In putting together this reel of Amy Adams’ work I could not help but notice how brilliant she is. The Best Actress race this year is filled with some of the best work from some of the best actors in the business. If you look at Junebug, then go all the way to The Master, and Doubt, and then to Arrival and Nocturnal Animals you see a well honed instrument and an actress who is unafraid of the dark. Although Hollywood prefers to start closing doors on actresses as they get older, watching Adams evolve is proof that they should be doing just the opposite.
Adams can be funny (Psycho Beach Party, Junebug, Enchanted) by making the joke on her. She’s really good at being the last person in the room to get why people are laughing, and also by having no self-awareness. But she can also be a complicated lead (American Hustle, The Master, Nocturnal Animals) and now, we know, a linguist and scientist caught up in a metaphysical question.
Women in Hollywood, especially now – are caught up in a strange loop. The opinions of women don’t matter anymore, not really. So women who write about films, women who pay to see films, women like me – we don’t matter to the decision makers. And if you look at the box office and you look at cinemascore and you look at international box office you will see why. Men almost always seem to prefer the storylines that revolve around the “one special boy” or “one special man” – women are sidelined, as Amy Adams has been for much of her career, as most actresses must be if they want to work.
Add to that, the opinions of women don’t always amount to their liking films about women – at least those that aren’t romantic comedies. The audience for a film about a smart female scientists figuring out how to communicate with heptapods doesn’t necessarily include women, although I would argue that women probably respond to Arrival more personally. In Telluride, reception to the film split down gender lines – Oscar pundits like Scott Feinberg and Jeff Wells immediately wrote it off as “too confusing” for Oscar voters. Doesn’t anyone use their brains anymore? I mean really use their brains? I guess not when it comes to watching movies – and I have found that many of today’s audiences are more willing to write off the leads if they are women.
So we have films like Hidden Figures and La La Land and Arrival and Jackie and Fences, and even Manchester by the Sea in its own way, where women are thinkers and doers, where they aren’t necessarily confused, lost and falling apart. I don’t think movies, by the way, ought to necessarily answer the call of political correctness. But I do expect, as a movie goer, to not slap my forehead every time I see a dull cliche – boobs and ass brought in a on a tray and a bad writer’s version of a woman who can shoot a gun as being “strong.”
For me, it isn’t about correcting the ills of society but rather making the characters interesting and well written all the way around. Good writing means considering all of the characters who have lines, and even some who don’t. Good movies require good writing. Arrival is one of the best films of the year because of its writing – and because the entire film is in the hands of one capable actress and that actress is Amy Adams.
We present to you…