I tried on my oldest surviving pair of jeans today, and was saddened by how snugly they fit me. A few years ago, I needed a belt just to keep them up, and could slip them off without even undoing the zip! Now they are getting disturbingly tight… so I can only assume they must have shrunk in the wash? Yeah, right. If that wasn’t bad enough, I’ve just watched the second Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants movie, and all of the guys in that are ridiculously ripped. Even the dude who’s supposed to spend all his time playing video games has washboard abs! I know, I know, there are far more films/shows/magazines out there that make women feel bad about their bodies… but this was not a good day for me to be seeing studly guys without their shirts on. I guess the diet starts tomorrow? Again, again, again. Dammit.
Personal body issues aside, I have to say I enjoyed both this movie and its predecessor, which I watched last weekend. It was a little hard to bite back my cynicism at times over the central premise… that a group of four young friends are kept together by a single pair of thrift-store jeans which magically fits each girl, and is posted back and forth between them across the country/globe… but really that’s just a framing device for some very engaging, and moving stories, which kept me in an almost perpetual state of sniffles. I should probably skip the part of this post where I perv over the main cast… except to say that they are all incredibly gorgeous, talented and charming young ladies. In fact, they play their contrasting, clashing characters so well, that it’s a shame they don’t spend more time together on screen. It’s rather a peculiar structure for a film, to have the four main characters split up, travel so far apart, and each get their own separate mini-movie, but I think it works. Most literary adaptations tend to feel a little cramped and fleeting, with months/years/centuries condensed into a few meagre minutes of screen time… but the performances were strong enough to hold me there in the moment, with the characters, long enough to feel the effects of their experiences.
These movies also provide a stark contrast to many other movies aimed at teenage girls, by taking their problems seriously, and by refusing to toe the “all you need is the right boy, and you’ll have your happy ending” line. Boys are not the be-all and end-all in these girls’ lives… well, not in the first movie, anyway. The second movie tends to have more of a romantic agenda, but even then the emphasis remains on putting sisters before misters. Any show that encourages young women (or young people in general) to develop their own interests, passions and ambitions, aside from simply chasing the opposite sex, is to be applauded… and if they can do it with as much humour, heart and wisdom as these movies do, then so much the better! The only downside is that they’re kind of like “gateway” DVDs, making me want to check out the cast’s other shows… and I don’t see how sitting around watching boxsets of Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls, Joan of Arcadia and The Unusuals is going to help me shed any flab!
[The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005) and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 (2008), starring Alexis Bledel as ‘Lena’, Amber Tamblyn as ‘Tibby’, America Ferrera as ‘Carmen’, and Blake Lively as ‘Bridget’. Based on the novels by Ann Brashares.]