I Feel Pretty (Parent And Baby Screening) (12A)
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Starring: Tom Hopper, Michelle Williams, Amy Schumer, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel
Director: Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Writer(s): Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland
Renee Barrett works behind the scenes on the website for luxury cosmetics brand Lily LeClaire. By chance, a position for receptionist becomes vacant in the company's plush office on Fifth Avenue in New York and Renee musters her courage to apply. Shortly before her interview, Renee hits her head in the gym and the knock compels the young woman to see herself as magazine spread thin and beautiful. Buoyed by her newfound confidence, Renee dazzles Avery and snags a boyfriend called Ethan.
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LondonNet Film Review
I Feel Pretty (12A)
I feel many things about writer-directors Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn's romantic comedy of female empowerment and body fascism, but none of them are particularly pretty. As someone who has struggled with weight issues since boyhood and suffered fat shaming, I'm acutely aware of - perhaps too sensitive to - the deep emotional and psychological wounds that can be inflicted every time you look in a mirror. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but when all you see is a warped vision of reality, filtered through a prism of other people's disdain, airbrushed advertising and supposed gym-ripped perfection, it's hard to appreciate natural curves, scars or birthmarks as the very things that set each of us apart as ravishing, unique creatures...
I'm certain that I Feel Pretty doesn't mean to offend. Lead actress Amy Schumer has brilliantly lampooned issues of self-esteem, femininity and suffocating convention in her TV sketch show and the hilarious 2015 film Trainwreck. However, here she is at the mercy of Silverstein and Kohn's script, which piles on misery and self-loathing in the opening hour until it becomes impossible to achieve redemption, even with Schumer working tirelessly to milk laughs from each set-up.
Renee Barrett (Schumer) works behind the scenes on a website for luxury cosmetics brand Lily LeClaire, which is run by CEO Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) from the company's plush office on Fifth Avenue in New York. By chance, a position for receptionist becomes vacant and Renee musters the courage to apply. She secures an interview because Avery has been advised by her grandmother Lily (Lauren Hutton) to broaden the demographic employed by the company so it better reflects the women who buy the products. Shortly before her face-to-face with Avery, Renee hits her head during her spin cycle gym class and the sickening knock induces the applicant to see herself as magazine spread thin and beautiful. To everyone else, she is the same Renee, except now she fizzes with self-confidence. Consequently, Renee dazzles Avery, snags an adoring boyfriend called Ethan (Rory Scovel) and turns the head of Avery's handsome brother Grant (Tom Hopper).
I Feel Pretty left an exceedingly bitter taste in my mouth, despite my unabiding love for Schumer, who looks gorgeous and radiant in every frame. The romance with Scovel is sweetly adorable but the script creates a minefield for the actors because Renee only accepts that she's beautiful after Ethan tells her she is. She has to be validated by him, and by other people around her, and that isn't healthy. It completely undermines Renee's inspirational, tub-thumping speech on how carefree girls are subjected to a barrage of criticism and polished advertising that steals their childhood innocence, self-confidence and individuality. The sermon is sound and incredibly vital. Unfortunately, Silverstein and Kohn's church is unfit.
- Jo Planter
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