Articles at The Essential – How Denis Villeneuve domesticates Emily Blunt.
Nope – not a fan of Sicario. Everywhere I go I see praise being heaped on Emily Blunt for her “bad ass” heroine Kate Macy, but for me, the role was a slap down after her great characterisation in Edge of Tomorrow. After all, she is criticised for not wearing lacy underwear in the field (I know right? WTF was THAT line about!) This got me thinking about the role of the female action hero and her relationship to feminism. Using a personal favourite film of mine, GI Jane, I explore just a little of what is possibly happening in these films and elaborate on why the female action hero is such a hot cinematic political football.
The Essential: GI Jane and the reality of Female Action Heroes.
Currently Sicario is wowing critics and audiences, with special praise being heaped on Emily Blunt for her understated yet powerful lead performance as Kate Macy. It’s a rare graciousness. Female action heroines, while tolerated as important, are more often than not critically maligned – if not for their performance then the film they labor in.
Sure, there are exceptions – Sigourney Weaver, Hilary Swank and Linda Hamilton being among the most powerful – but it is worth noting that critical success for a female “action hero” is highly conditional, depending on a certain kind of socially approved feminine behavior. Ridley Scott, hyper-aware of this problem, has tried to interrupt it with several of his films, the most famous being the first Alien. Sigourney Weaver plays a role that could just as easily have gone to a man, and furthers the irony by portraying the first horror pregnancy in Alien born of a male subject.