Thursday 22 August 2019

Film blogger ridiculed for sexist tweet suggesting The Revenant is too 'brutal' for women

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant
Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

Rebecca Hawkes

In his new film The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio’s fur trapper Hugh Glass (based on the real-life 19th century frontiersman) is buried alive and left for dead after being mauled by a grizzly bear, survives horrific injuries, and sets out on an arduous 200-mile trek to take down the man who betrays him (played by Tom Hardy).

By all accounts the film, released in the UK in January, is pretty gory.

But a US-based film blogger named Jeffrey Wells has now courted controversy by declaring that, because of this, women should “forget” about seeing it.

“The Revenant is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you've never seen. Forget women seeing this,” he wrote in a Twitter post on Tuesday, after attending an advance screening of the film.

His words quickly attracted a backlash, with film fans ridiculing the implication that women are too “delicate” for on-screen violence.

Some of Wells’s critics pointed out that, on a comparative endurance scale, watching an “unflinchingly brutal” movie probably isn’t anywhere near as difficult as actually giving birth – “most men couldn't stomach periods, let alone childbirth”.

In doing so, they inadvertently recalled the words of the legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi, who  famously stated (in a 1931 interview with the writer Gladys Hall) that women were naturally, “biologically” drawn to his films: because of the fact that they “bear the race in bloody agony...women are born with a predestination to horror”.

Technically speaking, both generalisations are probably a bit silly: irrespective of gender, some individuals relish violent movies, while others don't.

Sadly, this rather obvious fact seem to have escaped Wells.

In a blog post defending his viewpoint, he pointed out that a female friend who accompanied him to the screening  was “shielding her eyes” and  “chirping like a chipmunk during the extra-violent or extra-gross scenes”, and noted that a fellow critics had told him that his wife “wouldn’t last five minutes” if she watched The Revenant.

"Twitter fascists will kill anyone who suggests there’s such a thing as movies with a gender-centric appeal because it argues with their non-denominational view of things in which everyone is everything and there are no gender-centric movies because it’s sexist to even use that term because 2015 is all about, you know, sexual fluidity and the coolest people being non-binary and all that," he wrote in the same post.

Wells has previously been criticised for making sexist and inappropriate comments in his film writing.

Earlier this year, for instance, he described Trainwreck star Amy Schumer as “Jennifer Aniston’s somewhat heavier, not-as-lucky sister”.

And in 2012, in a post about the film The Hunger Games, he advised viewers to be "be wary of reviews by female critics, as they're probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most".

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Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant

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