All war movies are criticized, especially these days. But the review of the WWII film Dunkirk in feminist magazine Marie Claire went way beyond criticism. It was a full on feminist rant.
Though I’ve read the reviews on Dunkirk, and heard friends who’ve seen it sing the movie’s praises, I haven’t yet seen it. According to a review in USA Today, Dunkirk is an excellent movie. The only thing the reviewer thought people might be upset about was the lack of female characters (there were only two) and no lead actors of color.
There’s exquisite beauty but also utter desolation in Hoyte Van Hoytema’s cinematography, and Nolan’s cast is a top-notch crew of English thespians. In Dawson, Rylance brings a load of heart and a superhuman understanding of what can happen in war. One Direction singer Styles, who makes his acting debut here, offers a surprising amount of grit and pathos, and Hardy is simply magnetic, even when his face masked.
Dunkirk is also one of the best-scored films in recent memory, and Hans Zimmer’s music plays as important a role as any character. With shades of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations, the melodies are glorious, yet Zimmer also creates an instrumental ticking-clock soundtrack that’s a propulsive force in the action scenes.
The trio of timelines can be jarring as you figure out how they all fit, and the fact that there are only a couple of women and no lead actors of color may rub some the wrong way. Still, Nolan’s feat is undeniable: He’s made an immersive war movie that celebrates the good of mankind while also making it clear that no victory is without sacrifice.
From what I’ve heard and read, Dunkirk is a film that deserves to be seen on the big screen as soon as possible. But there’s at least one woman who has made it known to the readers of Marie Claire magazine and the Twitter-verse that Dunkirk is just a mediocre war movie, most likely created to allow men to “celebrate their maleness”.
I guess congratulations are in order for Nolan managing to unite high-brow male critics and very annoying people on Twitter under a common bromance, but to me, Dunkirk felt like an excuse for men to celebrate maleness—which apparently they don’t get to do enough.
Sigh. I don’t want to go into a rant myself. Indeed, Ms. Bonner attempted to make her review rather lighthearted, insisting that she doesn’t expect every movie to come out of Hollywood to have female lead characters. But her attempt at being lighthearted fell flat because the rest of the article was about the kind of men she plainly can’t stand.
And look, it’s not like I need every movie to have “strong female leads.” Wonder Woman can probably tide me over for at least a year, and I understand that this war was dominated by brave male soldiers. I get that. But the packaging of the film, the general vibe, and the tenor of the people applauding it just screams “men-only”—and specifically seems to cater to a certain type of very pretentious man who would love nothing more than to explain to me why I’m wrong about not liking it.
I just don’t get it. Ms. Bonner wrote that “a random man” came up to her after she watched Dunkirk and explained why she was wrong for disliking it. Okay, sure, who’s to say such a thing did not happen, but what kind of man would give a damn if she liked it or not? Most men don’t care what other people are doing unless it breaks the law or hurts them or their families.
The entire piece was an opinion on the sort of men that I and many of my friends and family respect, admire, find attractive and love.
Yes. We exist. There are women throughout America who choose to be with men who are male in the extreme.
We like men. We want boyfriends and husbands who exude testosterone from every pore. We want men who hunt, fish, join the military and vow to protect and provide. We love men who know how to do a brake job. We love men who own huge toolboxes with all of the things needed to fix any number of everyday issues at home. We love our family members who served their country with honor.
We WANT the kind of men that Ms. Bonner does not want to celebrate. Do we get a vote? Why does a movie based on a real historical event make feminists so angry? Nobody cares what Mehera Bonner thinks except the staff at Marie Claire and their man-hating readers.
Even Bonner’s analysis of the men she disparages is wrong:
If this movie were a dating profile pic, it would be a swole guy at the gym who also goes to Harvard. If it was a drink it would be Stumptown coffee. If it was one of your friends, it would be the one who starts his sentences with “I get what you’re saying, but…”
A “swole guy at the gym who also goes to Harvard”? How about a Navy Seal, fit and ready to serve and protect?
“Stumptown coffee”? (I have no idea what that is, but her readers must be familiar with it). How about a six pack of Yuengling?
One of her friends? Which friend would have the time to or inclination to debate the worthiness of the American Alpha male with her? What good would it do to even try? It’s obvious that she has something against such men, so why bother?
The attitude of feminists like Bonner is something I will never understand as long as I live.
However, there is some fun to be had. 🙂
The Marie Claire review was brought to my attention by a Facebook friend who linked to the magazine’s Twitter account. Here’s the Tweet:
— Marie Claire (@marieclaire) July 28, 2017
As you can imagine the comments were Twitter gold.
My wife’s grandfather was captured by Nazis. He lost his toes to frostbite as a POW. Was he ‘celebrating his maleness’ too much for you?
— Kerry Miller (@KerMil1980) July 29, 2017
It can’t get any dumber than this. It really can’t.
— Rep. Steven Smith (@RepStevenSmith) July 29, 2017
Without Dunkirk’s heroes saving hundreds of thousands of MEN your magazine would be singing the glories of Hitler’s grandchildren.
— Tera Flop (@teraflopclub) July 29, 2017
Your review spits on the heroism and self-sacrifice of every man on that beach.
— Karen davis hill (@HillKarend) July 29, 2017
You do realise it was based on reality don’t you…. unless you think they should have thrown a few T-Rex’s in to pep it up a bit…. 🙄🙄
— Helen (@Hells4Heroes) July 29, 2017
Yeah, look at these guys, celebrating their maleness & male privilege. pic.twitter.com/VM6WBj2jZd
— Berty Fish (@bertyfish) July 29, 2017
One of Ms. Bonner’s complaints was that there should be a WWII movie about women. Well, that would be wonderful! There are countless stories of selfless women who served as nurses during the war. There were female spies. I’m sure there are many others I haven’t even thought of. Who wouldn’t want to see a film depicting heroic women during the war?
But why can’t the heroism, sacrifice and honor of the men who saved the world from the Nazis and the Empire of Japan be celebrated as well?
Shameless self promotion…
If you are a woman who loves men that exude testosterone, you might want to check out my books. One thing you will NOT find are Beta males. My main male characters, whatever their faults, are male in the extreme. If you are unfamiliar with my books, you may want to start with book 3, Cadáin’s Watch, for the simple reason that it is the fastest moving of the three. You don’t need to read the first two books to enjoy Cadáin’s Watch, but you may want to read them afterward if you like the characters and their adventures in a near-future dystopian nightmare.