Shrill Expands Television's Treatment of Fatphobia and Body Image

Shrill is undeniably a show about navigating the world while fat, but it’s also about self-esteem, loneliness, friendship, and righteous anger. The first episode features a devastatingly accurate read of the emotional calculus many fat people perform to justify the ways in which they diminish themselves; finding elaborate ways to try to be “enough” and finally deserve affection. But it also features a guilt-free abortion that ends not with the patient feeling sad or regretful, but proud and powerful that she was finally able to take control of her life. That, too, is a radical moment of television in an increasingly conservative political landscape.

Captain Marvel Pulls Off Charm But Carries the Baggage of the MCU Universe

Captain Marvel’s biggest issue is that it is narratively hobbled by appearing so late in the MCU’s canon. Instead of being able to function as a relatively standalone introductory film like the franchise’s other origin stories, its primary purpose is to act as a bridge to Avengers: Endgame. As with last summer’s Ant-Man and the Wasp, shifting the stakes after the end of Infinity War is a difficult task. It’s harder to care about lost mothers or lost memories when the literal fate of the universe hangs in the balance. 

Lady Gaga’s “Bad” Pop Song From A Star Is Born Actually Rules

The problem is not with “Why Did You Do That?” but with the fact that A Star Is Born is largely framed through the eyes of Jackson, played by Bradley Cooper. His resentment of Ally’s rising success as his own star declines colors the way he perceives her music, and by extension, the way the film frames the music’s quality. The movie thinks “Why Did You Do That?” is a bad song because Jackson thinks it’s a bad record, and the movie is by and large a reflection of his experiences of their relationship.

Widows Is the Rare Heist Film That Explores Women's Sacrifice

Betrayal is intrinsic to Widows: In order to right their husbands’ wrongs, they must accept that they were intentionally left in the dark by the men they loved. When men err in these narratives, women feel justified in wrestling back control of their lives, even in ways that are unambiguously criminal. In Widows, these women’s actions are driven not just by the need to get even, but by their need to survive.

Creed II Lacks the Spark to Rewrite Rocky History Again

The film doesn’t seem to realize that Viktor is this film’s Creed—an upstart underdog saddled with a legacy he never asked for and fighting like hell prove to himself worthy of a name he didn’t choose. Both men are actors in a decades-long stage play, and their much-touted fight is the rising action of a final act for which they’ve both written different endings. Both are simply doing as the rigid rules of masculinity require: defeating their foes through violence. The problem is that none of this is ever fully articulated at any point during the film.

Green Book Is Another Film About Race for White People

Despite its frustrating politics, Green Book is the type of film tailor-made to court awards consideration from an Academy that had to be shamed into diversifying its ranks. With its insistence on the pretense of loving our way into racial harmony, the movie exists almost exclusively to allow white moviegoers to nod sagely about “how far we’ve come” before calling the cops on their black neighbors for not waving hello.

Well-Read Black Girl's Glory Edim On Her Book Club and the Importance of Representation

“The responsibility of a writer representing an oppressed people is to make revolution irresistible,” said Toni Cade Bambara in 1976. It’s a sentiment that women working in the black feminist literary tradition understand intimately, making it a fitting guiding ethos for Glory Edim’s second annual Well-Read Black Girl Fest. 

Taylor Swift Can’t Save You

In a way, this would seem like the Occam’s razor—an event of such political significance occurred that Swift finally felt a moral obligation to break her public silence. But even if we accept this as true, it only brings more questions to mind, primarily: Why did it take the public flagellation of a white woman to get her to shift her stance? Was it simply the first time she’d seen her privilege challenged in such a definitive way?

Assassination Nation and the Cathartic Power of Female Rage

The witch hunt has historically been about decimating the women who refuse to conform; who fail to perfect the delicate balancing act between “sexually available” and “slut,” “chaste” and “prude.” But men have co-opted even that, claiming the term to describe any call for long overdue consequences of their wanton disregard for female personhood in all its forms. So why shouldn’t we just take up arms, raze it all down and reclaim the world as our own? 

Natalie Portman Embodies Pop Spectacle in Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux

With Vox Lux, Corbet speaks to how pop music is far more about the spectacle than the music, but he also examines how unnecessary intellectual rigor or technical skill is to the process. The modern pop star’s job is not to tell us how to feel, but to provide us with a template upon which to project our feelings. They bring the melodic frame and we bring the emotional heft. It is a symbiotic relationship of sorts: we pay them to reflect ourselves back to us.

Where Hands Touch Can't Make a Nazi Love Story Work

While expertly made, the film fails because it refuses to meaningfully acknowledge the basic truth of the terrifying power dynamics between the two lovers. […] Where Hands Touch focuses so much on the idea that love can traverse any boundary that it forgets there’s no love strong enough to bridge a genocide.