Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beautiful the movie

Have you seen "Beautiful" the movie? With Minnie Driver and Sally field?

Tag line from IMDB says Sometimes you have to give up the life of your dreams, to discover the dream of your life... On her journey to become the next Miss American Miss, a young woman is forced to reevaluate her life's goal and, in the process, discovers what's really important and what it truly means to be... Beautiful.

Mona (Driver, who co-produced with her sister Kate) is a white trash young woman desperately attempting to achieve her life-long desire of becoming a beauty contestant winner of the Miss America pageant and spends the entire length of her life (and the film) in doggedly determined to do just that.

Unfortunately during her quest she gets pregnant and for reasons never fully explained (except the given that she is extremely selfish) has the child raised by her long-suffering best friend, Ruby (Adams), a nurse in an old folks' home, who stands by Mona through thick and thin. Gradually little Vanessa (Eisenberg, the moppet from those Pepsi commercials), begins to put two and two together and when Ruby is suddenly thrown in jail (for murder! Yes the plotting is ridiculous; seems one of her charges was saving up on her daily meds and finally overdosed unbeknownst to Ruby) Mona is faced with her greatest challenge: facing her daughter.

The film has not one shred of grace or subtlety. For example, with Vanessa as her new hurdle to overcome, what does Mona do. Get a lawyer, get a job, feed the tyke? No. She gets a camera and has the girl take candids of her for the upcoming big event and in one of the many cringe worthy moments finds herself assisting a pregnant woman's delivery in a supermarket, singing 'Wind Beneath My Wings' (!) The tone of the character is so mean-spirited that ultimately you don't care one iota if she succeeds in becoming a winner (she is so obsessed with this that nothing else matters in her life) and I actually loathed her for her displays of self-absorption and greed.

It was sickening and by the film's outrageous conclusion that Mona sees the errors of her way totally rings false and feels superfluous to the rest of the film.

Field, who obviously is one of our most talented actresses, should deserve better projects and one can only hope she will. As for Driver, another equally gifted actress, she had better get it into her head that there is no audience for a character that has no scruples, heart or affection for another character. If this was meant to be a black comedy then it completely misses the mark altogether.

I did not really care for the social message or the movie so much, but it is interesting to see, what people are willing to sacrifice in search of beauty or beauty pagents. Have you seen it? what do you think of it?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Beautiful in different cultures

It has been said, beauty is in eye of beholder. It is true, being beautiful means different to different people and different culture. What is this elusive quality called beauty? Beauty is anything that pleasures the basic senses of any person. Beauty in eastern and western culture varies so much.

Check out following reads;

Become beautiful
where blogger talks about culture issues and how to become more beautiful. You will love these tips.

Clueless beautiful This post has been viewed thousands of time and has a deep philological thought provoking thoughts in it. Here is some excerpt from the article.

"Why do we value beautiful women? Recently there was a high profile hoax online where someone pretended to be a 19 year old woman stricken with leukemia. A few pictures of her were posted of a rather attractive young lady. The result was a massive outpouring of emotional support and not a few gifts mailed to her.

In discussions after the hoax was revealed, someone pointed out that the response would not have been as great if the victim had been portrayed as a 50 year old man. If the purpose of the hoax was to attract attention and sympathy, then a 19 year old beautiful woman was nearly perfect. Somehow it seems as if the untimely death of that woman is more tragic than any other.

Indeed, this is true. But why? Why do we seem to value beautiful young women above all others?

I think this runs deep; indeed I think it is instinctive. But before I talk about that, let's discuss the ethics of it.

I can't accept on an ethical basis that any person's value should be rated based on their age, sex or physical attributes. As soon as any criterion is introduced which permits us to decide that some people are more valuable than others, then the door is opened to unspeakable evil. I see no ethical benefit whatever from such ranking. Therefore I must categorize it as a "bad" thing.

But our instincts aren't based on ethics. They're based on utility. We value beautiful young women because they are the most important members of a tribe of hunter/gatherers."

Interesting huh? What do you all think? Please share your thoughts.