94: Snow White and the Huntsman (in which I analyze)

Snow White & the Huntsman – June 1, 2012
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth
Written by: Evan Daughterty, John Lee Hancock, Hossein Amini
Directed by: Rupert Sanders

The plot: “In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.” – IMDB

My thoughts: I’ll talk about the good stuff before I just ramble on and on about what I didn’t like about the movie.

1. Charlize was badass and beautiful and over-the-top (which I liked). Her costumes were a-maaah-zing.
2. Special effects were really cool. It was absolutely a movie I liked watching. It was visually stimulating. A+ on all that.
3. They made it gritty and that was cool. It was kind of “Game of Thrones”-esque inside the castle. I like that they weren’t afraid to “go there” as it were.

So let’s get down to it. If you’ve read even a few of my blog posts, you’ll probably have noticed that I tend to give movies the ol’ feminist eye when I watch them and I went into the movie thinking “Please be feminist, please be feminist” because it had such an opportunity to make it that way. And it just…didn’t. Not really.

Some people see KStew’s acting as being subtle, quiet, deep, whatever. Other people see her as being boring as shit and having the most annoying ticks/acting habits ever. I fall into the latter category. So yes, I did not read her as having a “quiet strength,” I saw her as being sulky and never once smiling and having zero passion about anything.

This take on Snow White gives the illusion of feminism. It says, “Look! Here’s this totally atypically beautiful girl (not at all), who is gentle (boring), but possessing an inner-strength (she just wants her kingdom back), and she doesn’t need to end up with a guy (the movie is called Snow White & the Huntsman and that lingering look at the end? Try and tell me that we’re not lead to believe that they end up together off-screen. Because they do).” Now let’s break this shit down:

BEAUTY

Great value is still placed on beauty in this movie, but it’s only okay if you’re just naturally beautiful. If you suck it out of anyone, then you shouldn’t be beautiful. There are some women in the movie who have given themselves (let’s be honest, minimal) scars on their faces and suddenly they’re not considered beautiful? What message is this sending? And why must “fair” hold the connotation of “beauty, attractiveness” when the twist could be that it means “just”? This movie could have done so much – had a truly normal-looking girl play the lead and give it a message of beauty only being skin deep and that strong character and will is what makes someone beautiful and worthy of the throne.

VIRTUE

The symbolism in Snow White was just about as obvious as the symbolism in The Chronicles of Narnia. In the movie, Snow White is said “to be life itself” and by that they mean she’s pure and by that they mean she is virginal – she is what a woman is meant to be. And it’s sooo obvious what they mean. She only rides white horses (who just appear when she needs them and die for her, no big deal), The Great Stag or whatever (also white) only appears for her and come on, that right there is a God-like figure. When she comes back to life, she is wearing a simple white dress, not unlike Christ and in the typical color of purity – White. She dies eating an apple (naturally poisonous because women are always fucking up by eating apples) and her name is SNOW WHITE. And she’s been trapped in a tower all her life so she’s hardly even been looked at by a man, let alone any human.

MASCULINITY

None. She has no masculinity in this movie. And I’m not saying she needs to, but it’s odd that all of her strengths are distinctly feminine. She connects with animals, she saves people, she cries, men fawn over her, and so on and so forth. Sure, she suits up and goes into battle but does not know how to fight. She is a damsel in distress for a large majority of the movie. When she saves the Huntsman from a troll, she does so with a scream and a calming energy or whatever. So yes, her femininity is her strength, awesome. But the fact that all she has is femininity is gendering her in an odd way.

WOMEN FIGHTING WITH WOMEN

Man, why are these stories about women being terrible to and having issues with other women? We already have men trying to bring us down, why do we have to go after each other? If anything, Ravenna’s revenge plan seems skewed. She hates men who use her for her beauty so she becomes more beautiful and kills other beautiful girls who probably also suffer the same fate that she did/would have? You think she’d be rounding up all the women trying to take down all the men but then this would be a review about all the misandry in the movie. The point is, the core of this story is about one woman hating another woman – not doing a damn thing for a plight, ladies! And over who’s hotter of all things.

Man, I don’t even know. I wanted it to be feminist, to truly have a strong female warrior lead who could blur the line between masculine and feminine and change the idea that “beauty wins” because that isn’t the right message.

Critics are right in calling it a darker fairy tale because it is dark. It’s dark to let young girls or impressionable women leave a theater with this belief that beauty+goodness=GOOD and beauty+evil=BAD because that’s not the point. GOODNESS=GOOD, EVIL=BAD. Beauty has nothing to do with it. God damn Hollywood, just perpetuating the myths of beauty and purity, always pitting woman against woman. How you gonna do us like that?

Stars: 2/5 (1 for visuals, 1 for Charlize)

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