By Lindsi Neilson and Trina Boice
Amy Schumer's I Feel Pretty (order it here) is all about body image, confidence, self-love, and empowerment. Are its messages worthwhile? Is it okay for your teens? We've got two reviews to help you decide!
Review by Lindsi Neilson
What’s it about?
Renee Bennett, a woman who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, suffers a head injury that leaves her believing she’s the beautiful woman she’s always wanted to be and uses her new-found confidence in her looks to make her dreams come true.
Is it any good? (Grade: B)
What would it be like if each person unconditionally loved themselves? If we were all able to shake off the constant criticism of the world, and believe that we were perfect? I Feel Pretty attempts to answer these questions in an earnest, funny, heartfelt, and sincere manner, but in my opinion, ends up oversimplifying too many societal issues to really hit home.
Amy Schumer plays her character (Renee) with energy, sincerity, and her trademark humor. Her monologues about insecurities are the best parts of the movie, as it’s during those scenes Schumer causes us to feel what Renee feels: how hard it is to live in a world that tells us to “be ourselves” while having that same world simultaneously define what exactly “being ourselves” looks like. These moments will resonate with anyone who has ever felt ostracized, different, ugly, or just not enough (honestly, is there anyone out there who hasn’t felt this way at one point or another?).
Michelle Williams (who definitely needs more comedic roles) deserves a shout out for her portrayal of Avery LeClaire, a smart and beautiful socialite who has a difficult time being taking seriously because of her voice.
At its best this movie teaches the importance of confidence in yourself and the changes that you can make in your life simply by reaching out and grabbing the opportunities. It is a lesson in self-love and courage that the world (especially women) desperately needs, but I Feel Pretty never finds itself going deep enough into the subject material to leave a lasting impression. It instead trades in the harder-to-talk-about societal issues that are causing women to constantly feel inadequate for a theme that is only skin deep, literally. The movie assumes that a woman’s only issue with herself is her confidence but then doesn’t address why women have such a problem with confidence.
I would have liked to see more from this film, but as it stands it’s still a good movie that preaches some important and worthwhile messages.
Is It okay for your kids?
Things to be aware of:
The main character suffers a few falls, one of which results in a cut to her head where blood is shown.
There is a sex scene with implied nudity, viewers will see a full silhouette of a naked woman.
Renee does participate in a bikini contest with several other woman and pours water on herself while wearing a white t-shirt.
There is quite a bit of talk about sex.
The G-word, b-word, s-word, and a-word are all used, along with words related to sex (vagina, penis, etc).
The adults in this movie do drink at bars, restaurants, and in their homes.
Any worthwhile messages?
The main message in this movie is one of loving and having confidence in yourself, and that in order to do that you must embrace your flaws and remember who you are.
Review by Trina Boice
Rating: PG-13, 110 minutes
In a Nutshell:
Every female is going to relate to this movie. I think it’s fairly safe to say that every woman has insecurities about herself. OK, maybe I’m projecting…Whether it’s a lack of confidence about how we look or speak or do certain things, most of us wish we felt better about ourselves. We can be our own worst enemy. The mirror certainly doesn't help.
This isn’t a movie about body shaming, but one of having self-confidence and trying to be your best self. In an interview with Gayle King, (she even gets a shout-out in the movie), Amy Schumer explained it as a journey, both the struggle for feeling good about one's self and her own career. It’s kind of a mix between Jack Black’s comedy Shallow Hal and Tom Hank’s charming movie Big (I loved both of them). It’s a fun chick flick…meaning, take your besties to the theater, share a giant bucket of popcorn, and don't beat yourself up for not being so perfect.
Tips for parents:
Amy Schumer stars in the film, so be prepared for some of her expected profanity and self-deprecation. You see a lot of her cleavage, mid-section, and bare naked back side a couple of times, complete with her real-life tramp stamp. There is also a scene with a bunch of beautiful women in skimpy bikinis. Also true to Amy Schumer’s comedy, there is a lot of talk about sex, as well as a super awkward sex scene in bed where you see some skin. She gets really drunk in a few scenes.
The best part of the movie is the message that it gives to women: Believe in yourself. You’re enough and you’re beautiful. Amy Schumer’s character learns that it is confidence that makes you beautiful and sexy. A secondary message is that we shouldn’t judge people just by how they look.
What was good:
Michelle Williams is hilarious and awesome. She's so effective in dramas, but it's also nice to see her in a comedic role. She has had an amazing few months in the success of The Greatest Showman and All the Money in the World. She’s on a roll! Most young people won’t know who Lauren Hutton is. There is a picture towards the very end of the movie that shows Lauren Hutton when she was at the peak of her modeling days as the beautiful young woman she was.I thought it was really fun to have her in the movie as the founder of the cosmetics company, Lily LeClaire.
I liked that the Soul Cycle teacher told all of the class participants to “set an intention.” If we were all more mindful and proactive about our lives, we’d be surprised at how much better things turned out. She tells her cycling students, “Change your mind, change your life.” Renee (Amy Schumer) wears a sweatshirt at the beginning of the movie that says “Get it Girl!” which is the anthem of the movie. Take your flaws and STILL believe in yourself. It’s refreshing to see how brave Amy Schumer is about making fun of herself and flaunting her more than size 2 body. Her stand-up comedy bits have always been completely honest, although extremely raunchy. I admire that she doesn't let Hollywood make her feel terrible about herself.
I laughed at the beginning when the camera scanned all of Renee’s beauty products in her bathroom. Most of us women spend ridiculous amounts of money on products, hoping they will FINALLY be the magic pill to make us look prettier and feel better about ourselves. The ironic thing about this movie is that Renee works for a cosmetic company and her speech at the end sells more make-up. Some movie critics were really bothered by that, but in her speech, she explains, “This make-up line won’t change your life – only you can do that.”
What was not so good:
You know what else is attractive? Virtue and humility. While Hollywood has been pumping out a lot of “be who you are” movies lately, there is a serious lack of movies that celebrate women, or men for that matter, who are virtuous and humble.
“I think a lot of people are confused about themselves.” – Ethan
“I started to believe that if I wanted it bad enough, all my dreams could come true.” – Renee Bennett
“What if we never lost that little girl confidence?” – Renee
“I know I look good. I don’t need a room full of drunk guys to confirm it.” – Renee
I am brave. I am blonde. And I got this!” – Mason (Adrian Martinez)
Looking for another fine female empowerment comedy? Look no further than Thoroughly Modern Millie, with Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore. Rent or buy it here.
Lindsi Neilson currently works for Brigham Young University in the Theatre and Media Arts department, and is a freelance technical director and stage manager for several theatre companies in the Utah Valley area. In her free time she loves photography, stand up paddle-boarding, running 5k’s, reading, spoiling her nieces and nephews, and (you guessed it!) watching movies. For more of Lindsi’s writing visit lindsimichellephotography.blogspot.com.