Morning Glory

by Melissa Silverstein on November 11, 2010

in Reviews

The thing I love about Rachel McAdams is that she is not afraid to look goofy, unkempt or harried.  She’s real.  That’s one of the most appealing parts of Morning Glory the new film that she stars in that opened yesterday.  McAdams plays Becky Fuller the driven producer given the tasking of righting a sinking ship of a morning show.  She is driven because this is what she has wanted to do her whole life.  She is driven because everyone told her she couldn’t do it.  She is driven because she does not have an ivy league education.  But it is her dedication and drive for success is what makes her so very interesting to watch.  She doesn’t compromise, give up or give in.  She actually digs in and trusts that yes, she can do it.  Quite refreshing.

She has a big task ahead of her as she leads her merry band of misfits that include Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford as the co- anchors of the morning show she has been hired to produce.  There are no expectations for her to succeed, in fact, she is expected to fail, but she surprises everyone — except herself — that she is a success.

People could look at this as another woman who works too hard and has no other life type film.  It’s an ominous foreshadowing of the difficulties for a woman to have it all (cue the depressing music.)  It’s part that, sure, cause this is Hollywood and we need conflict and women need self doubt.  But, I’m tired of all the preachy crap about how women can’t be successful and have a life.  Sure, it’s hard.  No one ever said life was supposed to be easy.  Everyone makes choices that work for them.  There are successful women everywhere in every industry.  Becky’s young, she’s got a cute boyfriend in the business so he understands how hard she needs to work.  It’s actually quite interesting to see the relationship between McAdams’ Becky and Patrick Wilson’s Adam develop because she is the one who works her ass off and is on her blackberry at all hours.  And you know what?  He doesn’t berate her for being a workaholic.  They do try and separate work and non-work lives, but sometimes, as we all know, it bleeds over.

But the movie is not all about the “working girl” dilemma.  The other part is touching father-daughter story between McAdams and Harrison Ford.  McAdams wakes up the cynical and bitter newsman and is able to engage him in the current world not the world of twenty years ago that he really wants back.  I really want back my thighs from twenty years ago but that ain’t happening and the news business is no different.  Entertainment and news are so intertwined nowadays that it is virtually impossible to tell the difference.  She needs him for credibility and he needs her for relevance, and they develop a lovely bond and a mutual respect that is seldom seen between younger women and older men because usually when they are in a scene together she is either stealing him from his wife, or he is ogling her across the room, or she is getting him coffee.

Aline Brosh McKenna who brought us The Devil Wear Prada creates another script that puts a young woman at the center in the work world.  She is in charge, she’s not an appendage, she’s not wearing a wedding gown or shopping.  For that I am grateful.

So keep this in mind as you make movie decisions this weekend.  This is a studio movie that stars a woman (written by a woman) where she is in charge of her life and not fighting with her best friend over a guy or a wedding date.   And it’s fun and funny.  That’s progress.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie November 11, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Have to agree. Saw this last night and was impressively surprised. McAdams really does carry the film and makes me care about her character (although I do wish Diane Keaton could have been given more to work with). Compared to a lot of other so-called female centric crap the major studios like to make, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Opinioness of the World November 11, 2010 at 5:19 PM

I had been debating whether of not to see this…excited to see a working woman at the forefront of a film vs. thinking it would be another ho-hum sexist rom-com. Didn’t realize Brosh McKenna wrote it (loved witty script of “Devil Wears Prada”). As always, thanks Melissa for the fab info you provide. I’m going to watch it this weekend and might not have had it not been for your articulate review. Hopefully the studios will realize that women care about other things beyond babies, weddings and shopping.

Allison November 11, 2010 at 7:40 PM

While I like the talented actors in the cast, I was actually underwhelmed by the movie. It IS one of those sexist rom coms where the career woman is neurotic and can’t balance a social life with her work. Notice how her male producer friend has a wife and kids and her male boss has time for a wife and a girlfriend, while her date dumps her immediately at the beginning of the movie because she’s such a workaholic.

For whatever reason, Rachel McAdams plays her character as really flighty and even sort of ditzy. It kind of got on my nerves. It was as if she was trying too hard to be funny.

If you want to see McAdams in a good movie, rent the thriller Red Eye instead.

Also, Patrick Wilson gets wasted in yet another rom com. Just like in The Switch, he’s wasted as the one-dimensional Hot Guy. In both rom coms, he’s been given a severly underdeveloped role and just serves as a plot mechanism. His relationship with McAdams is also not well developed and just comes and goes. It seems as if he’s just there because Ford is too old for McAdams as a love interest.

Diane Keaton’s role is also underwritten but she does the best she can with it. I thought she deserved better, too.

However, I will give the film credit for not pairing McAdams and Ford romantically. I’m so tired of middle aged male actors being paired off with actresses in their twenties and thirties. Ick.

So, you have a great cast but poor writing and directing.

Yet, I did like the Devil Wears Prada. That was one of the few decent rom coms released in the past few years.

Niveau November 12, 2010 at 10:37 PM

I haven’t seen Morning Glory yet – I’m going tomorrow night – so I can’t speak for it, but The Devil Wears Prada wasn’t a rom-com. It was a comedy-drama. They’re hugely different: the rom-com’s focus is specifically on the growing relationship between the two characters, which is full of laughs, and the comedy-drama focuses on the life/lives of the main character/characters, with relationships as part of said life/lives, but not the focus thereof.

From what I’ve seen and read thus far, though, MG is a comedy-drama. It’s incredibly sad that, now that it’s out, I keep seeing it referred to as a rom-com. People seem to assume that if a movie has a female star who is in a relationship, it can’t be about anything other than that relationship.

booty raper October 24, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the great effort.

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