed to express myself well.