This Changes Everything comes from a good place. But, the points expressed in this documentary about gender inequality are sometimes muddled by the doc’s filmmaking.
The film highlights a hot topic that’s seems to be more relevant than it ever has been, and develops it into something more than headline fodder. Initiated by actor Geena Davis (and the progress she has made with her Institute on Gender in Media), This Changes Everything questions the imbalance of the female influence in Hollywood; approaching thought-provoking suggestions of how the industry is made up of men making entertainment for men, and examples of how women have been misrepresented and mistreated in filmmaking. The documentary boasts an impressive line-up of actors (including Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep), executives, and other creative artists, and the film gives these subjects a chance to explain their industry experiences and what they believe needs to change to make room for fair portrayals.
It’s easy to get on board with the opinions and arguments being expressed in This Changes Everything, including the outdated concept of women facing difficulties to direct movies. However, although the documentary was produced by men and women, it’s a little more than eyebrow-raising to figure out by the end credits that This Changes Everything was directed by a man (Tom Donahue). It doesn’t disparage this point addressed by the documentary, but it sure does weigh down the documentary’s credibility; as do the clips used from satirical movies and television shows to express a cynical perspective of women in Hollywood (clips from the 2000s film franchise of Charlie’s Angels are moot considering Drew Barrymore and her production company Flower Films produced those tongue-in-cheek movies). This Changes Everything also comes from a class of documentary that favours cited statistics flashed across the screen for effect, which takes some of the wind from the film’s sails.
While the documentary itself is a bit of a disappointment, This Changes Everything brings awareness to multiple issues with inequality. Here’s hoping the film reaches, and inspires, the right people.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie