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March 5, 2018 | by  | in Arts Film |
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The Oscars in Film (Nominees, and Possible Winners. Who Knows?)

The Old: Skyfall (2012)


By Emma Maguire

2012’s Skyfall opens with a frenzied chase across The Great Bazaar in Istanbul and with James Bond being shot in the shoulder, seemingly falling to his death. The trouble starts from there.

Nominated for five Oscars and winning two of them (for Best Original Song and Best Sound Editing), Skyfall was a break of the mold for the Bond films. After fifty years of the franchise, there still aren’t many better.

MI5’s been infiltrated by a mysterious hacker with a connection to M’s past. With their headquarters destroyed and a target on their back, James Bond must return from the dead in order to save the day. (Which he does do, thankfully, otherwise it’d be a pretty boring movie).

Skyfall is unique to the Bond franchise because it actually attempts to humanise Bond. James Bond is very rarely a three-dimensional character on screen. He’s a badass dude with a gun who hits on a lot of women, but we never get to see him be vulnerable or anything other than stoic. Skyfall changes all that. Bond must return to his ancestral home to fight the Bad Guy of the Week, and we get to see him break down and cry. It’s a refreshing change of pace for a character that we tend to see as untouchable and ‘more than’ human.  

The New: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


By Meg Doughty

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a testament to grief, rage, and motherhood as we have not seen it before, in all its gritty, grounded, Molotov-cocktailing glory. In a strange, darkly potent way, it also seems to be the feminist film we didn’t know we needed. Frankly I could end the review there, however, the drive to rave about the film’s superb performances (lookin’ at you Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell), and the homecoming of real female people to the silver screen is too strong.

Mildred Hayes, the protagonist you were never meant to like, goes on the gruelling journey to hold the police of Ebbing, Missouri accountable. Her teenage daughter was horrifically murdered, and no arrest was made. Firstly, this film makes it super clear in the first ten minutes Mildred Hayes is not to be f**ked with, and in this way she is not the traditional film mother. Ground-breaking fact number one; Three Billboards has a female, middle aged lead, who is a mother, and is rightfully raging (and at no point are we subjected to a brooding, somehow muddy, smudgy eyelinered, tank top wearing revenge mum).

Number two; she is not supposed to be likeable. Women in film to hold screen time have had to be likeable or smushed into the virgin/mother/whore character tropes Hollywood is so fond of. The women of Three Billboards are real women, or clever commentaries on how women have been portrayed by Hollywood previously in those three archetypes. Women do appear in the forms of “the dim but pretty secretary”, and “the much younger girlfriend”, but these roles draw attention to themselves as stereotypes, ridiculed by the hyper-reality of Mildred Hayes. They make it blindingly obvious just how intense our suspension of disbelief has been when it comes to seeing actual women on screen.

Thankfully, Mildred Hayes is the refreshing kick in the nuts, or vagina, that cinema desperately needs to demonstrate how to write interesting, real, ~lady~ humans. My advice: watch Three Billboards, and wonder how a 300-word review could be enough.

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