Behind every good movie is a great woman? The odds of that are dramatically increasing according to “‘Women on Top: Hollywood and Power,” an AMC special that offers a status check on some of today’s top players.
And just in case names like Laura Ziskin, Paula Wagner or Ellen Kuras don’t draw viewers in the way Coppola, Spielberg and Tarantino does, they get big ego boosts from the likes of Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock, Kirsten Dunst and Penelope Cruz, who sing their praises.
Narrated by Chloe Sevigny, Women on Top is a look at the various factions of the movie business that have been “infiltrated,” some more successfully than others, including producing, screenwriting, directing and editing. And while the facts may not sound all that earth-shattering, the special points out that as recently as the 1970s, studio back lots didn’t even have women’s bathrooms.
While occasionally informative and entertaining, writer and producer Roberta Grossman’s approach is more akin to “E! True Hollywood Story” than a straight-up documentary. Part of that is due to the star wattage, which gives it an infotainment feel, but more is to the downright goofy and unnecessary actor recreations.
And although Grossman never actually uses the phrase “‘we’ve come a long way baby,”‘ the Hollywood-came-calling analogy makes several appearances as does the reference to this female power pack as the celluloid sorority.
Special is also very generous with the definition of a hit movie. According to this research, every film made by these women was a “success.” If indeed that were the case, revenue-driven Hollywood men would surely exploit femme filmmakers if indeed the formula were that simple.