Amanda >:)’s review published on Letterboxd:
Jennifer’s Body (2009) is one of most misunderstood and under-appreciated movies of all time; and I’m going to tell you why because I’m sick of butthurt boys telling me it’s not.
This film’s reception, not the film itself, is a prime example of the suppression of female voices. Easily one of the worst marketing failures ever, this movie was sold to the complete opposite demographic than what the creator had intended. It’s so unbelievably ironic how a movie mocking misogyny was marketed to appeal to it. Diablo Cody is no stranger to criticism and polarized opinions of her writing. Her Oscar-winning writing of Juno (2007) was criticized and torn-apart by many critics for all the wrong reasons; the messages she so strongly wants to convey seem to go right over peoples heads.
Diablo wrote this with a female demographic in mind, yet 20th Century Fox insisted that it be marketed to teenage boys. At one point, she had to beg the marketing team not to make Megan Fox promote the film live on PORN WEBSITES. When Kusama asked why the movie needed to be marketed like so, she received an email back that said this: “Jennifer sexy, she steal your boyfriend” as if the sentence was constructed by a Neanderthal. The movie was being sold in a way that doesn’t remotely represent the themes of the movie itself, which both mislead the male audience and discouraged the female audience; setting it up for failure. The movie received so much backlash that Cody went through therapy to cope with the intense criticism from her fellow industry members. Fox had a psychological breakdown out of fear of showing her face in public because she was so hurt by the constant criticism and unnecessary sexualization placed upon her since the age of 15. This is the reality for any female who wants respect, there’s no way to win.
Jennifer’s Body is an exploration of the young female world. As released in an interview with Fox and Cody in honor of the 10th anniversary of the film, it was revealed that the movie serves as a sort of autobiographical outlet for the females who created it. The movie upholds feminist values, it doesn’t exist to serve misogyny. The characters were seen as too stereotypical, but thats the point; it’s supposed to be a comedic commentary (talk about r/whoooosh!) on the social hierarchy of young women, highlighting how the constant pitting girls against each other causes toxicity. Jennifer is a representation of what the constant need for superficial approval does to somebody, her self-obsession is at first a funny mockery of shallow teenage girls, but actually reflects how sad it actually is that she feels her looks are all she has. As females, the women who created it are using their perspective to voice their experiences. It shows that girls that are different can still be friends, while also commenting on the unspoken toxic nature that can arise within a friendship when woman are classified solely by what “type of girl” they are.
The role of Jennifer was written specifically for Megan from the very beginning, and not because she has sex appeal amongst young men, she was chosen because she had what the film needed as AN ACTOR, not as an object. The irony! Megan was sexualized and superficially judged for playing a character that’s purpose is to highlight the problem with superficially judging a woman. Despite this, it was still marketed as either a Megan Fox striptease or a single-genre horror movie (spoiler alert: it was neither). It’s a multi-genre film, with horror aspects. Needy is Cody’s take on the ‘final girl’ trope, switching things up with a female killer instead of a male, thus creating a final battle where the final girl isn’t a damsel in distress. AND FOR GOD’S SAKE, THE GIRLKISS SCENE ISN'T FOR SEX APPEAL EITHER! The purpose of that scene is to show that Needy is somewhat in love with Jennifer; Cody wanted to show that there’s an aspect of female friendship that’s so intimate that it’s almost romantic (which I very much agree with) and that is what she was capturing in that scene along with the cheerleading scene in the beginning.
EDIT: I was discussing this film on Reddit and got this response: “It was sensual, it was sexy, it was scandalous (the lesbian stuff). Although the plot was mediocre those 3 things are what made it a hit imo.” LITERALLY WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, HE PROVED MY POINT SMH.
Just like Carrie (1976) and Ginger Snaps (2000), this movie is an allegory for the female coming of age. It is also similar to Mean Girls (2004) in the underlying themes they carry. The only difference between these movies and Jennifer’s Body is that three of these films found their audiences, and one did not. Today, Jennifer’s Body is finally starting to receive the praise it deserves. The misinterpretation of this movie has nothing to do with the film itself, it all roots from misogynistic marketing. It’s really sad when you think about it. It’s actually a really funny, cool, brilliantly-written film when you separate it from its misconceived interpretation. This movie was made for the girls and the gays, but that doesn't mean other demographics can’t still enjoy it, too. If you don’t think this is a good movie, or never really had an opinion on it, I challenge you to rewatch and rethink from a different perspective.
The first time I watched this I was 14 and full of internalized misogyny and homophobia. I was closeted in a family of conservatives. I thought it was cool, but I still had those lost signals and misinterpretations stopping me from fully understanding and enjoying it. Now it’s one of my favorite movies.
I rest my case, lol.