What is one of your favorite strong female character movies and why?
A film that my daughter and I watched countless times was Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” The 2005 version of the film with Keira Knightly simply captivated my then 10-year-old. It’s also a visually stunning film; the sets, costumes, and the cinematography of the gorgeous British countryside are incredible. I think this film is a good example of strong females in literature and in film, specifically the character of Elizabeth. “Lizzy” is strong willed and determined to go on with her life as she sees fit, not bending to the social pressures and norms of the time. I like that we can also see her go through some uncomfortable moments because of her decisions. This film shows us the consequences of Lizzy’s choices, and how those didn’t always lead to an entirely desirable life. In the end, though it isn’t quite what we would like to see, it is what Lizzy decided was best for her. It took a lot of courage for a woman like Lizzy to confront the prejudices of society at that time.
For younger girls, “Brave” is a film with a strong young woman as the principal character. Princess Merida doesn’t want to rely on a prince to save her. And similar to Lizzy, she goes against cultural traditions causing a great deal of turmoil for her family in the process.
What is your opinion of a film trend I have noted which portrays children as being capable of ‘righting evil’ and solving adult problems. I always cringe at it and wonder why media chooses to place that burden on a child’s head? Or better still why parents allow them to do so!
This is something very common in children’s movies. In some, it almost seems like kids don’t have any parents. My children also grew up with these representations of self-reliant kids in films. Though children saving the world in movies is not how things happen in the real world, I think kids learn a little something from some of these situations; perhaps it shows kids that they are not entirely helpless. I think a good example of this is Kevin McAllister. He is the precocious 8 year-old in “Home Alone” who faces bandits and makes up all kinds of contraptions to scare them off. Though this is really far-fetched for an 8-year-old child to do, this unexpected hit movie captured kids and adult’s imagination — and it sure made for an entertaining film which audiences loved.
What did you get your master’s degree in from the University of Oxford, England?
I have a Master of Philosophy in Latin American Studies with a focus on politics, history, and economics. Nothing to do with the film or entertainment industry!
I see a steady march of progress in the industry to ever more importance on sensationalizing the graphics of animated films and wonder where will it end. And ask myself if something isn’t lost in CGI animation that only the hand of an artist can impart. Any comments?
If by sensationalizing you mean special effects like explosions and violence, I agree it is increasingly worse. And think that entertainment and media are reaching unchartered territory in this regard. Traditional animation had its limits, and perhaps this is the reason the degree of violent scenes were not as graphic in 2D. CGI is the new frontier, and we really don’t know the extent of its use in films intended for children. As long as parents continue to push back when a film or show crosses a line, it is the best way to try to keep Hollywood in check. This is not an easy battle, but fortunately there are organizations who work to combat these excesses in films intended for children. Common Sense Media and the Parents Television Council advocate for appropriate children’s content in films and television programs.
Suzette Valle is an award-winning mother of two and freelance writer focusing on family entertainment. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of San Diego and has a Master’s Degree from Oxford University, England. Suzette has been a director and board member of several non-profit organizations in her community, including the Parent Teacher’s Association, Islander Sports Foundation, and is currently a board member of the San Diego-based international charity Foundation for Women. She also has her own blog, Mamarazzi Knows Best.com, where she writes about parenting in a celebrity-driven society and all aspects of entertainment. She is a featured Hollyblogger at the award-winning Hollywood publication The Wrap.com where she contributes film reviews, interviews with celebrities, and has covered and written about pop-culture events like Comic-Con International where she’s interviewed actors, directors, producers and writers about current and upcoming projects. Her articles have been featured on YahooMovies.com, MSNentertainment.com, and REUTERS among others. She wrote over 30 articles for the monthly column Parent Talk for AOL’s Patch.com, and headed this publication’s Parents Council in her community. Suzette lives in the seaside town of Coronado, California. This enchanted island is also known as the Emerald City because L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, penned several of the Oz books here. Suzette enjoys watching movies, and walks on the beach with her husband of 25 years and Bella, her adorable dog.
Here is a link to the entire tour-which went live last week as the first stop: http://blog.quartoknows.com/quartokids/2015/09/25/101-movies-to-see-before-you-grow-up/
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