BY SAM TURNBULL – MUSE’INGS EDITOR (PRINT)
Coming home for the summer often brings me few options of things to do. By this I mean, in Sault Ste. Marie, there is really nothing else other than that one bar to go to on a Thursday night, Tim Hortons if you’re out past 8 pm, or the movies if you feel like spending your week’s pay.
Unfortunately, the weather this week only permitted my friend and I take a trip to the local Galaxy (which brings none of the comfortable seating like other cities but all of the prices). Surprisingly, we had the choice to see a movie we actually wanted to. Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty was one that we had both agreed looked funny, and that we wouldn’t mind seeing on a dreary Saturday afternoon.
Before I launch into how much I hated this movie, I’ll warn you that this article contains what might be considered spoilers…not that there is much to spoil. The movie was incredibly predictable. I couldn’t even come up with a better title for this article because I’m that angry.
The film opens with Amy Schumer, who plays Renee Bennett, standing in the lobby of a SoulCycle, pushing through the crowd of skinny, fit, and beautiful women that do nothing but emphasize that Renee is not as conventionally attractive as them. The girl at the front desk, along with basically everyone else in the remainder of the movie, treats Renee as a lesser human being because of her appearance. Throughout the film, any character who is deemed unattractive lands is the butt-end of the joke, is ignored, or is made fun of because of the way they look.
Of course, Renee has zero self-confidence, struggles with her body-image and is constantly being put in situations where her weight is made fun of. So, the entire gag of this story is that when Renee falls and hits her head at one of her SoulCycle classes, she wakes up believing that she has a body worthy of the Victoria’s Secret“Fantasy Bra”. Renee, now beaming with self-confidence, lands a job in the headquarters of a high-end makeup company (which she already works for) only because she actually fits the image of an everyday woman, which the company is currently preparing a line of products for. Renee, however, believes it is because of her incredible good looks and continues to act as if she belongs with everyone else who is working with her. In the midst of everything, and not knowing what Renee is seeing in the mirror, no one tells her that she looks like she always has and just goes along with newfound confidence. Renee even manages to find a man, almost wins a bikini contest, and she moves up in the ranks of her job. She almost kissed the CEO’s incredibly attractive brother and was close to losing her original, normal friends because she’s become too obsessed with herself.
If you haven’t already guessed, Renee finally realises she never became the model she thought she did, has a crisis because she thinks she no longer deserves her job, boyfriend or friends that she’s made along the way, and eventually has this big, public moment of clarity where she accepts her fate as an average-looking person, even though she still hates her body. Oh, and this also manages to save the company.
I barely know where to start. I guess we can begin with the fact that this movie wasn’t funny at all. From beginning to end, I just felt bad for Schumer’s character. Even when she felt pretty, everyone else was making fun of her in the background, as if someone who is average-looking is not allowed to feel this way or that, if they do, there must be something wrong with them. In this case, it was because of a head injury, because how else would someone like Renee be confident in her appearance?
Alongside this, the characters who were considered beautiful were portrayed as stuck-up, rude and insensitive. There is a brief moment where Emily Ratajkowski’s very minor character is upset because she was dumped and reveals to Renee that she too, has insecurities. This lasts about 30 seconds though, and she goes back to just being pretty. This movie simply called all “pretty” people mean and all “ugly” people…ugly.
It was one giant stereotype.
The film really missed the mark on the whole “accept yourself” message and reinforced the impermeability of these body divisions. It basically showed me that, even if I manage to overcome all of my self-doubt and body-image issues, I will still be made fun of behind my back or sarcastically to my face. It showed self-confidence is fine, but only in small doses. You can’t love yourself more than the people around you, or else you’re an asshole. The only character I could stand was Renee’s boyfriend, who genuinely thought she was perfect the way she was. But we’re supposed to love him because it reassures us that someday we might find someone who accepts us for who we are. But, we might need to act insanely vain to find them.
I could go on and on, but for two hours I did nothing but build up rage toward the writers for doing this to Amy Schumer, the directors for purposely surrounding her with girls who are clearly models (to make sure everyone knows she’s not a size 2), and myself for paying to watch it. I left feeling uncomfortable, ashamed of how I look and bitter towards people who are born looking like the Hadids.
I really want to prevent as many people from watching this as possible. There were so many other things that could have been done to show that it is important to love yourself, but instead, I Feel Pretty just made me feel pretty bad. I give it 1/10 stars, the one star being to Amy Schumer for putting herself through that.