A Brief Movie Review: Sucker Punch
If your baby dolls kicked G.I. Joe’s fanny, then you’ll like this movie.
I really enjoyed this movie. I can’t say that there are many action heroine movies with women, who get to be sexy, but not have the camera linger over there bust line. This was a movie about the structures that men had created to exploit the minds and the sex of women and the lengths those women would go to escape, and the inspiration that they needed from one another to make it possible. The women in this movie had all the tools they needed to get out of the structures that bound them: they had the brains, they had the tools, and they had the skill. Their fantasy world, like mine growing up, was one where baby dolls shot G.I. Joe’s guns and rode around in an Apache with butterfly stickers on it. The interesting part of this movie though is that their fantasies had power. It gave them a way out in the real world. They had imagine a place where they were free, where they were in control of their fates, in order to do it make it possible in real life.
It was imaginative. It was layered. And the action was well choreographed. Those girls shot machine guns like no other.
Alternative Reading, or a sexy-woman positive feminist reading
I suppose, for some feminist, any depiction of women in anything other than a pair of jeans is hypersexual, and thus problematic. Not for me, and not for Celine Parreñas Shimizu. In her book the Hypersexuality of Race, she argues that those participating in “the study of hypersexual representation can unconsciously get caught up in an agenda of moralism and propriety if sexuality is not defined more precisely.” (2007: 18). For sure, these women are sexualized, but in the context of the film, they don’t have control over the way they look because they’re trapped in an insane asylum/brothel against their will. Despite that, Zack Snyder and the producer’s costume choices were tasteful. In their fantasy world, the women wore everything from armor and fishnets, leather and Japanese school girl outfits, heels and tall boots, and why wouldn’t they? What kind of things do women fantasize about? Too few feminist who ask questions of sexualized representations of women do work on women, sex, and pleasure to answer that question sufficiently. Women should get to wear whatever they want, shot however big a gun they want, and if they don’t smoke, they should be able to suck on a lollipop instead of smoke a cigar. Go see it.
Now if we could just get a sista in one of these action movies…