Seen in succession, a feminine gender bender; three disparate women, fictional and factual begged comparison in this critic’s estimation; similarities required major excavation but rewarded with extensive digging: inordinate security in who they are, their sense of self, lacking hyperbole, flawed but poised in personal conviction, earning our admiration regardless of their physicality; intelligence and dignity transcend their imperfections. Margot Robbie, “Barbie” is prodigious as the ageless, over fifty icon, adored for generations; director Greta Gerwig could not have computer generated a more ideal, consummate symbol of charismatic beauty. Helen Mirren, as Golda Meir, disappears in a fog of smoke and prothesis, as Israel’s Prime Minister during the 1973 Yom Kippur war with the Arab states; with immeasurable precocity, like Barbie, she defies the odds and follows her own prophetic instincts. Hillary Swank gives it her best shot as tough, calibrated journalist “Marissa Bennings” seeking the truth behind the murder of her youngest son. Her tenacity, echoes Barbie’s and Golda’s, a trinity of women in a league of their own.
As films, they vary in artistry and technique: “BARBIE” soars as it shuns its plasticity and enters the “real” world; Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling(“Ken”) adroitly, replace vapidity with an ecosystem demanding recognition, esteem.
“GOLDA” apart from Mirren’s stupefying transformation, blurs in its consequential confrontations, losing the acidity of the times, the life and death situation of a country teetering on the brink of annihilation; historically accurate, but lacking dramatic intensity.
THREE & ½ STARS!!!
“THE GOOD MOTHER”
A one-dimensional scenario, relying on two-timeAcademy Award winner, Hillary Swank, to rescue it from its mediocre script and foreseeable outcome.