November 2018
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ethical storytelling rating: Cloud Atlas (2012)


Cloud Atlas (2012 USA) [drama / sci-fi] Directors: Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski. Writers: David Mitchell, Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski.

I've never had such a strong reaction to a film. It's beyond words: I went in without even having seen the trailer and I am convinced that that is the correct way to see it. If you like meaningful thoughtful films, please go see it. I will leave you with only a quote:

"Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present. And with each crime and every kindness, we birth our future."

Plusses:
on sex/gender: no stereotyped characters, 3D characters, passes the Bechdel test, is subversive, and actively calls out bullshit, +7
on race/ethnicity: inclusion without stereotyping, 3D characters, passes Bechdel, is subversive, and actively calls out bullshit, +7
on ableism/lookism: +2: questionable inclusion on abilities, but significant and respectful inclusion of people who are older, and nothing actively horrible that I could see.

Minuses:
fucking none. YEAH I KNOW, WHAT??? but out of the minuses I've come up with they had none. The only remotely sour note for me was that the journalist was a badass supposedly because ze was following zir father's footsteps. I feel like it would have been better and more true if ze was just a badass because ze's a fucking badass.

The more I think about the racial cross-dressing in the film the more problematic it seems. I don't know how to 'rate' that because it's an area of privilege for me but I don't feel like it makes the film useless, because I feel like there is some actively anti-oppression stuff too. So I'm going to just minus 7 because in race/ethnicity it's both worse and better.

total: +16! I didn't even think that was possible. total: +9

COMMENTS CONTAIN SPOILERS

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Comments
everybody's aunt
virginia_fell ══╣everybody's aunt╠══
I have heard that this was a fantastic movie, though I am not sure about some of the... uh... cross-ethnicity makeup that I have seen pictures of. I will probably see it for the awesome movie factor, but I sort of wish there'd been another way to accomplish what they were doing there.
(Anonymous) ══╣╠══
Whaat?! I thought it was awful! The "magical negro" tropes (AGAIN, Wachowskis?!) and the asian eyes prosthetics on all of those white people?! YIPES. Compared to everything else Hollywood has for us, I'd certainly give them half a hand for TRYING, but for me it fell completely flat.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
whoops... that anonymous was mee :)
confused
belenen ══╣confused╠══
Magical? I don't remember any magic. The race-dressing thing was questionable but I don't know how else they could have illustrated the lifelines/reincarnation. But I dunno, I am a white person and maybe my privilege is showing here.

garrulous
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
as I understand the trope I don't see it there, except maybe with the pre-civil-war-era-timeline. If that were the center of the story or the only story for the characters who were people of color then I'd be more bothered by it but I didn't feel like it was flat. I think I'll do some reading further.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
a little reading, for whenever you want it :) http://www.racebending.com/v4/blog/cloud-atlas-conversation-yellowface-prejudice-artistic-license/
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
Oh, sorry! When you said you didn't remember any magic, I thought you meant something else. It was that era, and also the future where the morpheus-type character takes bae doona's character to learn all about the suffering of the ages so she can speechify about it; the insta-enlightenment. If I were to watch it again, I'd try to keep my eyes peeled for more instances, but even two grated on me.

As an aside, it also annoys me when hollywood directors try SO HARD to make sure there are token characters who are black and asian in a movie and forget that there are quite a few other races in the world, and quite a few actors of those races who could probably use a part. They probably did give it their best shot, but yeah, it really fell flat in that dept too :-/
sabrinamari ══╣╠══
I'm a-going now. And thank you for your beautiful card!
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.