Film Review – Goddess

Goddess (PG)

Directed by: Mark Lamprell

Starring:  Laura Michelle Kelly, Ronan Keating, Magda Szubanski

One and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Goddess is a wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. A breezy, light as a feather musical that presents itself as a fantasy wish-fulfillment for women who feel restricted by their domestic home lives, chained to their kitchen sinks and dream of breaking away. But at its core, it seethes disdain for the domestic goddess with a message that is dirtier than dishwater. With its heart and its head clearly in two different postcodes, this faux fairytale of liberation and celebration of womanhood appears to want to see housewives back in the kitchen and elbow deep in dishes.

Imaginative and musically inclined Elspeth Dickens is beginning to regret sacrificing pursuing a theatrical career in order to raise a family with her husband James (Ronan Keating). She now spends her days keeping house and running around after their twin boys who are enjoying their terrible twos. Being isolated on a farm in a small seaside town while James works away for weeks at a time does not help, either. In an attempt to connect with others via webcam, Elspeth posts videos of her own home-made sing alongs (one about how she enjoys thinking at her kitchen sink and another about how she wants to be a corporate bitch – clear early indicators that this film is on the wrong track) which piques the interest of Australia’s top ad agency headed by Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski), who thinks Elspeth embodies “every woman.” Cassandra whisks Elspeth away to the big city and puts her straight to work in their latest and biggest ad campaign. That old saying “be careful what you wish for” begins to rattle around in Elspeth’s head as she comes to realise that juggling a family and a career is not as easy as it may seem.

goddess1

What is it with the female fantasy sub-genre these days? Despite a fun first 20 minutes, Goddess quickly nosedives and does about as much for women’s equality as Sex and the City 2 did, reducing female characters to vacuous ninnies. Elspeth’s continuous irrational behaviour does nothing to enforce the concept that women can handle more than one task at a time and have the ability to make calm, sensible decisions. She dreams of being in the spotlight, so she dumps her children with a stranger and leaves town to chase her dreams while hubby is out at sea. Not the most responsible move.

goddess2

But just when you think Elspeth has developed a backbone when she stands up to her cranky husband (Keating’s limited acting experience does little to steer the character from coming off as threatened by his wife’s success) to pursue her dream, she suffers pangs of guilt, buckles under the thought of leaving her children but also turns her nose up at bringing them along with her. And when things get tough, she allows herself to be charmed by a smooth talking busker. What a catch. This woman is supposed to be a singing, dancing delight but she comes off as a total mess.

Meanwhile, Cassandra, who prides herself on being a leading woman in business who has shattered the glass ceiling for others to follow, berates and emotionally blackmails Elspeth into appearing nude as part of the campaign. So now women are backstabbing bitches who love to flaunt their power and prey on weaker ones around them. For a moment it feels like we have somehow been transported back to the 1940s with this twisted, backwards predilection. But this message would have been rejected even in those more conservative times. I thought these attitudes towards women and their capabilities were washed down the sink years ago.

Advertisements

One Response to “Film Review – Goddess”

  1. […] Goddess – an Australian wish fulfillment fantasy musical gone awry. It says it wants women out of the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: