Why Into The Woods Is A Feminist Movie

Screenshot 2015-01-09 at 8.07.22 AM

Over the break my family and I went on a rare family excursion to the movie theater and saw Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall. My mother was the one that suggested the film and my sister and I agreed on the choice so we headed out. I had learned a little bit about Into the Woods after watching the Today show’s movie review segment. The movie was given good reviews so I assumed the film would be okay. I had never seen or heard of the musical Into the Woods (the original 1987 Broadway show that the 2014 film adaptation is based on) so I was in for a surprise. As I found out from the opening song of the movie, the story line of Into the Woods follows various fairy tale characters including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. The lives of these well known characters and some new ones (a childless baker and his wife) intertwine in the main setting of the film—the woods.

In all, this film was pretty good, good enough that I’d watch it again. The main reason why I enjoyed the film (besides the fact that it was a musical) is because of the underlying themes and morals in the work. Not only does the film talk about grand themes like courage, love, and family. The film also covers topics and presents morals that help with parenting, griefinfluence, the gray area between right and wrong. What I found most interesting about the film, however, was the subtle undertone of Feminist ideals throughout the film. Without giving too much away, I’ll just outline these below.

1. Strong Female Leads

Not only does the story line of the film support strong female characters, the women playing these characters also have very strong performances. Both Emily Blunt (the baker’s wife) and Meryl Streep (the witch) have been nominated for Golden Globes for their performance in this film.

2. Alterations to Old Fairy tales

Into the Woods does not stick with the typical portrayal of the female fairy tale characters. In this story, there is strong character after strong character from the witch who teaches others not to mess with her garden to the baker’s wife who refuses to let her husband go off into the woods by himself, you don’t have to look far to find a female lead that doesn’t back down. Little Red and Cinderella are also not your typical “damsels in distress.”

3. Representation of Princes

By far, my favorite part of Into the Woods is its portrayal of the princes that fall in love with Cinderella and Rapunzel. In a comedic song titled “Agony,” each prince’s pain for not being able to have the one that they love is compared. The scene and song is built to trivialize the pain of each prince, highlighting the absurdity in falling in love so quickly. For a click of the audio click here.

Post by Gabriela

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