Women to Identify With on the Screen

Guest blog: Several summer movies to satisfy my feminist needs, especially with several plots of female bonding of all shades

Last Updated: July 24, 2014 @ 11:46 AM

The British royal couple delivered a future king to England. I was cheering for a girl so that we could continue with a woman on the throne. Luckily, I can turn to several summer movies to satisfy my feminist needs, especially with several plots of female bonding of all shades.

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are in Paul Feig‘s "The Heat," a humorous, almost slapstick version of a male cop movie. Utilizing a wide variety of physical bits the actresses display a talent for getting out of jams and intimidating their foes. McCarthy’s bombastic lines are a great parody of tough guy dialogue. Although not original, the movie does offer plenty of laughs. And Bullock humorously moves from nerdy efficiency to a looser friendliness with her antithetical sidekick.

Maggie Carey’s female coming-of-age "The To Do List" parodies a young woman’s pursuit of sexual experimentation upon graduating high school. Played by the talented Aubrey Plaza, the heroine Brandy Klark writes up a list of all the sex acts she needs to experience before going to college. She winds up in the most awkward moments in this pursuit of her teenage bucket list.

The competition between her and her sister, played to a bitchy T by Rachel Bilson, makes for the funniest scenes. What is charming is that Brandy ultimately learns her friendships with her best girlfriends are of paramount importance. This insight is highlighted when the characters watch an earlier tear-jerking movie, "Beaches," that showed the importance of such friends. A cautionary note is that "The To Do List" is not the kind of movie, however, to attend with your parents or maybe even with your date.

On another level completely is the esoteric drama "Hannah Arendt," directed and co written by the talented German director Margarethe von Trotta. Starring her often-cast actress Barbara Sukowa, the movie depicts how the German exiled philosopher from Nazi Germany wrote about the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in the New Yorker and created controversy for the rest of her life.

Although she clearly misinterpreted the trial, the movie does celebrate the great friendship shared by Arendt and American writer Mary McCarthy, played by Janet McTeer. Their scenes together are enjoyable to watch and capture how intellectuals can also nurture one another as well as share secrets about their liaisons.

So after one has seen these “chick flicks” you can return to the network news and see the latest about the newest line to the throne. Now if only in the fall season of "Downton Abbey" the females in the landed gentry could inherit titles and land. Guess it will take more than a popular television series to change that antiquated law in England.

Aviva Kempner is a writer and documentary filmmaker whose features include 1998's award-winning “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” about the first Jewish baseball star in the major leagues; 2015's "Rosenwald," about Jewish-American philanthropist Julius Rosenwald; and "The Spy Behind Home Plate," about OSS spy and pro baseball catcher Moe Berg. She is now working on a film about screenwriter Ben Hecht.