Yesterday I received a press release for the upcoming film “Knight of Cups.” The drama, which opens this weekend, is written and directed by Terrence Malick. He’s one of the dudes who floats a movie idea and people immediately shit their pants in anticipation. He made “Badlands” in 1973 and “Days of Heaven” in 1978. Then he took a 20-year-hiatus before “The Thin Red Line” in 1998. His last movie, 2013’s “To The Wonder,” was not a box office success, yet high profile men and women, such as “Knight of Cups” stars Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, want to work with him because he’s supposedly a genius. All of our definitions of genius are men who have vision — men who do what they want and refuse to follow the rules. Women who exhibit the same characteristics are considered unemployable.
Here’s the description:
“‘Knight of Cups; follows writer Rick (Christian Bale, The Fighter, ‘American Hustle’) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he undertakes a search for love and self. Even as he moves through a desire-laden landscape of mansions, resorts, beaches and clubs, Rick grapples over complicated relationships with his brother (Wes Bentley) and father (Brian Dennehy). His quest to break the spell of his disenchantment takes him on a series of adventures with six alluring women: rebellious Della (Imogen Poots); his physician ex-wife, Nancy (Cate Blanchett); a serene model Helen (Freida Pinto); a woman he wronged in the past Elizabeth (Natalie Portman); a spirited, playful stripper Karen (Teresa Palmer); and an innocent Isabel (Isabel Lucas), who helps him see a way forward.”
Look at the descriptions of the men. Then look at the descriptions of the women. The men are just men. The women characters all have qualifiers — and horribly reductive ones, at that. Serene model, playful stripper — are you kidding me?
This plot summary should be studied as a lesson in sexism in Hollywood.