Mainstream movies do a disservice to real women, says Peter Hall at Hollywood.com. Despite the occasional cartoonish action heroine, the female characters in most big-budget films are "indecisive" and "weak-willed" (Bella Swan in Twilight, to name a key example), rather than complex, nuanced individuals facing tough decisions. That said, argues Hall, where the mainstream fails, independent films excel:
"For every lame, spineless romantic comedy Hollywood puts out, there are five indie gems waiting in the shadows to be discovered. Sadder still is the fact that most of these movies never do get discovered outside of the festival circuit. Without an Oscar nomination to guide them there, most moviegoers would never find women making the difficult life choices that...are made by Carey Mulligan's character in An Education, Gabourey Sidibe's in Precious, or Maggie Gyllenhaal's in Crazy Heart."
While some argue that mainstream Hollywood's depiction of females is "just as fanciful and dismissible as all the stupid action movies they release every year," that's a tough pill to swallow.
"With dumb action movies there exists a mutual understanding along the lines of, 'You don't call us on this bullshit and we won't pretend that we're smarter than you are.' Studio romantic comedies don't operate that way, though."