Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two chick flicks that I recommend

As a woman living with three males of the species, I sometimes arrange for some testosterone-free time and check out movies that don't involve exploding cars. I tend not to be a lady that goes for the typcial chick flick, but really good movies with intelligent feminine inspirations will enthrall me. I like to go for petticoat costume dramas. Two excellent movies I watched over the summer were Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst and The Duchess starring Keira Knightley.

Marie Antoinette really succeeded in drawing me into the life of the young Queen of France. She was portrayed in a very sympathetic manner right from the beginning when she has to give up her puppy at the French border before being presented to her future husband, Louis XVI.

Marie is whisked into the lavish world of Versailles where the intrigues of a bloated court make her head spin and ridiculous layers of protocol strangle her in a gilded cage. Marie entertains herself with the only outlets available to her, which are clothing, candy, champagne, hats, and shoes. The movie does a marvelous job of illustrating her wanton teenage girl rampage of wardrobe excesses that will delight any woman.

Although the focus of the story is very much on Marie as she matures within her protected world of privilege, the larger course of world events are woven into the narrative. The looming French Revolution that will consume Marie and her family is inescapable. In the movie, Marie is scapegoated as the source of France's ailing treasury because of her big spending on frivolous things, but the truth is shown in the scenes with Louis XVI as he depletes his resources aiding the Americans with their revolt against Great Britain. What a splendid chick flick indeed that points out that the real big spenders are the men.

My next recent find of interest to the female audience is The Duchess. It is an extremely well done movie with a deeply feminist view of the era in which it is set. You'll even forgive the star, Keira Knightley for being so amazingly skinny. She plays the real-life character of Georgiana Spencer who became the Duchess of Devonshire. She was famous for her influence in political circles, but the movie focuses on the intense dramas of her personal life. Her marriage to the Duke of Devonshire, played by Ralph Fiennes, is a spiritless match. He is obsessed with the production of a legitimate male heir, which Georgiana finally produces after a couple daughters. I can't reveal too many details about the story because that would spoil it, but she must endure the stifling control of her husband, who is a true patriarch of patriarchy. He even has his mistress live in the same home as his wife. Due to an amazing performance from Ralph Fiennes, the Duke does manage to come across as a human near the end and summon some sympathy from me.

Altogether The Duchess is a very well done movie with a well paced script that tells an intensely emotional story.

And, yes ladies, the heroines in both movies indulge in lovers.