THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING – A Review by Cynthia Flores

 

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING – A Review by Cynthia Flores

Ok, people listen up.  On Monday, July 22nd, there will be a special Fandango event screening on over 800 screens across the US of this fantastic documentary.  So make plans to attend because This Changes Everything is the documentary that will have everyone talking.  This film spotlights decades of discrimination against women in Hollywood behind and in front of the camera.  The film was created in association with Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.  It takes an in-depth look at the history and empirically driven evidence of the systemic industry forces that are responsible for the gender disparity in today’s culture.  And let me give you a little hint, it’s not some boogeyman a hysterical woman is yelling about before fainting.  It is a real system of bias against women in Hollywood and television.  Academy Award-winning actor and executive producer Geena Davis explains, “For years women in our industry have hoped that with every successful female-driven film, we would move closer toward gender equality.  This film highlights the lack of progress and is a call to action toward change once and for all.”

I like the way this film makes its case for more access to storytelling for women and people of color in this industry.  First, there is a great history lesson in the movie by film scholar Jeanine Basinger.  She explains that women were nearly equal partners in the film industry at its origins.  She describes how things changed for the worse once the almost all-male Directors Guild of America formed.  It got worse for women directors as time went on.  In 1979, half a dozen female members of the Directors Guild known as “the Original Six” uncovered some troubling data.  They found that during the previous three decades, only 0.5% of all assignments were given to women, and they sued the studios for discriminatory hiring practices, with surprising results.  That suit is what led to the threat of a looming ACLU investigation into the unfair labor policies in Hollywood.

Then we get to hear the issues of today articulately communicated by some of the most respected women in the business.  People such as Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Taraji P. Henson, Cate Blanchett, Lena Dunham, Natalie Portman, and Meryl Streep, to name a few.  All of it then backed by hard data that will make your blood boil.

It’s not all doom and gloom surrounding the invisible sport of misogyny in the entertainment field.  This Changes Everything shows how to get change done from the top down.  They call it “The chivalry of the 21st Century” – how men in power have to step up and help make the changes needed.  They show the remarkable example of FX Network CEO John Landgraf, who was responsible for transforming FX from the network with the worst record on diversity to the best in less than a year.  And getting killer shows on the air and better ratings for it.  It was good business.

This Changes Everything is a timely documentary.  I believe it will encourage positive conversations that continue to empower women everywhere.  And as they state in the film, “What’s good for women is good for everybody.”  I give this film an A rating.

 

Directed by Tom Donahue

Rated PG-13

Selig Rating A

Running Time  96min

Documentary

Special Sneak Release on July 22nd then wider release

Starring: Geena Davis, Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, Taraji P. Henson, Cate Blanchett, Lena Dunham, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep

 

The Selig Rating Scale:

A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

B – Good movie

C – OK movie

D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.

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