a league of their own
I caught the Ghostbusters reboot last night, and like everyone I know, loved it. It's not a perfect movie (it's not terribly original, to be honest) but it made me laugh and it warmed my heart to see women being women and doing things and just being awesome friends and having adventures. The women in my circle of friends agreed it was great to see a movie with female friendship at its centre, and just a little sad that it's actually refreshing, rather than something we can count on.
It also reminded me of one of my favourite movies of all time - A League of Their Own.
I caught this on HBO one random night last year, and spent a happy couple of hours enjoying every scene of a movie I loved as a kid. I'm a sucker for any kind of sports movie, so throw in a group of awesome tomboys trying to make a women's baseball league happen in an era where women belonged in the kitchen and a highly watchable cast (Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Hanks, Madonna) and you have a captive audience in me.
Watching a movie I haven't watched in a while always brings some surprising revelations - in this case it was the fact that the movie also starred David Strathairn, looking Don Draper-handsome.
The other revelation was how great the costumes are - a look I can only describe as "lady-like scrappy". On one hand you had your women in standard 1940s garb, but on the other hand there was the odd baseball cap thrown into the mix, the dirt on their faces right next to their siren red lipstick, the flat-lace-ups shoes with the full skirts. It was still a traditional time for women but these were rule-breakers trying their best to get by. You have Geena Davis in a neat little suit, blouse and hat - and then she's off, sprinting alongside a train that's pulling out of the station, carrying two suitcases and tossing them onto the train, looking grimly determined. She's a heroine, but she didn't need a pair of trousers to prove it. The women wear floral tea dresses, satin slips and curl their hair, but there's a worn, dusty, undone look to everything, because they have other things to worry about.
The movie doesn't overdo the "girl power" message as well, even though it was set in must have been a tremendous time for women, who had to move into the workplace with the men at war. One player has to bring her son on the road with her because there's no one to babysit, but the point isn't overplayed.
I don't dislike movies about women dealing with relationships and romance (which is usually the case when a movie has a cast full of women) but it's just nice to see us defined in other ways, and in the case of Ghostbusters, having this "normalised" in a straightforward blockbuster. Here's to not having to wait decades to see another film about a group of women doing things.
Which are your favourite movies about women doing stuff?
Pix from here and here