Charlie's Angels Then And Now: What Has Changed For The Better?
Aside from Kristen Stewart trading in Farrah Fawcett's glorious golden curls for an ultra-edgy bleached bob, the newest reboot of the cross-generational classic features its titular female trio leading with more empowerment, inclusivity, and individuality
If Ariana Grande claims that God is a woman, Charlie's Angels is here to tell you that women have conquered both heaven and earth.
Directed and written by Elizabeth Banks, the latest interpretation of the classic that first became an audience favorite in the 70s packs more than just the literal punch. Elizabeth and actresses Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska who play the titular female trio made it their mission to communicate a much more relevant point: that inclusivity, empowerment, and individuality are the real heroes of the day, and the foes to defeat are obsolete world views, glass ceilings, and oh-so-passe gender stereotypes.
Elizabeth herself said it: the film is loaded to the brim with feminist themes and ideas.
But before you shoot it down and cry "Not again!" in this age of pop culture products that seem to always be pushing a social agenda, take the time to learn exactly how Elizabeth and her on and off-screen team incorporated the pro-women messages in the soon-to-be box office hit.
Worry not about preachy tones, man-hating attitudes, and tacky zingers about women, and not men, running the system; here's a film that all genders can appreciate and be inspired by!
Bosley is a woman.
Let's begin with the obvious. Elizabeth didn't only direct this movie, but is starring in it, too—and as big boss Bosley, no less.
The character which has traditionally been played by a singular male actor (his full name is actually John Bosley) got a gender bending treatment for the first time since he was introduced to the public (actors David Fitzgerald Doyle and Bill Murray have filled in the role in the past). The reassignment, however, isn't just for the sake of surprise or novelty; the clear message is of course to let everyone know that women, with a killer combo of experience, ability, and dedication, can also fill the highest positions in their respective organizations which—if history has taught us anything about the big bag world of large corporations—have been reserved for their male counterparts for way too long.
The all-girl angel trio is then turned into a quadruple threat as the man on top of their operations is, well, a woman and a highly competent one at that.
The plot is revolves around a woman's refusal to be silenced.
Without spoiling too much, we're revealing that the whole reason behind the angels' mission this time around is because a woman who works at a high-profile organization spilled the beans about the ethically questionable activities her colleagues and bosses were up to. Despite knowing the dangers that would ensue, she took on the role of whistleblower anyway.
We're taking this as a nod to the many socio-cultural movements women have led in the past years (with #MeToo being one of the biggest of them all). Unafraid of the consequences of doing a social good would have on her own life, this fictional character represents the lives of many real-world women who, like her, have been brave enough to speak up against the wrongs that they witness, however big or small for the sake of bettering society as a whole and penalizing wrongdoers.
Fluidity of sexuality is tackled.
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are bound to take note of this.
Kristen's character never explicitly states that she's a lesbian or bisexual or otherwise in the film; however, it can be deduced that the she doesn't conform to the traditionally held understanding of heterosexuality.
Perhaps the open-endedness of this serves a purpose—that gender has (or should not have) no real repercussions on a person's ability to do a job, the respect due them from colleagues, and how good of a human being they are, overall.
It's a progressive way to represent a hot button issue of 21st century society and a sure vote in favor of inclusivity. Best of all, this isn't a woman-only concern. This is for all people who identify as non-cis or non-hetero.
Whitewashing is non-existent.
When Charlie's Angels first aired as a television series in the mid 70s, it featured an all-white cast and practically no person of color, even in supporting or guest roles.
Decades after in the series' first big leap to the big screen, Asian-Americans were given attention, thanks to Lucy Liu making it as one of the angels. It was progress, but in 2019, 15 years after Lucy, we're not one, but two angels of mixed descent.
The value of representing women of color in leading roles needs little explanation, given the trend in Hollywood that often has main roles given to Caucasian actors.
This, too, is reflective of the actual world we live in; the boundaries between race are collapsing (or at least are in some parts of the world, and should in other places) and attributing leadership roles with the color of one's skin is an obsolete belief that needs to be gotten rid of, ASAP.
Women working together, and not against each other, is the key.
Here's a point that highlights how all Charlie's Angels versions are similar, rather than different.
They always make it a point to show how women working together as a connected whole, one that intuitively knows how the other is feeling or what they're thinking at a given moment, is key to success. Three heads are always better than one when saving the world, after all.
The misconception that women are catty and often gossip about each other is nowhere to be found in this movie, and that's great. Because even adult women can be victims of this very high school behavior, which makes it triply awesome to see how women who are all professionals acknowledge that there's simply no time to be petty!
Photos from @charliesangels