Movie Review: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Link to Letterboxd review, which is quoted here in full. 4 stars

This is a dark fairy tale, start to finish, with the Princess in the saving role.

Amy Sedaris in a horror movie=🍿 

Excellent horror cameo at the end, which I won’t spoil.

Minus one star for the repeated usage of the r-word. I understand one character might use it because it’s in their nature, but characters were freely passing it around like a joint, and it was as jarring as the unnecessary LGBTQ slur in Freddy v. Jason that was out of character and was like a record scratch. Diablo Cody is a better writer, and person, than that.

Added note: I worked with teenagers around the time the movie came out, both as an intensive in-home therapist, a Girl Scout leader, and a mental health case manager (social worker). So I worked with the best and with the toughest and roughest young adults, to be glib about it, and I think only one of them used the r-word as an insult or as just regular slang.

I’ve talked about my brother Eric in detail on the site and on the podcast, and there is a huge difference, as I’ve said, in our using the 1970’s medically-approved phrase “mental retardation” in reference to him, and using it as it is used in this movie. If one character–say Jennifer–had used it as a power move, putting people down, that is a writing choice, and perhaps makes sense. But like I said in my review, every single person under thirty passed it around freely. It not only felt hurtful, but lazy. I would love this movie with my whole heart were it not for that. Eric was mentally retarded; that was the terminology used to get him benefits, and into the Head Start program, and to explain to my peers easily why he wanted to hug them all the time and why he was…well, Eric. And they understood. And it is not the correct terminology now…because science would understand so much more about him, and why he had cardiac distress in the womb, and why he developed Addison’s disease in the womb, which apparently never happens. We learn and we develop nuance with our empathy as we learn. And nuance is everything for a writer.

Alex and Andrea of the Faculty of Horror podcast discuss the problem with Freddy v. Jason with eloquence in their episode 73, all about the Freddy-verse (Freddy Inc.: A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Master (1988), A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child (1989), Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Freddy Vs. Jason (2013)). As always, I recommend attending every class of theirs. Do your homework.

Official trailer
Don’t let anyone call you “Needy” as your nickname, please. Red flag.

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