The Daliy News had a review on 10/14/05 of a new movie about a housewife and mother of ten children who helped support her family by winning a bunch of writing and jingle contests. Gary Thompson, the DN movie reviewer, is always pretty astute and a very good reviewer. He likes the movie a lot.
But I was struck by some of the comments by the movie's director..... Check them out for yourself. She struggled with making the movie upbeat because she always viewed the 1950's as some sort of horrible era where people were only interested in accumulating stuff. What an asshat she must be! In the time, more people went to college (GI Bill, etc) and bought homes than ever before. Where do they get this hate-America worldview? It's hard to fathom. Well that's my two cents ... here are the quotes that got me
"Before I made this film I was very dismissive of the 1950s as a very superficial era in which consumerism basically came into its glory. I always thought, for instance, that it was the era that destroyed American nutrition, with fish sticks and TV dinners and instant pudding and Jell-O," Anderson said. "But the more I studied Evelyn and the more I dropped into her world, the more I realized that housewives needed and wanted these inventions because the last thing Evelyn wanted to do was to chop fresh garlic and make a reduction. She had 10 kids.
"I can make a fabulous meal, because I have the free time, I have one kid, and I'm privileged. Evelyn was not. She had to cook for 10, and clean house. It was never-ending. To her, a washer/dryer wasn't a status symbol, it was a labor-saving device. You can call that a superficial desire, but this woman was boiling clothes on a stove."
Anderson said she drew on her own maturity and experience as a mother to understand Ryan.
"I couldn't have made this film in my 20s and 30s, because I wouldn't have understood that raising a child is as vital a role as having a career," said Anderson, sounding a bit like a politician, but you have to be in Hollywood, which is ever mindful of constituency.
That said, the character's unshakably positive attitude was itself a challenge, since it's so unfashionable these days. "Don't we equate optimism with stupidity? Unfortunately I think we do. So I had another problem - how do I make a hip, edgy film about an optimist?" she said.
I tried to provide the link to the movie review but had some technical difficulties for some reason. If you want, go to Philly dot com for the Daily News site and type in "prize winner" to pull up Thompson's review.