I Feel Pretty (12A) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Abby Kohn & Marc Silverstein, USA 2018, 110 mins

Cast: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Tom Hopper, Lauren Hutton, Aidy Bryant, Busy Phillips, Rory Scovel

Review by Carlie Newman

I Feel Pretty is look at body image with a new slant, the movie stars Amy Schumer as Renee, a large but attractive woman who hates her appearance.

She has serious image problems and lacks self-esteem. Renee is used to being ignored as she waits to be served in a shop. She has two friends who are also not in the looking-beautiful class. Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips play the girlfriends superbly. They support Renee throughout her various crises and these three young women form a nice little friendship group.

One day, while in the gym, Renee falls and bangs her head. When she comes to, she looks in the mirror and gasps with pleasure as she sees that she is now beautiful. The reality is, she has not changed at all; it is only her perception that has altered. She now sees herself as looking gorgeous and is suddenly full of confidence. She applies for and gets the job of her dreams: she moves from a small dingy office to become a receptionist in the same cosmetics company where she was completely unknown to a front row position in beautiful offices on Fifth Avenue run by an insecure, lovely looking young woman, Avery LeClair (the almost unrecognizable Michelle Williams), the granddaughter of the owner, Lily St Clair (Lauren Hutton).

Now that she feels confident, Renee is not afraid to voice her opinions and rises up the ranks as she impresses Avery with the viewpoint of what the ‘ordinary’ woman wants. Her private life also improves beyond her former wildest dreams as she becomes romantically involved with Ethan (Rory Scovel).

How it plays out and what happens when Renee comes back to reality and sees herself as she actually is forms the next stage of this film. The story is romantic and there is a lot of comedy. The big difficulty is accepting that self-confidence can be acquired just by believing in oneself.

There are some excellent performances from the main actors but also those in smaller parts act with an understanding of their characters. Well directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein, Michelle Williams is most amusing as the woman who heads the company and yet knows that her voice – a small high squeak – and her demeanor is not exactly prepossessing! Rory Scovel, too, gives a good characterisation of an insecure man who falls for the exciting and unpredictable Renee.

The main thing to save the film from becoming an unbelievable romp is Amy Schumer who puts in a well-rounded performance showing the nuances of feeling like nothing and being unloved to suddenly finding her self-confidence and also realising that she is loved by Ethan. As she blossoms we see her flower into a lovely young woman.