Skip to comments.Sexual Politics at the Movies
Posted on 10/28/2011 7:30:00 AM PDT by Kaslin
"The Ides of March," the slick new movie with George Clooney as an unethical presidential candidate, is a morality tale for our time. It lacks tragic dimensions, it's melodramatic without complexity of character, and it has a neatly constructed plot that has no emotional depth, sliding over the surfaces of the political world as we have come to know it, up close and personal.
But it entertains as an engaging tale about the dirty tricks of politics. Entertainment, after all, is what politics has become.
The title, if it means anything, is simplistically ironic, since there is no Caesar to beware of, and no political men deeply troubled over the abuse of power beyond their own resumes and getting their man elected. If Ryan Gossling, who plays a press secretary for the candidate, has the "lean and hungry look" of Cassius, it's merely a likeness in body image, not in intellectual profundity. His disappointment in his candidate's morals will hardly register with an audience that came of age with a popular president parsing the meaning of "is," and that witnessed a liberal candidate with good hair professing undying love for a wife who suffered from cancer while he fathered a child with someone else.
The movie's smooth-talking hypocritical Clooney character is as familiar today as the political operatives who surround him whose cynicism grows in proportion to the success of the candidates they support.
The tragic victim of the movie is Molly, age 20, a seduced intern (played by Evan Rachel Wood) for whom abortion is more of a deal-breaker than a moral decision. She is crushed, less by power than by her own glib choices and the men who take advantage of them. She's simply not mature enough to understand. But that makes her representative of her sex at 20 in 2011.
If there's moral insight here, it lies in the sexual relations as depicted not only among men in power, but in the attitudes of the women who work for them. More important than the cliches and the commonplace is the tragic dimension of a bright young woman as she is trivialized by powerful men. She accepts her trivialization as something as normal as the air she breathes. So much for women's liberation.
The movie, in fact, reflects the sexual mores of those who grew up after the "second sex" won equality with the first, when women were told they could cultivate the same sexual attitudes as men. The young girl who becomes pregnant in a power seduction acts as though she's entirely in control of her body, but ultimately she's as much a victim as a 19th century heroine in a Thomas Hardy novel, pregnant by the baron of the house in which she's a maid. Nature will not be mocked.
The victimized intern is typical of young women today who are confused over how to manage their sexuality as they move into a larger world where they're taught to act "just like a man." In an Atlantic magazine cover story, "All the Single Ladies," Kate Bolick writes about the downside of the "hook-up" culture where high-status men still exercise the power of sex. She describes the diminishment of men in the current culture, but the men who still call the shots for the sexual slots, first in college and then in the work world, are big enough.
The captain of the college football team morphs into the successful man about town (in politics, business, entertainment) often with an official girlfriend, or even a wife. But he maintains a "soft harem" on the side. Kate Bolick visits the popular blog HookingUpSmart.com, which tracks the current dating world of young singles where casual sex is the norm and young women are subject to a sultan-like exploiter with "neo-concubines who service him in the barroom, bathroom or wherever the beer is flowing." Such young women are always willing, no matter how demeaning.
"There used to be more assortative mating, where a '5' would date a '5,''" she writes. "But now every woman who is a '6' and above wants the hottest guy on campus, and she can have him -- for one night." Such hook-ups are powered less by the liberation of lust or sensual pleasure than by a narrow social conformity that reduces women to objects, as in the old patriarchy. This makes the rewards of marriage and children even more elusive and difficult to attain -- and maintain.
Since we began by quoting "Julius Caesar," it's only fitting to recall another famous line of the Bard: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."
Typical garbage out of hollywood. How many movies has the super smug Clooney made that have the same premise?
Obviously, not well read in her Shakespear! Modern education, modern journalism!
Shakespear = Shakespeare (modern spelling!)
I saw it. My son and I wanted to walk out but when he looked over to suggest it, he thought I was asleep.
I wasn’t. I’d just closed my eyes to escape the boredom on the screen.
The worst thing about the movie besides the total lack of any kind of morality was that it is slow moving and boring.
I kept looking at my watch. Lots of shots of people looking into the camera and, what, thinking?
The only thing I cared about at all was the young intern who felt pressured to get an abortion which was deeply against her religion.
When she did, the Ryan Gosling character, who had insisted she do it and taken her over to the ‘place’ and left her, abandoned her and left her waiting for him. The whole thing made me sick. She then committed suicide.
It was a dismal, too long movie with nothing to engage one and no characters to like. I almost got sick watching Clooney give some of this phony speeches.
DO NOT give time or money to this movie.
Exactly...no matter what the NAG's pontificate...it is still the woman that has the baby...or makes the life long emotional decision to "Not be punished for her mistake" The sight of the bright white lights and the doctor peering down at her is something that will remain with her for the rest of her life. No amount of 'Botox' can conceal a scar like that.
“the tragic dimension of a bright young woman as she is trivialized by powerful men. She accepts her trivialization as something as normal as the air she breathes.”
There’s something this reviewer misses, or intentionally ignores to make stronger his polemic against post-feminist womanhood. She is not so much “trivialized,” as her predicament is hugely important to all involved. Better to say she’s diminished from full humanity, and turned into a problem to be got over and an opportunity to be seized.
However, and importantly for her to more than a slapdash plot device, is that that girl is a True Believer. She kills herself not because she’s naive and emotionally overwhelmed, though that also. She does it because she desperately wants Clooney to be president and is afraid Gosling will prevent it. She victimizes herself.
I was pressured by another couple and my husband to see this movie. i had proclaimed that I was not willing to give one singe $$ to Clooney who wrote, directed, and starred in this dog. It was better than I anticipated.
I was shocked, however, to hear a neighbor ask afterwards in a bistro run by the movie theatre — “What do you think happened to (the ryan Gosling character) afterwards?”
We all said that he’d go right on doing the same things — his traitorous, eye for an eye, political behavior. The reason that I was shocked is that she is an administrator at a local Catholic College and she’s married to a nationally known defense attorney. You’d think that she wouldn’t have to ask that question.
If you want to see a good movie that will have you laughing, cheering, and dancing out of the theatre, go see “The Mighty Macs” and take your kids, grandkids, grandparents, as well as the neighbors’ kids. It is just delightful and is a gripping story, even though you know how it will end. It is a G movie without being insipid or juvenile. All ages will enjoy it, and it is a true story.
Oh, those uniforms!
his = her
George Cloney has all the emotional expression of moldy cheese.
for those who do not want to spend money OR TIME:
complete summary with spoilers WITHOUT spending a dime for hollyweird.
(i have no connection with the site)
Everything I have read about suggest that it makes liberals and progressives look bad.
How else would Hollywood cast an actor like Clooney? Can you see him in Citizen Kane -- as Kane? In The Lion in Winter? How about Terminator? Or maybe in John Wayne's roles in Donovan's Reef or The Sands of Iwo Jima?
All the characters in the film are Democrats. The Republicans and Tea Party are in background; they're mentioned, as is Rush Limbaugh's "Operation Chaos" (without remembering that Rush was suggesting payback for a scheme dreamed up by Markos Moulitsas in The Daily Kos).
But the 'Pubbies are what Scottish screenwriters used to call a "McGuffin" -- an idea or concept that is "out there" and around which part or all of the screenplay revolves, but doesn't actually put in an appearance.
Clooney bashing his own party. Who'd a thought it?