Battle of target audiences; editors debate I Feel Pretty

The moment that I saw the first trailer for I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer’s newest movie, I knew that it would be important. Schumer, notorious for her witty sarcasm and body positivity movement, became one of my favorite female comedians after I watched her 2015 feature Trainwreck. Unlike Trainwreck, I Feel Pretty is not a love story between two people, it is a love story about learning to love yourself despite the imperfections that you see in the mirror.

The movie opens with Renee Bennett, a sales representative for the high-end makeup company, Lily LeClaire, on her way into a SoulCycle class. As she opens the doors, she drowns in a sea of beautiful, tanned, toned young women clad in Lululemon athletic wear. Both the audience and Renee notice that she sticks out like a sore thumb in this group, as she feels uncomfortable asking for an “extra-wide” pair of cycle shoes because no part of her body is as petite as the women around her.

In the middle of the class, Renee’s seat unhooks from the cycle, leaving her bruised and with ripped pants. Feeling humiliated and out of place, Renee leaves to get to work on time at Lily LeClaire’s satellite office in Chinatown.

While the scene seemes to be an exaggeration of what a real-life cycle class would be like, Renee’s experience is universal. Every woman will probably experience a time in her life in which she feels as though other women, women who wear a size two and have dainty size seven feet, are her competitors, the physical manifestation of what a woman should actually look like.

Renee’s workplace is dumpy and further carries along the premise that women who are not “classically pretty” will proceed to work behind the scenes, especially at a beauty company. Renee is a driven, hard worker, yet is too ashamed of her appearance to march down to Fifth Avenue and ask for a promotion.

A couple days later, Renee returns to SoulCycle, ready to change the way she lives her life. While riding, her instructor looks her in the eyes and demands that Renee live her best life. Enlivened and electrified to start to change the way she looks, Renee screams in excitement, and suddenly falls off her bike and onto her head due to a malfunction in her clipped cycle shoe.

After waking up from unconsciousness, Renee suffers from a delusion, as she believes that her appearance has changed completely after she wished for it to come true. Even though she looks exactly the same, Renee believes she has transformed into an alluring being. For the first time in her life, Renee believes that she is truly beautiful.

The events that follow are somewhat cliché, but empowering nonetheless. Renee has the confidence to hit on guys, to demand her drink order at bars and to finally ask for the promotion that she deserves at the Lily LeClaire Fifth Avenue office.

Renee, with all of the confidence in the world, begins to live her best life, however, she begins to ditch her friends for all of the pleasures that “being pretty” comes with. Caught up in the haze of her new beauty, Renee loses herself.

It is not until she hits her head again when the phase ends. She believes that her body and face have returned to normal and that the magic is gone. In a depressed state, she loses her job, avoids her boyfriend out of fear that he won’t love her anymore and has no friends to go back to. Without the “beauty” she encompassed, she believes her life is over.

It isn’t until the end of the movie where Renee unexpectedly shows up at Lily LeClaire’s new line’s presentation where she realizes that her appearance never changed, that her beauty comes from the inside. As cheesy and corny as it was, Renee’s epiphany is one that many women still have to learn.

It is hard not to feel self conscious when most female celebrities wear a size triple zero and sponsor makeup lines that promise to make you look like an enhanced version of yourself. I Feel Pretty is a movie where women and girls learn that they don’t have to look like a model to feel pretty. Anyone can feel beautiful, it just has to come from within. Thanks, Amy Schumer.

Julia Stern

Senior Reviews Editor

I Feel Pretty is a story about a woman named Renee (Amy Schumer), struggling with feelings of insecurity who one day wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and uses her newfound confidence to live life fearlessly.

As you can assume, with me being a straight, white male teenager, I wasn’t exactly what you would call the “target audience,” and I’ll preface this review by saying this: I’m not a big fan of Schumer. It has nothing to do with gender or anything superficial, despite some suggesting otherwise whenever I voice that opinion. Personally, I just don’t find her that funny. Yet despite these predispositions, I enjoyed it, and I recommend seeing it with a friend who could use a little boost in their self-esteem.

The movie is labelled a “romantic-comedy,” but I wouldn’t go as far to say that. Sure, there were some funny moments, but much fewer “laugh-out-loud” moments than one would expect from a comedy. Even the moments that were funny got kind of repetitive, as most of the jokes played off the irony of Schumer’s character thinking she was more beautiful than she actually was. Maybe it’s just me; out of everyone in the theater, I probably laughed the least. Granted, it was 10 p.m. on a Friday and I was surrounded by couples and middle-aged white moms on their “night out,” so I guess it’s up for debate. The bottom line is I Feel Pretty is certainly more of a “feel-good story” than a comedy.

As for the plot, it did a nice job of progressing the story. It never lingered too long in one phase. It seemed like a typical romance story, but still had its own unique twist. Between aiming for a promotion at work, maintaining her old friendships and navigating life with her “new” look, it was a much more complex story than simply “getting the guy.”

And speaking of “getting the guy,” her love interest, Ethan (Rory Scovel) was another interesting aspect of the movie. Instead of winning over some suave male model who is way out of her league, Renee falls in love with an average, more realistic guy, making the whole thing seem more believable.

That was probably the most realistic part of the movie, however. Minor spoiler: she gets the promotion she always wanted simply by having the confidence to apply and miraculously impressing the shallow CEO of the cosmetics company she works at. I mean, come on, really? Not to say confidence won’t get you anywhere, but the movie made it seem like everything will be handed to you if you’re confident enough. There was also a part where she was hit on by the handsome celebrity brother of the company’s CEO, which in any scenario would be a huge stretch between those types of characters.

On a separate note, watching it from a male perspective, it gave me a little more perspective on the struggles women go through maintaining their self-image. I did have a general understanding, but to see the extent of the physical and mental toll was really eye-opening, allowing me to further appreciate the effect of Renee’s boosted confidence.

Again, from a male perspective, it’s easy to say that this movie was not created specifically for my enjoyment.. I Feel Pretty highlights how women are so easily pit against each other solely based on looks. It was interesting seeing the movie with senior review editor Julia Stern, who was able to relate to the movie so easily.

Common advice in pursuing goals, whether it be a job or a girlfriend or boyfriend, is that all you need is confidence in yourself, and I Feel Pretty showed the results of having self-confidence, albeit to a slightly exaggerated extent, but still gives an optimistic look at what it can do. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Joe Pohoryles

Front Page Editor

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