I cried in my press screening for I Feel Pretty. To be fair, crying in comedies isn't unheard of for me — the hardest I've ever sobbed in a cinema was during the death scene in Click. But this was different from mourning Adam Sandler's missed family bonding opportunities; this was cathartic. There's something about having your own insecurities reflected back to you in an honest, understanding, and funny way that suddenly frees you from them. And the sight of Amy Schumer stripping down to her bra and Spanx in front of a mirror after a bad date, sighing over ever perceived flaw as the undergarments dig into her skin in red welts, was just that kind of wake up call.
That release is just what Schumer hopes women will take away from the movie, which hits cinemas 4th May. "In any magazine article, in anything you do it's just like 'Confidence!' she said in an interview with Refinery29. "You ask 'What's the sexiest thing?' 'Confidence!' But do we ever really see an example of that? That's what the movie is all about."
Written and directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, the film's plot centres around Renee Bennett (Schumer), a woman battling low self-esteem and insecurity about her looks. It's a struggle that's prevented her from feeling truly fulfilled, despite her strong female friendships and obvious ambition. That all changes one day when she takes a bad fall during a SoulCycle class, suffering a head injury that magically enables her to see herself as unequivocally beautiful. Of course, nothing's changed — it's a delusion that ultimately gives Renee the courage to pursue her dream job at a beauty company run by legacy socialite Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams, who deserves more comedic roles) and the man she deserves (Rory Scovel), until she finally realises that confidence springs from within.
It's a subject that hits home for a lot of women, a sore spot rubbed raw from too many disrespectful portrayals, reflected in the backlash the film's been receiving online since its trailer dropped in February. Schumer understands this. The comedian, who's faced her fair share of body shaming in the public eye (intentional and not) but is known for her unabashed self-assuredness onstage, explained that she, like many women, had to overcome the constant messaging urging her to be thinner, bolder, more fit in the quest for that elusive perfect body that's supposed to raise us all up into Pretty Girl nirvana.
"I remember, in fifth grade, you're so unaware of your body, you're not sucking in — although now, who knows, kids probably are," Schumer said. "My two front teeth didn't fall out until I was like, 9, and I also got my period really early so it was a nightmare. I had boobs, and I remember, this guy I was friends with said: 'You have a big butt.' And I was like, 'I do?' And he didn't say it like it was bad, but it had never occurred to me that our bodies were something that could be judged."
In the full interview below, Schumer explains how she copes with the pressure of looking a certain way in Hollywood, the best advice she's ever gotten from a woman, and how she really feels when she walks into a spin class.
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