Mädchen mit Gewalt
Bottoms and Polite Society are my favourite movies of 2023
If I ever get depressed by the current state of things, I only need to remind myself that future generations are so much better, and the world they are now starting to lead is going to be awesome. Evidence is not hard to find in real life, but, as is often the case, fiction can sometimes reveal truths that are especially powerful.
Two movies I particularly enjoyed this year are Bottoms and Polite Society. Both movies are comically absurd, but also powerful and moving stories about teenage girls who turn to violence to assert themselves in the world.
In Bottoms, by Emma Seligman and Rachel Sennott (of Shiva Baby fame), two queer teenagers, PJ and Josie, return to high-school after summer recess frustrated with their unsuccessful romantic life and and attempt to capitalise on their butch notoriety by starting a school fight club for girls, in the hope of attracting interest.
Ria, the protagonist of Polite Society is a British Pakistani girl with wild imagination, a YouTube channel, and aspirations to become a martial arts stuntwoman. Her dreams blend with reality when she needs to save her older sister who has fallen prey to a patriarchal nightmare ploy.
Both movies cleverly use comical absurdity as a cover for taking seriously the idea that teenagers, and women, are real people. Recommended!