Why I Didn't Hate Maleficent

Something unusual happened to me yesterday. My friends and I left the cinema and everyone was bitter and angry and agitated – except for me. Highly opinionated, intellectually snobbish and very emotional, the furious one is usually me. There were countless moments I’d leave the cinema wanting to punch the director and the producer and the whole crew just to get rid of the anger that collected while I watched their offensive trash. This time, I left quite satisfied, I dare even say: mesmerized. “The story didn’t make sense, the first act was completely different, CGI was so cheesy, I wanted to see the story of Maleficent and not Sleeping Beauty retold, what’s with the lesbian connotation, there were so many cheap tricks (including freezing characters to make them shut up)!” My friends were furious.

I stayed quiet, listened to their complaints and wondered why I didn’t hate it. It took me some time to figure it out. But then I got it:

I loved the feminist story of a woman whose love clips her wings just to get ahead in his career and wealth: the story of her anger and need for revenge. I loved the criticism of blind ambition and ego and hunger for material wealth and recognition. I loved the contrast between female world of magic and male material world. I loved the story of a strong, beautiful woman who is very angry because of the injustice done to her and who is extremely powerful (especially in her anger) but who still has a soft side and is still capable of loving (if not forgiving). I simply loved her multidimensionality. How real! And that’s what it is – I guess I was mesmerized by the main character. I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie with a leading lady who appealed to me this much (because she held the mirror in front of my face). Eva Green came close to it in 300: Rise of an Empire. But the fact that she carried the movie and almost became the lead happened unintentionally, because of Eva’s amazing performance.

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time a leading character and her story spoke to me as a woman so directly and deeply. Yes, Hollywood starved us women of characters we want to see. And I hate sounding like those angry feminists who scream for strong female characters but when they do happen, the angry women don’t watch them (One of the theories is that even when there is a movie with a strong female lead, women won’t pay to go see them. Whereas dates, husbands, dads will pay $80 for the whole family to go see new…. don’t know… Bourne Identity?)

Yes, it was refreshing. I do admit that the story could have been better, things didn’t makes sense and sometimes, the rhythm was just off. But Angelina’s performance was fantastic – as always when you put actors in roles where they don’t have to act. Her costume and effects were great. I loved the magical creatures and the fairy world. It was visually enchanting. It transported me into a world of magic and fairies, princes and princesses – but a world in which if a man chops a woman’s wings, she destroys his life and chops his head off.

Let me see more of those! Tomorrow. Or even better: tonight. I’m paying for the tickets!