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Mrs America


Mladen

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A miniseries revolving around ERA and feminist movement on one and the life and political career of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafley finally arrived. Starring Cate Blacnchett as Schlaffley, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Banks as Jill Ruckelshaus, Margo Martindale as Bella Absug and Tracy Ulman as Betty Friedan with addition of Sarah Paulson and John Slattery, the Hulu miniseries will focus on the culture war that is still very much relevant today. 

First three episodes are out and they are named after Schlafley, Steinem and Friedan. 

 

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2 hours ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Finished the first three episodes. 

So when is the fourth supposed to come out? 

According to my HBO Go, on April, 25th. That said, given time difference between USA and Serbia, the date in US time zones would be April, 24th

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So, four episodes in - "Phyllis", "Gloria", "Shrley" and "Betty"

If I have said it once, I've said it a thousand times - Cate Blanchett is a GODDESS!!! The way she embodies Phyllis is absolutely amazing. Oh, no, it is not gimmicky performance, it is neither farce or caricature. Neither Lady Tremaine nor Hela. Blanchett approached Phyllis and acted her in a deeply humanizing way. Certainly, Schlaffley is not someone whom one should admire, but Blanchett emphasizes the undoubtedly admirable traits such as passion, strength and endurance. But then Schlaffley says and does things that she historically said and did and Blanchett does it amazingly. In our time, Phyllis would be a cartoonish character we love to hate, but Blanchett transforms it into a woman who had to earn every centimetre of ground she stands on and whose deep convictions are the motivator behind the war she waged on feminist movement. 

The supporting cast is absolutely amazing and I really hope to see Byrne, Aduba, Ulman and Paulson recognized for their work, the last one, apparently, having yet to show why she was created for the purpose of this show. The way Byrne portrays Steinem is electrifying and one can without any doubt understand why she is who she is - one of the most important feminists in history. While Blanchett humanized Schlaffley, Byrne, who had even more difficult job, not only embodied Gloria as a person, but through that, as an icon and every second she is on screen, it is God given.

Ulman played Betty Friedan and totally rocked in Episode 4 titled after her character. She comes of as that hideous cliche of "angered feminist", but the more you learn about her, the more you understand where all of that comes from. "And how about saying thank you?" is probably the best way to describe how we so easily take things for granted and not understand that sometimes life is not fair.

The complexity of those issues, many of which we still discuss nowadays, does not escape this show. Gender, race and LGBTIQ issues are, even though very relatable, separate issues. The episode named after Shirley Chisholm shows that things are sadly more complicated. But that also speaks how there are feminists of all walks of life. Embarrassingly, I didn't know anything about Mrs Chisholm's fight and political career so I did some research and was absolutely amazed at her tenacity. I am really looking forward to more discovery. But, the interaction between her, Gloria and Bella (Margo Martindale serves as a Maggie Smith for this mini-series with her one-liners) are amazing.

Overall, it is the best thing I have watched this year. And I recommend it to you all! 

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So, the fifth episode was named after two pairs taking the stage - Schlaffleys and Feigen Fasteaus: "Phyllis & Fred & Brenda & Marc"

Slattery and Blanchett were amazing in this episode. Blanchett continues to encapsulates all the right notes even though I understand how conservatives might dislike the performance. When she said to her son "You had to be more careful, John" there was so much raw honesty and the change of tone in Blanchett's voice is simply amazing. 

The one thing I really like is how this show tries not to be preachy as many of the movies, TV shows and TV movies had been in the past. Feminists, just like their opposition, are humans with virtues and flaws. The center stage on feminist side - Brenda Feigen Fasteau in a role of the perfect feminist wife with the perfect enlightened husband. A perfect couple on the first sight, but not without personal issues. That is what separates Mrs America from other products. It has a viewpoint, but simply it is not preachy. It does not create superheroes of women who fought for equality but actually humanizes them. Yes, they are not perfect, but they have tried to do the best for women all over USA.

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23 hours ago, Ran said:

Got this on the to-watch list, but have quite a backlog. Glad to see it sounds good.

No rush at this point. A few more weeks and the entire season will be available.

You may as well hold off so you don’t have to wait the week between episodes. 

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We have only started this decade, but we have a performance we will talk about in many years to come. Yes, I am guilty of adoring Cate Blanchett, but let's face it - SHE IS THAT GOOD!!!

Regardless of what conservative circles say about this, regardless of points made of this show not fully understanding conservative POV, Blanchett is an outstanding actress, a true artist and her encapsulation of Phyllis Schlaffley is glorious. She is a force of nature when she needs to be, manipulative and vicious when she sets her teeth into something, but she is also a woman living in a world that simply does not respect her. Regardless of what the boys speak. She is allowed ambition, career, political power but it all comes with restrictions. In an amazing confrontation with Jill Ruckleshaus (amazingly played by Elizabeth Banks), Schlaffley gets the truth she doesn't want to hear, but much later while the boys drink and smoke, she understands the undeniable truth. 

I really like the inclusion of Jill Ruckleshaus in this series. Nowadays, America seems to be highly polarized and Democrats are often seen through the Obamas, while Republicans get the Trump treatment. As the premiere of "The Good Fight" reminded us, Harvey Weinstein was a Democrat. ERA was bipartisan and one has to notice that there were brave women on both sides who fought for it. 

There is something profoundly sad when you look how these women fought and how they had to claw for each centimetre of land they stood on. What they had to endure, what compromises they had to make.  And this episode goes into that... On one hand you have "sweetheart" JIll, who admits that she has been groped numerous times and on another you have Bella Absug who was faced with the fact that the very same men who supported her law, the men she needs are sexually harassing their secretaries. 

The pain is real. It is not preachy, but it is there. And that is what makes it so profound. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The last two episodes had Bella Absug and the composite character of Alice Macray as the focus point. Martindale was amazing, but "Houston" episode, which had Paulson's character Alice as the POV was truly amazing. It was a very risky move for the penultimate episode to have the focus on a composite character in gathering that would put all these different women into one place, but it was done in a rather nice way. Paulson played nicely a woman whose beliefs are shaken to the core but, IMO, doesn't go overboard with that. The show is not perfect in its depiction of conservative women but, then again, as Absug said to the bunch of Phyllis's "eagles" that they are in fact, working women.

Blanchett had little to do in "Houston" episode, but she was amazing in "Bella", especially in that confession scene. Byrne was, as always, great as Gloria Steinem and she has truly been electrifying presence on screen throughout the series.

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