Scarlett Johansson and the cast of Rough Night were at the premiere last night in New York. And over in LA, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, and Emma Howard joined director Sofia Coppola for the premiere of The Beguiled. Rough Night opens this coming Friday. The Beguiled opens next Friday. That’s two all-female casts on back-to-back weekends while Wonder Woman is the #1 movie in the world.
Is it everything? Not yet. Of course not yet. We can always do better, we can always be more representative. Certainly in the case of The Beguiled, when you look at this group shot, there could definitely be more inclusion. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t something here that we can build from.
I’ve been thinking about these three movies all day. It occurred to me while technically, they belong to different genres (superhero, psychological drama, raunchy comedy) that there’s a theme here. Is there a theme?
In Wonder Woman, we first meet Diana at home in Themyscira, where she is raised by a battalion of women. Things change with the arrival of man. The same is true of The Beguiled. Nicole Kidman is the headmistress of the school, Kirsten Dunst one of the teachers. Their whole world is female. Until a soldier comes along, upsetting the fragile peace of the house, and they must find a way to deal with his presence. In Rough Night, five women go on a bachelorette weekend and things get f-cked up when the male stripper arrives. That’s not to say that the message here is that men are not welcome. But perhaps, in three different ways, these films are exploring – subtly and not so subtly – how western society has institutionalised one gender to be reactive to the other. And, perhaps, what happens when women begin to drive the narrative themselves.