Not So ‘Fast’

Michelle Rodriguez, female driver.
Michelle Rodriguez, female driver.

I once had someone tell me to my face that women can’t accurately review action movies because “they just don’t understand.” (During a job interview. You’ll note that I still work at my current job.)

The same thing has been suggested to me repeatedly on Twitter and once by a very strange voice mail that harped on my hyphenated last name. Allow me to assure you: In all my moviegoing life, either professional or personal, I have never once seen anyone use his or her genitals to watch a film.

Which brings me to “Fast and Furious 6,” out this weekend. I have heard it’s pretty good — even from (gasp!) other women. I did not go to any press screenings. I won’t see it in theaters. Why? I don’t think I’d like it.

Everyone watches films filtered through his or her life experiences. My life experience happens to be that of a woman, which puts me in the minority in film criticism (for gender, at least: I’m still a straight, white Christian, so I’m pretty comfortably settled in those majorities).

What’s interesting is that when I don’t like, say, “Olympus Has Fallen,” the fact that I’m a woman somehow must be the reason I didn’t like it, when the real reason is the movie sucked. Male critics said it sucked, too, but I don’t think their gender took the blame in the Twitterverse.

In film criticism — in the world, really — we’re used to hearing male voices; we’re also socialized to believe that male voices cheer on explosions and car chases and boobs, while female voices ask only for movies where there’s at least one passionate kiss in the rain. It’s reductive at best, offensive at worst, and stupid at every level.

Blame gender roles, blame patriarchy, blame the fact that my first car was a Volvo station wagon for my choice not to see “Fast and Furious 6” — just don’t blame my uterus.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Vicky Hallett · May 24, 2013