12 September 2014

Friday is the (Inspirational) Movie Night: Maleficent (2014)


If you haven't seen Maleficent (2014, Robert Stromberg) yet, drop everything and go get it! If you have, this might be a nice moment to watch it again. And again. Because as far as Disney (and many more) movies go, this is as directly grrrl power and smash the patriarchy as it will probably ever get in the mainstream entertainment business*.

First of all, do not listen to those who call this a version of Sleeping Beauty. While Aurora is involved, this is a completely different story. One that makes more sense, I - without even being of the branch of eco-feminism and essentialism - would say.

The interpretation of the script that resonates with me is the basic idea that if you (violently) crush somebody's sense of self, their capacity to express themselves and enjoy the life, expect trouble. Applied to a girl-child with powers to revenge her loss magically - and, oh, so powerfully - here you have Maleficent.

The fact that the harm is inflicted by a man, masked behind a romantic interest, just makes it more close to reality for many survivors around the world, really. Jolie herself has spoken out both on gender-based violence and rape, and on possible parallels with it you can find in Maleficent. Yes, rape exists and you can start a conversation about it using this Disney movie.

And the good news are: people can heal when time and support is given. Yes, thank you, Disney!

Additional points go to the creators for making the prince to be against the idea of kissing an unconscious girl he barely knows. Great, the need for enthusiastic consent can be evoked right here! Even more, in this movie - as in Frozen (2013) - the real love is not the one coming from a prince on a white horse. Kudos, Disney, I'm very impressed!

* I hope that's not true and I shall see more and more explicitly feminist movies coming up where the pink princess culture was, but I don't hold my breath for that. Therefore enjoy this one as intensely as you can!


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