Friday, October 5, 2012
Film Flick: Woman of the Year
Kathrine Hepburn was in heels the first time she met Spencer Tracy. Looking him over, she told him, "I'm afraid I'm a little too tall for you," to which he replied, "Don't worry, I'll cut you down to size."
So began one of Hollywood's most sucessful silver screen pairings with the film Woman of the Year. In this film, as with most of the nine films they eventually did together, it's a battle of the sexes. Hepburn and Tracy both play their usual screen personas, this time as polticial journalist Tess Harding and sports writer Sam Craig respectfully. She's analytical, smart and angluar; he's an earthy everyman who values the individual. Opposites attract, but the question of the movie is can they stay together? After a slam-bam marriage, Sam Craig, pushed to the sidelines of his wife's attention most days, is beginning to have his doubts.
Hepburn's character is the usual- almost insufferably high-handed, arrogant and thoughtless of others, but so smart, successful and idealistic. You don't know whether you want to cheer on this paragon or watch her get her comeuppance. You might think this could be problematic, but in fact , it saves the film from an even bigger issue by making the character complex and flawed. With a story line that brings up the question of who holds the power in this marriage, it could be all too easy for the film to have sexist overtones. But there are pains taken to show Tess Hardings' faults are her own, not all women's, and likewise the story line even manages to convey that these are not personality quirks that need to totally erased-just tempered. Tess doesn't need to greet Sam with pearls around her neck and a frying pan in hand when he comes home from work. She's good at her job and the husband values that part of her too. In it's way, the film seems to be propagating a good feminist moral: Love can get you to the alter, but it's partnership that will get you all the rest of the way.
And if you need more reasons to watch this delightful comedy, it's laughs a minute with some wonderful physical humor and the plot managed to surprise me at every turn without ever turning into a screwball romance. Hepburn and Tracy also manage to have an entirely believable, honest connection that makes even the quick falling-in-love scenes work- Of course, maybe this shouldn't come as a surprise, considering on-screen chemistry turned into off-screen romance for the two. Though they had their ups and downs, they became one of Hollywoods' most famous true love stories. There was no need to cut anybody down to size; whether they were trading verbal spars or heating up the silver screen with some steamy kisses, these two, and Woman of the Year, seem to be a perfect match