Ghostbusters (2016)

July 31, 2016
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I'm drawn to controversy. I live for the discourse that comes with it. So naturally, I was first in line to see the new Ghostbusters on opening night. I went in excited, but nervous. I was rooting for this film. It's an underdog in the genre of comedy, meaning that people already had low expectations coming in. These low expectations are completely unfair. However, they shine a light on some of the bigger problems present in our society.

Let me start out by saying this, I firmly believe that the controversies surrounding Ghostbusters are completely rooted in sexism. Even prior to the release of the movie people were calling it, and I quote, “an unfunny, man-hating mess”. There are so many standards set in society for women. Society tells us that women can't be funny or crude, or that women can't be heroes, or even scientists. Ghostbusters flips these standards on their heads and I think that's what makes people so angry.

The plot of the film surrounds four strong female leads on the pursuit to save Manhattan from an impending paranormal apocalypse. The movie progresses at a steady pace and I can't say I was ever bored. The humor, in my opinion was above par, it was just funny.

While all four leading ladies give spectacular performances in their roles, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones truly shined. Jones plays the confident and outspoken MTA worker, Patty Tolan and McKinnon plays the unpredictable engineer, Jillian Holtzman. Holtzman is a particularly interesting character considering the ambiguity surrounding her sexuality. Paul Feig, the director of the film has neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of Holtzman being queer. However, the speculation is controversy enough. I personally think it doesn't matter what Holtzman’s sexual preference is, but at the same time I believe it is just as important for the LGBTQ community to have representation in the media as it is for women. Even the possibility of having a queer hero is better than nothing. 

All that aside, I think the character of Holtzman is simply brilliant. It's sad to me that there is so much controversy surrounding Holtzman’s occupation as a nuclear engineer. Why can't women be scientists? Why can't women be brilliant? Oh wait, that's right, they can be! It is crucial that we send this message to young girls and women and I think Ghostbusters really does convey this.

Ghostbusters arguably does something problematic. It portrays a good looking man as stupid. People are completely missing the point of why they did this. This is so often how women are portrayed in movies. Especially in the action-adventure and comedy genres. Women are constantly portrayed as reliant on men. They are never the heroes of the story. They are almost always cast aside the secretary or receptionist which is exactly what Ghostbusters does to Chris Hemsworth’s character, Kevin. Kevin is overly sexualized, and reduced to his braun. They do this to prove a point. Does it make you angry to see a man being portrayed this way? Well good, it should, but it should make you just as mad when they do it to women. 

I'm sick and tired of women being dragged down in the media. These stereotypes are toxic and they lead to the reinforcement of grossly outdated gender roles. Ghostbusters is such an important film and people need to realize this, and even with all politics aside, it's a hilarious, fun ride that I think anyone can enjoy. I walked out of the movie more than pleased. It made me think and it made me laugh. I can't stress enough how important this movie is. I beg you to go into it with an open mind. It's more than worth your time.

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