When you spend your time writing about women and Hollywood there are many, many days when things seem bleak and downright depressing. But not this week. This week I am filled with hope, and that hope is on the big screen in several films rolling out shortly including Catching Fire and Frozen and Philomena. Let’s be honest, 2013 hasn’t been a good year for women onscreen. It’s been disheartening to say the least. In the summer the only women onscreen (in wide release) were Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat. Then in October Sandra Bullock again broke box office records as the lead in Gravity. But now, just in time for Thanksgiving there are multiple films with female leads that people all across the country will be able to enjoy.
First, Catching Fire. I can’t say how big a game changer this series of films are. This is the second film in the four part series based on the Hunger Games trilogy of books written by Suzanne Collins. Jennifer Lawrence again takes up the lead of Katniss Everdeen and I caught myself holding my breath during the opening moment which was a full screen shot of Lawrence. It is so rare to see a full on beautiful shot of a young woman to open a film. And from that opening moment, this young woman just commands the screen and leads this film in every way. The fact that she seems completely normal and hasn’t been enveloped into the Hollywood system where most young women seem like they are hungry and have been programmed, is such a revelation. She seems to be in charge of herself, and she’s no longer the girl we saw at the Oscars when she was nominated for Winter’s Bone. She’s become a young woman who doesn’t seem to take herself, and the business too seriously, which was confirmed to me by the film’s producer, Nina Jacobson. Her everyday personality – especially her bold comments about how the industry creates unrealistic images of women, endears her to women and girls, and let’s face it, she’s young and cute so the guys are also into her. She’s the full package and even though she is a huge star and has an Oscar she is still relatively new in the business and will hopefully have a great career ahead of her.