By: Addison Wylie
Mary Dore’s She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a solid film, and joins the ranks of other docs that remind us of how unbalanced the past was through. The documentation stuns and embarrasses, but Dore sticks with professionalism and avoids turning her film into a shame project.
Dore reinforces the power of communication in critical times. Before feminism was taken seriously, women who felt discriminated were often ignored. A female character type was established as someone who abides and doesn’t speak out with “silly” concerns such as equality. A select group of ladies found out their problem wasn’t personal, but rather widespread; leading these individuals to create the National Organization for Women (NOW).
Influenced by other outspoken and mistreated activists, NOW organized events that brought sexism issues to the forefront. The members were brave and impassioned. Onlookers were frightened and provoked, but NOW’s courage lit a fire that would serve as inspiration.
She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a conventional documentary that follows the usual ropes of a “talking head” project, but Dore finds invigorating electricity in the vital subjects she interviews. Many are those who were originally part of NOW, including one interviewee who has kept many souvenirs and artifacts that overflow with meaning as she withdrawals them from a box. A seemingly mundane effort holds deep emotion and context.
Before watching She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, I was talking to a fellow colleague about the importance of consistency in writing. I thought the same would apply to most crafts, but this documentary has proved an exception to the rule.
In a sense, Dore does lose her way. She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry chugs along like a well-maintained locomotive travelling across empty prairies and sparsely populated hamlets. It runs without a hitch, but the film also doesn’t swell towards bigger and better filmmaking aspirations. I don’t know if I’m alone on this, but it’s a bit weird watching a movie portraying strong feminist tenacity in the quaintest ways possible.