For a while, we saw a smattering of movies — Hanna, Hunger Games, Sucker Punch, Salt, Dragon Tattoo, Wanted — in which women were armed, dangerous forces to be reckoned with. But Natalie Portman points out that having a character like that doesn't mean your movie is a feminist work.
In the new issue of Elle UK, Portman says:
I want every version of a woman and a man to be possible. I want women and men to be able to be full-time parents or full-time working people or any combination of the two. I want both to be able to do whatever they want sexually without being called names. I want them to be allowed to be weak and strong and happy and sad — human, basically. The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a "feminist" story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.
It's an interesting perspective. I mean, I love the vibe of Buffy The Vampire slayer as much as the next Scoobie (yes I mean the TV show and not the movie), but also flicks like Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love, and Flirting — or even All About Eve and His Girl Friday — which the women aren't technically weapon-toting badasses but have lots of depth and are well-drawn. (A great read on this subject is "I Hate Strong Female Characters" by Sophia McDougall.)
Anyway. Natalie Portman also dishes on one of her favorite movies, Dirty Dancing:
To this day, it’s the movie that I’ve seen most in my life. "I carried a watermelon"... I can’t talk about it too much, or I’ll start getting teary. There are other movies I love, but no other movie that I have watched over and over.