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The trials and triumphs of women, synthetic and otherwise

This week’s new movie releases include Blade Runner 2049, The Queen of Spain, and The Mountain Between Us

Blade Runner 2049: “Look on my works, ye horny, and despair.”
Blade Runner 2049: “Look on my works, ye horny, and despair.”

Ryan Gosling may be at the center of Blade Runner 2049, but he’s surrounded by women: his boss at the police station, his opposite number on the corporate side of the investigation, his digital girlfriend, her human avatar, the leader of a rebellion — the list goes on. Even the film’s version of Ozymandias is female!

Movie

Blade Runner 2049 **

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Director Denis Villeneuve’s gorgeous, gargantuan sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 neon-noir about what happens when humanity creates its own superior. People are notoriously fragile, fickle things; if we go giving intelligence to something more durable and dependable, what do we have left to brag about? The answer, this time around: the “animal” part of “man is a rational animal.” For all their virtue and verisimilitude, it seems that replicants can’t replicate — <em>or can they</em>? Tough yet tender cop Ryan Gosling gets put on the trail of a supposed miracle baby, and while his boss just wants to preserve order by keeping a clear distinction between Us and Them, the people behind Them seem to think that gestation is somehow a more efficient form of production than manufacture. It ain’t much of a premise, but it’s enough to frame a detective story with multiple interested parties, one that takes Gosling from one stunning landscape or interior to another, and puts him through the wringer in most of them. (At least he has a digital girlfriend for company and consolation.) It’s great to look at, a little less great to listen to, and a lot less great to think about, in matters both big and small. (Why should birth be the essential mark of personal dignity? Why keep your interrogation tools off-world? Why leave your rival alive when you’ve already killed his boss? <em>Why do things created without freedom stop obeying?</em> As one replicant notes, “I wasn’t aware that was an option.” Etc.) These sorts of things occur during a 163-minute movie that might have fit into 130. Still, there’s a frisson in seeing fecundity exalted in a world bent on selling pleasure-sex.

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It’s a little like the complicated social dynamics of Better Watch Out, which sort of stars a babysitter but also stars her male charges. But that one slipped by the old Reader review board.

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The Queen of Spain, on the other hand, takes a more traditional approach to elevating women: by making one the star and giving her authority. Te Ata does the same, telling the story of a Native American storyteller. There’s more female royalty in My Little Pony: The Movie in the form of Princess Twilight Sparkle, but that one escaped review as well. We did, however, catch What Have You Done to Solange?, which puts women at the other end of the spectrum by slaughtering them.

Kate Winslet, meanwhile, goes for something more equitable, starring alongside Idris Elba in the survival pic The Mountain Between Us.

Of course, not every film can be gynocentric: time should be taken to attend to seniors and surfers as well. And architecture — can’t forget that.

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Blade Runner 2049: “Look on my works, ye horny, and despair.”
Blade Runner 2049: “Look on my works, ye horny, and despair.”

Ryan Gosling may be at the center of Blade Runner 2049, but he’s surrounded by women: his boss at the police station, his opposite number on the corporate side of the investigation, his digital girlfriend, her human avatar, the leader of a rebellion — the list goes on. Even the film’s version of Ozymandias is female!

Movie

Blade Runner 2049 **

thumbnail

Director Denis Villeneuve’s gorgeous, gargantuan sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 neon-noir about what happens when humanity creates its own superior. People are notoriously fragile, fickle things; if we go giving intelligence to something more durable and dependable, what do we have left to brag about? The answer, this time around: the “animal” part of “man is a rational animal.” For all their virtue and verisimilitude, it seems that replicants can’t replicate — <em>or can they</em>? Tough yet tender cop Ryan Gosling gets put on the trail of a supposed miracle baby, and while his boss just wants to preserve order by keeping a clear distinction between Us and Them, the people behind Them seem to think that gestation is somehow a more efficient form of production than manufacture. It ain’t much of a premise, but it’s enough to frame a detective story with multiple interested parties, one that takes Gosling from one stunning landscape or interior to another, and puts him through the wringer in most of them. (At least he has a digital girlfriend for company and consolation.) It’s great to look at, a little less great to listen to, and a lot less great to think about, in matters both big and small. (Why should birth be the essential mark of personal dignity? Why keep your interrogation tools off-world? Why leave your rival alive when you’ve already killed his boss? <em>Why do things created without freedom stop obeying?</em> As one replicant notes, “I wasn’t aware that was an option.” Etc.) These sorts of things occur during a 163-minute movie that might have fit into 130. Still, there’s a frisson in seeing fecundity exalted in a world bent on selling pleasure-sex.

Find showtimes

It’s a little like the complicated social dynamics of Better Watch Out, which sort of stars a babysitter but also stars her male charges. But that one slipped by the old Reader review board.

Sponsored
Sponsored

The Queen of Spain, on the other hand, takes a more traditional approach to elevating women: by making one the star and giving her authority. Te Ata does the same, telling the story of a Native American storyteller. There’s more female royalty in My Little Pony: The Movie in the form of Princess Twilight Sparkle, but that one escaped review as well. We did, however, catch What Have You Done to Solange?, which puts women at the other end of the spectrum by slaughtering them.

Kate Winslet, meanwhile, goes for something more equitable, starring alongside Idris Elba in the survival pic The Mountain Between Us.

Of course, not every film can be gynocentric: time should be taken to attend to seniors and surfers as well. And architecture — can’t forget that.

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