I Feel Pretty Parent Guide
Despite good intentions, the movie fails to convince us that the definition of beauty is about more than outward appearances.
Parent Movie Review
Writer/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein set out with a sense of determination to have I Feel Pretty change viewers’ perspective about what “pretty” really means. Yet despite these good intentions, the movie fails to convince us that the definition of beauty is about more than outward appearances.
Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) is sure every disappointing aspect of her life is attributable to her dowdy persona. Even the dingy office where she fulfills online orders for an upscale cosmetic company represents her negative self-image. She’s positive no one would want to date, hire or even make small talk with her because she looks so disgusting.
Then a magical hit-to-the-head occurs, and changes everything.
Rather than awakening with a concussion, Renee looks at herself in the mirror and suddenly sees a different woman: one who looks great, holds her head up high and has confidence in every move. In reality her appearance hasn’t changed one bit, but how she sees herself has completely turned around.
Augmenting her fresh attitude with a miniskirt and heels (which aren’t necessarily flattering), Renee rockets up the corporate ladder and within what feels like a couple days, has moved from the online dungeon to VP of a new line of discount make-up targeting “ordinary” women. Soon the company’s CEO, Avery (Michelle Williams), and founder Lily (Laruen Hutton), neither of whom have ever darkened the doors of a Target store, are basing business decisions on Renee’s every word.
By this point the film has us accepting Renee’s appeal is just as much about her self-assurance as it is about her somewhat revealing wardrobe. To support that idea, the script enlists Ethan (Rory Scovel), one of the meekest male characters ever to grace a movie screen. Recently picked-up by Renee, he falls for the forward female because she is so comfortable within her own skin.
And that’s when the portrayal of Renee—and the moral message—goes off the rails. Entering a bikini contest where she seductively struts her stuff, Renee proves her definition of comeliness is sex appeal. In a later scene her self-centeredness is depicted when she’s more obsessed with her own image in the mirror during sex than connecting with her partner. All the while, we the viewers, laugh at her expense.
And that’s when the hypocrisy of the plot becomes the most evident. The movie derives its humor from watching Renee make a fool of herself because of her mistaken self-image. If the storyline doesn’t present her as actually pretty, why are we supposed to think she is? Meanwhile, the more beautiful Renee believes she is, the more ugly her personality becomes. Again, what redeeming qualities should the audience see in that? Even more ridiculous is the turning point when Renee discovers the real truth. It should have been the most powerful moment of the film, yet instead becomes an unconvincing soapbox lecture.
The inclusion of frequent profanities and sexual discussion, along with the aforementioned sex scene, doesn’t help to make this film any more endearing. Railroading us with too many speeches about what we should be learning, as opposed to presenting an authentic example, I Feel Pretty succumbs to Western society’s continued siren call that beauty is only skin deep.Directed by Abby Kohn, Marc Silverstein. Starring Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release April 20, 2018. Updated April 20, 2018
I Feel Pretty
Rating & Content Info
Why is I Feel Pretty rated PG-13? I Feel Pretty is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sexual content, some partial nudity, and language.
Violence: A character is hurt several times while using a stationary bike: this causes groin and head injuries. Another head injury results in a bloody cut on the forehead. A woman runs into a wall a couple of times, no serious injury results. A character confesses to stealing from her workplace.
Sexual Content: Women are seen in revealing clothing, sportswear, bikinis and underwear. Men are shown bare-chested and/or in boxer shorts. A woman’s underwear is revealed after she rips the leggings she is wearing. Frequent sexual banter and innuendo are heard, including comments about vomit, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. Anatomical and crude terms for body parts and functions are used. A character is shown sitting on a toilet and some crude comments are made. A woman enters a bikini contest (she doesn’t have a swimsuit, so she exposes her bra and midriff, and unzips the fly on her shorts exposing the top her underwear) and dances seductively in front of a male audience. Characters kiss. A naked woman is seen in silhouette a couple of times, without explicit detail. An unmarried couple engages in sexual activity: they are seen kissing, straddling and in bed together afterward.
Profanity: Frequentuse of scatological slang, mild and moderate profanity, and terms of deity. Also heard are anatomical and slang terms for private body parts, along with crude sexual language. A character uses self-deprecating language.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters frequently drink alcohol at home and in bars. A discouraged character gets drunk. A woman appears drugged after taking travel/motion sickness medication.
Page last updated April 20, 2018
More parents' guide for I Feel Pretty after the break...
I Feel Pretty Parents' Guide
Write down a sentence about your definition of attractive. Does your statement include physical characteristics? What specific characteristics did you mention, for example weight, height, skin or hair color, breast or hip size? Or does your definition focus on personality traits, such as intelligence, sense of humor or compassion? When you hear the word "attractive" which of these descriptions immediately comes to mind?
How do we judge what is attractive in others compared to ourselves? Why does comparing ourselves to others often result in a negative outcome?
How is Ethan different than most other male characters in movies? What are his initial reasons for liking Renee? Why is he reluctant to quickly move into a sexual relationship with her? Do you think this is a fair representation of how men may feel?
What do the makeup and costume designers do to Amy Schumer's character after she becomes confident with herself? What is the difference between good grooming/putting our best foot forward, and trying to be someone we aren't?
About a decade ago, a soap company ran an advertisement intending to show beauty beyond body type. How do you feel about this real-world marketing campaign? Does it convince you? Or are you still skeptical? How do you feel about the closing moments of the commercial when the women have to dress like underwear models?