Carrie(d) Away With Aesthetics

It has been one week since a minute long ‘teaser’ was released of the new remake/re-imagining of Stephen King’s Carrie. Granted, its miniscule length means little in terms of plot or narrative are revealed and rather depicts a scene from the book’s finale, with Carrie in her pale pink prom dress, dripping in blood. Those of us familiar with King’s original novella or De Palma’s oft misogynistic adaptation, however, will have a very strong idea as to what does, indeed, “happen to Carrie”. What has been somewhat surprising is the outcry from (some) friends/critics/writers about the casting of Chloë Grace Moretz and, more specifically, her looks. For me, and no doubt countless others, Sissy Spacek personified all that is wonderfully weird about Carrie White but it has been forty-six years and it is, perhaps, time to let somebody else have a shot. Although, there was that horrendous sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999, dir. Katt Shea) but the less said about the better…

Carrie White was an introverted adolescent girl, it was her ‘femaleness’ which made her a monster, albeit a sympathetic one; “othered” by her telekinetic abilities. This, would suggest that if gender was at the heart of the novel then surely her physical aesthetics have absolutely no bearing on the character representation. After all, Spacek was hardly the “chunky girl with pimples” (1974, p10) that is described by King. When he heard that they were making another adaptation, he is reported to have suggested Lindsay Lohan as a Carrie contender, perish the thought!

Moretz, who was outstanding in Kick Ass (2010, dir. Matthew Vaughan) and subtly snarky in (500) Days of Summer (2009, dir. Marc Webb), embodies the tomboyish quality that I have always envisioned of Carrie White from the pages of King’s novel, after all her mother never permitted clothing which would show off or enhance her female form. To suggest that Moretz is too “pouty and glam” is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I would agree that she is supposed to look “pretty” at the Prom – this is the one night in Carrie’s life where she truly feels beautiful. The preoccupation with looks further highlights what (some) male writers look for in their leading ladies. To dismiss Moretz as too “lusty”, “pouty” and/or “glam” is to illustrate just how little the world has moved on if females are still objectified in such a way. There appeared to be very little criticism regarding the casting of Logan Lerman for Percy Jackson; surely far too pretty a boy for such a part? Nope? That is exactly my point. Physical attractiveness, alas, does not appear to make a difference, as men are simply are not viewed or judged that way.

I am a traditionalist and do not believe in the regurgitating movie classics purely to make money. Despite my initial reaction being somewhat ‘meh’ regarding this one, the absolute proof will be in the final viewing and as the film is not released until April 5 2013 there is quite a wait. It is worth noting, however, that there is more to a face than just facade and rather than sexualize and objectify a fifteen year old girl, maybe we just give her a chance. She may very well surprise us all.

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