The Actresses (2009)

“Their egos make it difficult for them all to be in the same room”

words: Desmond Childs

Actresses-2009-K-Movie

What an interesting concept for a movie. Gather some successful actors/actresses from throughout the decades. Have someone who was a movie star in 1950s, someone from the 1970s, etc. Then, get them all to agree to do a shoot for Vogue magazine‘s holiday issue. What’s the worse that can happen?

This movie essentially has one thing going for it: it features several movie stars of various walks in one setting. A couple of older actresses. Some middle-aged ones. And a few rising stars are thrown into the mix as well. It all culminates  in a very emotional, honest sort of dramedy (comedy+drama). It’s one of those movies where the players involved are playing heightened versions of themselves (more or less). We hear the older actresses talk about how much closer actors and actresses were to each other. At one point in Asia’s movie industry, there wasn’t a “Star system“. In other words, according to these actresses, no one actor was recognized for their work above the rest of the cast. They also discuss (and joke) about growing  older. After the eldest actresses have told their story, we hear from the middle-aged stars. They all discuss how fame has affected their personal lives. topics like the media covering divorce and how jealousy ruins chemistry; keep the movie interesting. Well, it’s interesting if you are curious about the lives of Asian movie stars.

There is an extra bit of intrigue in regards to how the women interact with one another. Many of the stars display less than friendly sentiments toward one another. Sometimes the women would gossip about another actress while she stepped away for a break. The egos of the women were in full effect, but they were all still able to poke fun of themselves too. Even when the actresses become emotional, the movie doesn’t try to lighten the mood. The camera sits and lets the actresses do all the work. Which meant plenty of uncomfortable moments. But also a handful of sincere, sad, and sweet interludes of truth. And even in mocumentaries like this, there always tends to be those interludes of truth. Sometimes what’s revealed is humorous. Sometimes it isn’t. I always felt like the people in this picture did their very best to be true to themselves. The result being a bunch of movie stars who have more or less survived being cut with a double-edged sword. Being able to do something they love, but also dealing with the fame and misfortune that accompanies it.

I do not want to make it sound like this film was depressing. It wasn’t at all. It generally stayed pretty light, and the snark humor made me smile. At times I was surprised at how relatable some of the actresses were even being from another country. Well, maybe not surprised. Our movie stars deal with the similar problems. However I did enjoy getting insight into the way a few actresses feel about their careers.

This a movie I’d only recommend to fellow film nerds or students. Otherwise anyone who just likes to go “behind the scenes” to learn more about the personal lives of their favorite Asian actresses, will enjoy this. It is also pretty fun to watch them all try out their outfits and model for the magazine. Be sure to watch the ending credits as you get to see the last image of vogue.

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