Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dear Angelina Jolie

Dear Angelina Jolie,

I love movies.  All my life I have loved them because at their best they make me think about the world on a different level and take me outside myself.  At their least they are a temporary diversion from regular old worries.  So, it stands to reason that I love the Academy Awards.  It's like the Super Bowl of movies, with the game and the half time show sort of all rolled into one.  I'm not so much drawn to the star power as I am the spectacle of the people who are the top of their craft coming together to acknowledge one another.  I dreamt at one point of standing up there on that stage you have inhabited more than a few times, not as an actress, but as a screenwriter maybe.  Editor maybe, because I think the true genius of film is taking the raw material the director gives you and creating a montage that is seamless.  Now there is art on a very high level.

What I love the most are those times when someone who has labored in the industry all their life comes forward for a shining moment.  Those moments when the joy is so sincere because it is a culmination of sacrifice, sweat, tears, and lots of rejection, coupled with the determination and self-belief that sustains the individual until they finally make it up on the largest of stages.   Those are often the times when all of that just bursts forth from the recipient.  Those are the speeches that everyone remembers and makes you sort of proud if you were part of the audience that supported that movie or knew about that person long ago.  This year it was Octavia Spencer.  On those occasions you know these people in all their glitter and gold are just like us (me, not you, I should say):  they labor hard at what they love and for a brief time anyway they get to be acknowledged for doing that well, and that means more to them than all the diamonds they are encased in.

But I'm having to do some soul searching lately because while instances like that are Hollywood at its best, there are other moments, and more than a few, that show Hollywood, and society as a whole, at its worst.  And you, I have to just say it honestly, were the one who made me realize that.

I know some people hate this word:  trigger.  But I use it, less often that I used to, because it fits sometimes.  There are just times when the specter of The Beast comes at me like a bullet flying out of a gun and hits me square in the chest.  You were that trigger.  It's not like your are the only one.  I was aghast a few years ago when James Cameron's wife, Suzy Amis, showed up to the Oscars wearing a strapless blue gown that probably would have been very lovely if I weren't so distracted by the fact that she looked absolutely skeletal.  I try to ignore his private life because I love his movies but tend to believe he's a douchebag on a personal level.  So, I try to separate the two entities in my mind so I can live with myself when I go agog over Avatar and am giddy in anticipation for the re-release of Titanic.  But I got obsessed there for a while trying to read anything I could about the couple, hoping I would find that he is aware of her situation and was trying to get her help.  Quite the contrary.  What I found were articles, one from a noted Hollywood plastic surgeon, criticizing her for not having work done on her face to make her look younger.  There was more than one article like that in the frenzied red carpet aftermath worrying over how old she looked.  Old?!  Really?  Of course she looks old.  Every ounce of her is engaged in the fight for survival.  It drains you down to nothing, your body turns on itself.  Doesn't anybody care if she lives or dies, just whether or not she makes a great looking corpse? And, all the while, I find photos of the two of them together, he seemingly quite proud of the emaciated individual standing next to him.  Wow.

Yet somehow I got past that and went right on worshiping at the altar of the cineplex.  This year that got interrupted a little when I had to go get some sleep in order to head out to the airport at 5:00 the next morning, so my daughter dutifully recorded the Oscars for me, and I sat down to watch it over the weekend.  And that's when I saw you, standing up there in your black gown with the slit up the side and struck that infamous pose with your leg jutting out as though you rule the world and want everyone to know it.  I don't have an issue with the pose mind you.  It's the rest of the package that triggered me.  I don't know what you weigh, but trust me, it's not enough for your frame.  Your face looks completely gaunt.  You are a beautiful woman.  I'm not your biggest fan, but I can see that you have this look that is stunning.  But The Beast, as I call it, will take that from you if you are not careful.  Right now you are not well.  You have to come to the realization that something is wrong because you are more than an actress or a human being, you are a mother.  You owe it to your children to recognize what is happening and get help.  They have nannies I suppose, but is that why you went to the effort to have kids, so someone else can raise them when you die from any number of complications from a disease that causes you, one of the wealthiest women alive, to literally starve yourself to death.

And, dear God, what about your husband?  Is he really standing by and just letting this happen?  What is it with these guys?

I watched a few more minutes after you left and then realized I didn't have the stomach for it.  It's still there on my DVR, but I'm going to delete it today.  I've seen enough.  Is this what my love for the movies does to people?  Am I part of the machine that causes these women to chase immortality and think they have to be stick thin to do it?  I don't know.  I have to do some soul searching.  In the meantime, get help.   Please.


A movie buff


  1. Thank you! I am really appalled that everybody keeps talking about how beautiful she both the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Of course, she dressed well. Have they not looked at her hair or skin? Both are so very dull. I assume it's from a lack of nourishment. Of course, she sees these reports about how gorgeous she is and I'm sure it just adds full to her fire. Somebody needs to do her a favor before it's too late. I agree that it should probably be her husband. I read somewhere Brad said that she doesn't have an eating disorder...she just feels bad about eating when she spends so much time with children who can't eat. How's that for rationalizing and enabling? Sorry for the rant. I was really bothered by it, too. I hope she gets help soon.

    1. Agreed so much. And I read what Brad said too about "starving herself for children who can't eat." How the HELL would that not be considered eating disordered? I mean I get the sentiment, whatever, but still, facts are facts.