It happens every time my friends and I get together. We grab some dinner, catch up, and decide to cap the night off with a movie. The one thing we can all agree on is that it has to be a chick flick – and every week, who’s the chump that ends up sitting through The Devil Wears Prada or She’s the Man or (gag) Bridget Jones’s Diary? It’s me, that’s who.
See, when I say I love chick flicks, I’m talking about movies with chickens in them. And when you’re talking about movies with chickens in them, there’s really only one that matters: the 97% Certified Fresh™ classic, Chicken Run. The story of Ginger and her fellow hens trying to escape their lives of servitude on Tweedy’s Farm is as enduring as anything that Nancy Meyers ever produced.
My friends are all like, “C’mon! Pitch Perfect is so fun to sing along to!” And it’s like, okay guys, but so is Ellis Hall’s bopping rendition of “Flip, Flop, Fly!” Then someone tries to sneak something like A League of Their Own on because “the women are so real!” I defy anyone to find more “real” female characters than those presented in Aardman Animation’s Golden Globe nominated classic.
The sheer range of representation is mind-blowing, from boss bitch Bunty to Babs the domestic goddess – and who can forget butch queen Mac, slaying it in STEM? Before we knew how to lean in, Chicken Run delivered the rallying cry that every woman needs: “Thrust!”
Don’t even get me started on body-positivity. There are more hips on the women in this film than in Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner, and Monster-in-Law combined. J-Lo could never.
And look, I’ve had enough with how Heathers or whatever has so many levels – it’s not the only one! Chicken Run grapples with the systematic reduction of female bodies to their reproductive purposes and also has so many egg puns.
Lots of people say that chick flicks are their guilty pleasure. On that, we agree. I often feel conflicted when I settle in for a blissful 85 minutes of poultry-related humour only to be reminded Mel Gibson has a leading role.
It’s hard to reconcile the piece of art that I love with the problematic man that it involves but engaging with art is a process. I feel that as long as I’m thinking about the material and its wider socio-cultural implications critically, then my weekly CR viewings can continue unimpeded.
So please, ladies, I beg you: do the right thing. The next time you and your girlfriends agree to catch a chick flick together, make it Chicken Run.
Or The Princess Diaries. Both bangers.