There are a couple of choose films from my childhood that may perpetually maintain a really particular place in my coronary heart. However the one which stands out most in my thoughts is the Barbra Steisand-led musical manufacturing of Humorous Woman, which follows the life and profession of Broadway star Fanny Brice and her spectacular rise to stardom. There’s love, there’s romance, there’s a ton of implausible musical numbers. It’s little surprise the movie went on to obtain a whopping eight Academy Award nominations.
The movie got here out again on September 18, 1968, which, to be clear, is almost twenty years earlier than I used to be even born (let’s not make me any older than I already am, thanks very a lot). So, why was a ‘90s baby so emotionally invested in a ‘60s movie, you may ask? Effectively, for starters, it was one among my mother’s favourite films, and we all the time had a good time watching it collectively. Now and again, we’d simply get within the temper to observe it, make some popcorn, and sing alongside to all of our favourite numbers. It was a particular time put aside for simply the 2 of us — one thing that I’ve come to treasure an increasing number of through the years.
But that wasn’t the one cause I’ve all the time felt such a detailed kinship with this movie. To me, Fanny Brice is an underrated feminist icon who has by no means actually acquired the credit score she deserves. However now, getting ready to Humorous Woman’s fifty fifth anniversary, it’s time to offer Streisand’s character her simply rewards.
Admittedly, many works of cinema haven’t held as much as the check of time, and all through the years, Humorous Woman has acquired its justifiable share of criticism from viewers. A fast Google search will present you that one of many largest complaints concerning the movie facilities round Fanny’s love life, significantly relating to her major love curiosity, Nicky Arnstein (Omar Sharif). Many discovered the romance disappointing and felt that it diminished Fanny to nothing greater than a lovesick lady prepared to surrender all the things she had labored so laborious for to marry a good-looking man.
To an extent, I can see the place the frustration is coming from. Right here was a girl on her strategy to turning into an enormous Broadway success — the epitome of all the things she had ever dreamed of. Nevertheless, after spending a while with Nick, she realizes how a lot she loves him and decides to halt occurring tour to go see him, which culminates in them getting married. However does that call robotically make her not a feminist? I are likely to disagree.
Personally, I by no means seen this as Fanny selecting a person over her profession. Actually, I admired Fanny’s tenacity to all the time go after what she wished — one thing she’d constantly finished all through her life lengthy earlier than Nicky Arnstein ever got here on her radar.
She wished to be a Broadway star, and she or he made that occur regardless of everybody in her life telling her it wasn’t going to occur. They known as her a refrain lady with skinny legs and didn’t suppose she match the “typical magnificence requirements” society anticipated of all ladies. Briefly, they didn’t consider in her. However she believed in herself. The extent of confidence she had in herself as each a singer and performer was downright admirable. She knew her value, and that ambition and self-assuredness made her the success she turned.
When she felt uncomfortable with a scene for one among Mr. Zeigfield’s productions, she modified the storyline in order that the viewers would snicker together with her, not at her. She had been informed to not change it and knew doing so may get her fired, however she felt passionate sufficient about it that she determined to do it anyway, and growth — the viewers cherished it. So, isn’t her pursuit of Nick simply one other instance of her ambition to go after what she needs, each personally and professionally?
When Fanny begins singing “Don’t Rain On My Parade,” it’s as a result of she as soon as once more looks like others are attempting to dictate how her life ought to go. However she calls for to be the one in charge of her choices, which is all the time a refreshing message to ship to ladies of all ages.
So, you see, this isn’t a music of defeat the place her goals now not matter. It’s an anthem declaring that she needs this man, he makes her pleased, and nothing and nobody is getting in her approach. And let’s not overlook, she went again to her profession not too lengthy after getting married. She was merely prioritizing her private life when she wanted it most and looking for a wholesome work-life steadiness. That’s not foolish or trivial. That’s courageous.
And sure, their marriage finally ended on account of Nick’s skewed, outdated views on gender roles and who ought to or shouldn’t be the principle breadwinner of a household. However that’s his personal insecurities he must grapple with. And in case you suppose Fanny let him off too straightforward for all of the damage and heartbreak, she places him in his place within the movie’s sequel, Humorous Girl.
Time and time once more all through the movie, Fanny showcased the kinds of qualities all ladies need to really feel: confidence, dedication, stubbornness, ambition, and sure, even typically lovesickness. To me, as a younger lady, she was the entire bundle — somebody I actually regarded as much as as a job mannequin. And now that legendary icons like Barbie are lastly getting the popularity they deserve, I say it’s excessive time we give Fanny a few of that love as effectively.