Thursday, June 26, 2014


Life dvd movie cover.jpg

The protagonist of this film is not a woman, but is a male. Throughout the film, there are very few scenes which involve women. In this film, there are only two women shown throughout the whole entire one hundred and nine minute film. There is no question that the women are just placed in the movie to be “objects for the male gaze.” When the women are shown, they are portrayed as a woman who will have sex for money, and as a woman who cheats on her husband. The woman who portrays a prostitute is of African American ethnicity, and the woman who portrays the adulterer is of Caucasian ethnicity. For the time period of the movie, which is the 1930’s and 40’s in the scenes that they are in, I would say that both of these women fit into racial stereotypes.  White women in this time period had more of a curvaceous body type, along with black women. This film does not pass the Bechdel Test, as it does not feature two or more women, who talk to each other about something other than men.
              This movie is about two men who discover the meaning of life while spending theirs in prison. In the first scene with the two main characters, they encounter a meeting with several of the inmates, who introduce themselves and tell their stories of how they got in prison. As the scene unfolds and the men talk amongst each other, they do it in such a way that the man with the scariest or most gruesome story of how he got in prison is idolized or considered a “bad ass,” by the other prisoners. I would say that they did a good job of avoiding perpetuating an unhealthy body ideal for men. Of the thirty prisoners that are shown throughout this film, only one is obese, and he is the prisoner who is idolized for committing such a terrible crime. In this film, there are only two men of color shown: white and black. All of the prisoners are black, and the warden and man in charge of watching over the prisoners are white. These definitely fit into the racial stereotypes of the time period as racism was still very active. This film however, does not include men in non-stereotypical roles. They do a good job of not celebrating offensive racial, ethnic, and cultural stereotypes. In the scenes that do show racism occurring, they show how bad racism is, and each of the individuals who did racist acts, were punished during the movie. There are several scenes in which they show the struggle of what black men went through in the forties, and they do so in a way that draws sympathy (pathos) from the audience.   The protagonist in this film is not gay, bisexual, or transgender. But they do portray two gay men in the film. Both are reduced to stereotypes though, because we do know that men in prison tend to prefer a different sexuality when they are going to be in prison for a long time. The protagonist in this film does not have a disability, but they do include one character that does have a disability. This characters story line is limited to their disability. In the two scenes that that this character is shown, he is incapable of speaking and when he does, it is very quiet stuttering. He is a talented baseball player that with the help of the protagonist in this film is able to be granted a pardon to play in the major leagues.
            This film is written, directed, and produced by all men. The only of these that is of color, is the producer, Eddie Murphy, who is a well-known and highly respected actor as well. None of these however, are of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender sexuality. Nor do any of these men have disabilities. Although this movie lacks diversity, and would appear to be a very simple black and white film, it does have comedy and a touching showing of a “bromance” type of relationship that keeps the viewer interested. I consider this a classic movie, one that I can watch over and over again without wanting to shoot myself. This film receives a “C” as I could only check four of the boxes on the REP Test. I rate this film one directors cut.

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