July 2017
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ethical storytelling ratings & reviews for 17 Again (2009), Eva (2011), and Love Birds (2011)


17 Again (2009 USA) [Comedy/Fantasy] Director: Burr Steers Writer: Jason Filardi
+1 -- slightly subversive in that the "wife's" life improves dramatically when ze dumps the main character, and ze's portrayed as confident and complete.
+1 -- adding a point for the fact that the main character doesn't get creepy when put in a 17 year old body among 17 year old girls who want to have sex with zir.
-1 -- for forcing a kiss on the "wife." consent requires desire plus conscious choice.
-1 -- main character passes 4 geeks dressed up in "girly" things (implied to have been forced by the boys laughing at them outside) and locked in a display case, makes a face and DOES NOTHING. No further mention is made.
0 -- doesn't directly affirm stereotypes, but doesn't break them down either: at least the "bad boyfriend" is just called bad and it's not excused as "boy behavior."
-1 -- primarily a vehicle for white, male, cis, het, financially-unworried, non-disabled, neurotypical character
-1 -- main supporting character (or majority of ensemble cast) also white, male, cis, het, financially-unworried, non-disabled, and neurotypical
+1 -- minor character who is female is confident and in charge, yet not demonized or desexed or overpowered. Ze does change zir mind about a pressure-y suitor, but in reaction to learning they had something in common, not as giving in to manipulation.

Total: -1 mildly bad. On plot and character development, I'd say it was solidly okay, but nothing to shout about. I'd say it's worth watching once if you feel like some fluff - 2.5 star (out of five).

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Eva (2011 Spain) [Drama/Sci-fi] Director: Kike Maíllo Writers: Sergi Belbel, Cristina Clemente, Martí Roca, Aintza Serra
+1 no stereotyped-by-gender characters
+1 female characters are 3D
+1 just barely passes the Bechdel test
-1 affirms stereotypes (in dialogue)
-1 primarily a vehicle for white, male, cis, het, financially-unworried, non-disabled, neurotypical character
+1 for respectful handling of non-human sentience

Total: +2 mildly good. On plot and character development, it was very interesting, well-paced, thought-provoking, and emotional but not luridly so. For me it's a 4 star, meaning it's worth watching more than once, but not more than thrice.

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Love Birds (2011 New Zealand) [Comedy/Romance] Director: Paul Murphy Writer: Nick Ward
+1 main female character is 3D and not stereotyped -- but the others are.
+1 main male character is not at all grabby or sexually pushy. Sad that this is rare enough to be a plus, but there you go.
+1-1 subversive in that at one point wmchfundnt main character says "no" to gender segregation, but at another point it is allowed with a "fair enough" from the one being excluded
-1 primarily a vehicle for white, male, cis, het, financially-unworried, non-disabled, neurotypical character
+1 main supporting character is a duck, and it's treated kindly and respectfully, yet not put in opposition to a woman (usually when animals are real characters they become a sort of competing love interest for the wmchfundnt person and then get chosen over the woman, with an implied nobility to this choice)
-1 marginalized people considered not viable love interests, used as background -- and in favor of the slimiest white guy who objectifies and excludes!
+1 pretty awesome handling of single motherhood -- main female does not center life around child or man, but makes zir own choices carefully.

Total: +2 which for a romantic comedy is damn good. On plot and character development, it was above average, and it made me cry with happiness at one point. Also a 4 star.


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xochitl ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣amused╠══
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.