“Paradise Hills” sheds light on false stereotypes of women in society, and director Alice Waddington wants to show women of all ages that they don’t need to transform themselves into what society expects of them.
The film follows Paradise Hills, “an institution in the middle of the ocean to which families all over the world send their daughters to get reformed,” the film’s director Alice Waddington explained at the Sundance Film Festival last month. “Those girls have a variety of problems that make them into less-than-perfect women — supposedly.”
Waddington says she got the idea for her directorial feature debut because she “lived it” herself as a young woman, and she wanted to “reflect my experiences as a young woman on this planet in a certain way and to reflect the world that I see around me.”
The film stars Eiza Gonzalez, Emma Roberts, Milla Jovovich, Awkwafina and Danielle Macdonald, the latter of who joined Waddington at TheWrap’s studio at the festival.
“It was so relatable and it had so many issues that are just so relevant to society and so many characters that we can relate to, but set in this fantasy, sci-fi, futurist world with these stunning visuals,” Macdonald said.
Waddington added, “It essentially communicates how we are asked to change all the time for others and how we are supposed to completely transform ourselves in order to fit into a society that doesn’t like us as who we are a lot of times, and I think it’s really important to bring home this message to young girls and young women — that you really don’t have to change for anybody else that isn’t you and what you really have to do is find people who love you for you and stay true to yourself.”
Macdonald recently starred in Netflix’s “Dumplin,'” which pushed forward a similar message of female empowerment and self-appreciation. And the actress said that she’s happy she got to star in two films like this back-to-back because we need them.
“I felt like I didn’t grow up with any of it honestly, I never felt represented on screen growing up, and I never thought it was okay to like who I was,” Macdonald said. “So when I get the opportunity to play characters that I would’ve loved to have seen as a teenager and that would’ve helped and inspired me, I jumped at the opportunity because it was important to me.”
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