I Feel Pretty: Film Review

I Feel Pretty has had quite the hammering in the press and the reviews have not been kind. Amy Schumer has even hit back saying people don’t quite understand the message. I must admit I’m somewhere in the middle – the central message is somewhat ill-advised and misguided, but there are a lot of other redeeming qualities about it.

Schumer stars Renee, a woman who is upset about her appearance and longs for a hot body. She gets really down fixating on her flaws and compares herself to stick-thin girls. This all changes when she hits her head in a spin class one day and comes to love her appearance – which she believes is so radically different that no-one will recognise her. She feels empowering and super confident, and subsequently finds herself a new man, Ethan (Rory Scovel), and a fancy new job at beauty brand Lily LeClaire, run by daughter Avery (Michelle Williams).

I get the problem – the conceit is that Renee becomes happier and more successful when she looks different to her earlier ‘larger’ self (Schumer is NOT FAT). She has argued that we don’t see what Renee sees in the mirror after her head bump, and this is true, but if she is so radically different in appearance that she thinks no-one knows who she is, then surely she has become thin?! It is not shown, but it is implied – she think she has abs, a fabulous new jawline.  Everyone has made this assumption, but Schumer has insisted this is wrong and that Renee is physically the same, she just has a different perspective, but I’m not convinced. That is something movies could have got away with in the ’90s (when ‘ugly ducklings’ became gorgeous when they took off their glasses) but not now.

So yes, the central message is flawed and doesn’t quite work. I feel like writers/directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein had the best intentions and wanted an uplifting, empowering message – her realising she achieved everything looking like her usual self all along – but it fell a bit flat. However, there is much more going on here, and I still found it very entertaining and I laughed out loud a lot.

Schumer is very much my sense of humour and I did find her funny, although her character becomes quite annoying at times, treating her friends Vivian (Aidy Bryant) and Jane (Busy Philipps) like shit when she finds herself fabulous. But, the stand out for me was Williams. She doesn’t do much comedy and she was awesome, and proved that even the richest, fanciest people have insecurities too – hers being a very high voice. I want her to be funny more often! I have never seen Scovel before but I liked his character, and models Emily Ratajkowski and Naomi Campbell were cool additions.

The central concept was ill-conceived, but it does mean well and there is still a lot of fun to be had with it. I enjoyed it a lot, which I was pleasantly surprised about given the reaction.

In cinemas Friday 4th May 

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