Zoe Kazan “Sparks” an Epiphany

Lately , in writing about Brave and movies that focus on big-screen female characters, I’ve been thinking about how movies can reinforce harmful stereotypes of women, or set bold, truthful, and liberating precedents.

Looks like Lauren Wilford, over at Filmwell, has been thinking about some of the same things. Here she is, passionately describing her gratitude for a new film that many of us might otherwise have overlooked.

Wilford writes:

I don’t think of myself as a person with a feminist axe to grind. Ruby Sparks touched a nerve, though, because it was a movie about the kind of anxiety that movies can give to women. It lodged itself in my brain because it told a story that had always been mine and had not been told, at least not in popular culture, at least not recently. As a creative, self-aware young woman growing into my identity – and as a girl who has spent most of her formative years in long-term relationships– I have struggled to name the thing that has kept me silent when I might have spoken, adrift when I might have dropped an anchor, anxious when I might have had rest. I believe it is that I have wanted to leave myself airy enough to be someone’s dream girl, porous enough to soak up someone else’s idea of me.

Zoe Kazan realizes that the dream girl is a cultural poison, and has she set out to do something about it. And for that I am eternally grateful. … The film is an unmistakeable assault on the conceit of the manic pixie dream girl.

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet has two passions: writing fiction, and celebrating art — music, cinema, photography, literature — through writing and teaching. He is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” — Through a Screen Darkly. And his four-novel fantasy series, The Auralia Thread, which begins with Auralia's Colors, was published by Random House. He speaks at universities and conferences around the world about understanding art through eyes of faith. He is earning his MFA in Creative Writing at Seattle Pacific University, where he has worked for 11 years as an editor, writer, and communications project manager. His work has been recognized in The New Yorker, TIME, The Seattle Times, IMAGE, Ravi Zacharias International — and Christianity Today, where he served as a film journalist for more than a decade. He recently began a weekly column called "Listening Closer" for Christ and Pop Culture.