Friday, June 19, 2009

Now Showing in a Movie Review Near You: Queer Criticism!

I am a habitual movie review reader. Sometimes, movie reviews are even more entertaining than the actual movie itself. And sometimes, reviewers make really intelligent, insightful comments (beyond "Keanu Reeves can't act" or "Terminator Salvation is heavy on special effects"). Case in point: a review of Sandra Bullock's new movie "The Proposal", written by MSNBC writer Alonso Duralde, who dares to point out one of many ways a rom-com takes for granted the rights of heterosexual couples!

For anyone who hasn't heard about "The Proposal," Bullock plays a Canadian working in the US as a high-powered book editor. When she finds out she's about to be deported, she decides she'll secure that precious green card by marrying her assistant (Ryan Reynolds).

Ah, the classic green card marriage. Always a good way around those pesky expired visas, right? Not so fast! Duralde points out a different POV:

"There’s a lot of heterosexual privilege on display in “The Proposal” — foreign-born men and women in same-sex relationships with U.S. citizens often find themselves deported to their home countries and have no legal standing to fight to stay; with the Uniting American Families Act making its way through Congress, it’s hard to feel too sorry for Margaret’s career obstacles."

I'm pretty impressed--in the midst of (ahem) cheery chick flick land, an act of subversion that mentions heterosexual privilege and Congressional legislation in one sentence! While it can be said that every rom-com displays some form of heterosexual privilege (for obvious reasons), I think it's great that Duralde points out specifically yet another way same-sex couples are at a severe disadvantage without marriage rights. Kudos to him!

I'm curious whether the movie does anything with the non-traditional female boss/female "proposal" aspect of the plot. I had high hopes when I first saw a poster for the movie (at the time I didn't know anything about the movie's plot) which shows Bullock presenting a ring to an anxious Reynolds. But then again, the whole "woman forces reluctant man into marriage" plot is nothing new...


Anonymous said...

every time Bullock and Reynolds were close to each other in the Proposal i got the feeling that she looks/acts too old to be his fiance/girlfriend

Jessica said...

Erin, I loved your post today!