500 Days Of Film Reviews I Feel Pretty Starring Amy Schumer And Michelle Williams
Renee Barrett (Amy Schumer) is a woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis. After suffering a fall at a spin class, she wakes up believing she is suddenly the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. With this newfound confidence she is empowered to live her life fearlessly and flawlessly, but what will happen when she realises her appearance never changed?
Is It Any Good?
Somebody far smarter than me once said: you take away from a movie what you bring to the film. These wise words came to mind as I left my screening of I Feel Pretty. For, if you go into Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein’s comedy expecting laughs and a light story about the beauty inherent in confidence and self belief, that is what you will find.
However, if you take your seat anxious about I Feel Pretty’s body shaming issues, concerned that the film will confirm how women and not the fashion and beauty industry (perish the thought) are to blame for their insecurities well, sadly, that’s in there too.
On the surface, I Feel Pretty is a fun and consistently entertaining movie. Thanks to an endearingly energetic, hilariously slapstick performance from Amy Schumer, we root for Renee and enjoy her rather bizarre journey.
Her friends (well played in limited screen time by Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant) and potential boyfriend (a lovable portrayal by Rory Scovel) are also warm and eminently likeable.
Meanwhile, Michelle Williams is brilliant as Avery LeClaire. She manages to steal every scene with an eccentric vocal performance that is fantastically bonkers. I would love to see Williams in more comedy roles.
I Feel Pretty’s central message about the power of confidence and accepting ourselves for who we are is also hard to resist. Who hasn’t suffered from low self esteem? Indeed, if you don’t think about the film too much, you may leave the cinema feeling rather inspired.
However, let the film settle and something darker and infinitely more worrying emerges. An idea that it is okay to laugh along with those who view Renee as crazy in her belief that she is beautiful.
Is, as New York Times writer, Manohla Dargis describes, I Feel Pretty peddling another “false fairytale”? One that suggests we will (finally) feel good about ourselves if we join that exercise class, buy that lipstick or commit to that diet? One that believes all we need for self confidence is a plucky spirit and some stilettos?
It is (perhaps) unfair to expect I Feel Pretty to tackle all of society’s body shaming issues. This is, after all, a resolutely light and fluffy film that only wants to play in the shallow end of this discussion pool.
However, it also feels a shame that some of the film’s gags and lasting messages were not deeper and more intelligently handled. Amy Schumer certainly deserves such material and so do we.
If, after watching I Feel Pretty, you fancy a deeper, genuinely inspiring film about the complicated relationship we have with our bodies, may I suggest Embrace - Taryn Brumfitt's brilliant documentary? Click Here For My Review Of Embrace.
Have you seen I Feel Pretty?
If you have, what did you think of this film? Let me know in the comments section below or you can find me on Twitter @500DaysOfFilm.