Let’s get this out of the way at the start: I’ve yet to see “Jurassic World,” so I haven’t formed my professional opinion on the below subjects (aka weak female characters in film). But I have had plenty of time to read a few of the pieces teasing Colin Trevorrow, “Jurassic World’s” director, about requesting that Bryce Dallas Howard, the film’s co-star, wear high heels through the action scenes in the movie.
Most of the coverage centers on the whole “are you serious” factor. Jezebel did a “best ofs” quote list that features Howard talking about Trevorrow’s decision to have her in heels throughout the entire film. This quote, pulled from Variety, features Howard explaining that she was against the wardrobe choice at first, but changed her mind down the line:
“At the beginning I was kind of against the idea of wearing them, but then one day while looking at the terrain prior to a shoot, I just looked at Colin and said, ‘I think I’ll keep the shoes on.’”
“I know. I mean, look, I had that conversation with her so many times, and she insisted on wearing those heels. They meant something to her personally. She felt like, this is her talking, that those heels were her shield in a certain way as a woman. That’s just how she felt. She felt like surrendering the heels felt like surrendering the femininity of the character, even though women are — I don’t want to say forced to wear heels — but you’re expected to wear heels in certain environments.”
And while I get that idea, I still am left with this thought: But in real life, this woman would have died while running through a muddy jungle in heels.
Sure, heels were used to tell a story about Howard’s pristine, corporate character, but I still think that something could have been done about those heels once Howard ran into the jungle.
And that leads us to probably the best takedown of Howard’s wardrobe yet.
The Dissolve published a great piece that pretty much states that they, too, get why Howard was initially clad in heels. But the director’s choice to allow/make/whatever Howard to continue to wear the heels as the story progressed wasn’t sexist — it was merely bad storytelling:
“It’s one thing to completely ignore an aspect of your story that doesn’t make sense in the real world; streamlining is necessary in screenwriting, and not every little detail can go remarked upon. But it’s another matter to introduce a problem with your character’s wardrobe and then neglect to satisfactorily solve it, as Jurassic World does. The film’s script utilizes Claire’s wardrobe to tell a part of its story—and to make a joke—but it doesn’t go all the way with it.”
Howard’s character sure isn’t the first female lead to be plagued with poor character development, and she definitely won’t be the last. However, it is nice that more and more entertainment outlets are calling directors and screenwriters out for bad storytelling. After all: moviegoers (and female characters) deserve better.
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