Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Pad Man, or: Bloody Men

As a Blog Collab that relies heavily on 90-minute B films, Bollywood Month has been a struggle. But guess what: we made it despite most of our picks this month clocking in at 2+ hours. For our final pick this month, we have the added bonus of a feminist theme that discusses menstruation repeatedly without making it a joke(!).

The Film:

Pad Man

The Premise:

Based on a true story, a man concerned for his wife in a rural village makes it his mission to produce cheaply made sanitary pads for women.

The Ramble:

Lakshmi and Gayatri enter into an arranged marriage, which quickly develops into romantic love. The unconventional Lakshmi may never be wealthy, but he is a devoted husband determined to care for his wife. For better or worse, he seems to take this duty a bit too far for Gayatri’s tastes and decides to do something about her reproductive health.

A woman perches at the front of a bicycle, pedaled by a man behind her.

In the village the couple calls home (and in many rural parts of India), women who are menstruating are consigned to a screened-in part of the house so they will avoid making the rest of the residence impure. Women may lose two months of their lives every year, not to mention putting their lives at risk by using the same rag repeatedly to absorb menstrual blood.

Simple solution? Pads. Major complication? A single pack of pads is a luxury item, costing as much as 55 rupees. Lakshmi presents Gayatri with possibly the most romantic gift possible, a pack of sanitary pads; however, Gayatri is deeply ashamed that he has spent so much money, not to mention that he seems utterly fixated on her menstrual cycle. But Lakshmi’s gift does come in handy when someone is injured at work–instead of soiled rag, clean cotton fibers to the rescue!

A woman in a sari opens a gift, smiling.

Rejuvenated from the idea he’s on the right track re: pads, Lakshmi decides the best way to get his wife to use them is to make a low-cost alternative. Scraping together a small amount of cotton and muslin, he folds a pad of his own creation. Though Gayatri uses the pads, they are not absorbent enough, and a night of scrubbing blood from her sari puts her off for good.

After failing to recruit patients, medical students, and his own niece, Lakshmi is out of ideas for customers. Finally, Lakshmi decides to test the product himself with the help of the local butcher. Confident to a fault, he conducts the test while wearing light-colored pants with disastrous results. Jumping into the river to clean off the blood, he has made the water impure and is considered a pervert by many in the community.

A man sits by a river, examining a piece of cotton shaped into a sanitary pad.

Before Lakshmi can bring any more shame to the family, Gayatri’s brothers take her away to live with them. With nothing left to lose, Lakshmi pursues his dream full-time, working for a college professor and hoping to receive answers in exchange. Though the professor is pretty useless and discouraging AF, Lakshmi does learn about a supposedly low-cost machine that makes pads for women in low-income areas. The device costs millions of dollars, but Lakshmi is undeterred: he will simply build his own.

Feeling confident with his invention after much trial and error, Lakshmi still encounters the same problem that has plagued him constantly: women are much too ashamed about their periods to talk to a strange man about sanitary pads.

Luckily, a performer in town for a music festival is in need of a pad long after all of the drug stores have closed for the night. Lakshmi, sensing an opportunity, gives her one of his homemade pads to try. When he tracks her down for feedback, musician Pari is confused yet replies honestly: the pad was fine.

As it turns out, Pari is working on an MBA and is a perfect ally for Lakshmi. She encourages him to enter an innovation competition, where he wins the president’s award. Once he receives recognition, it doesn’t take long for Lakshmi’s invention to take off as he hires women to make and sell pads.

A man demonstrates a newly made sanitary pad to a group of well-dressed people in suits.

Developing feelings for Lakshmi and hoping for his success, Pari encourages him to patent his invention so he can make money from his idea. Lakshmi is so not on board for this as the machine’s purpose is to make a difference in the lives of women, who need only pay 2 rupees per pad. Besides this, he has yet to make an impact on the life of his own wife; can Lakshmi live with himself knowing he’s helped many women, but not the one he set out to help?

The Rating:

4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I truly enjoyed this film, and I’m not even mad about the underwhelming song and dance numbers. The lyrics to the song “Pad Man” are everything–and I sincerely hope the real-life Pad Man feels the song is the icing on the cake in consideration of all of his accomplishments. This film is an unapologetically feel-good piece telling the story of a real-life hero, and I’m so on board for that.

My biggest complaint is the love triangle, which is just completely unnecessary. I really enjoyed the relationship between Lakshmi and Pari but did it HAVE to be romantic? It all felt gross to me considering Lakshmi is married the whole time and still seems devoted to his wife.

Also it takes Lakshmi a RIDICULOUSLY long time to realize he should have women talking to other women about periods instead of him. Bloody men, eh?

Would my darling blog wife give this one the president’s award of her heart or toss it out like a soiled sanitary pad? Find out in her review here!

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Collaborative Blogging, Film Reviews

Ginger Snaps: Great (Voluptuous) Minds Think Alike

Prepare yourself for this blog’s first official collaborative film review experience.

I have teamed up with the fabulous Christa of A Voluptuous Mind for a virtual movie date/critique of Ginger Snaps. Be afraid, blogging community—I have a co-conspirator. Double the posts, double the snark (or, more accurately, snark squared).

Check out her post here. Here goes mine:

The Film:

Ginger Snaps

Where to Watch:

Hulu; Youtube; UK Netflix, apparently

The Premise:

Two sisters who have vowed to die by age 16 must change their plans when one is attacked by a werewolf.

The Trailer:

The Uncondensed Version:

Someone or something has been terrorizing the small Canadian suburb where sisters Brigitte and Ginger (B+G) live. As our film opens, the neighbor is screaming that the creature has killed her dog…and basically no one cares.

B+G continue to go about their normal activities: staging their own deaths in dramatic photos, reminding each other of their pact to kill themselves before they reach 16, and rocking the ‘90s Goth look.

The sisters share their project with the class, and everyone is pretty into it except, of course, for the teacher (played by Ranger Gord from The Red Green Show [after all, this is a Canadian production]).

a teenage girl holds a bone-shaped ben in class, staring ahead with a frustrated and bored expression
I love that Brigitte has a bone pen. And excellent bored teen facial expressions.

As we get a glimpse of B+G’s high school existence, it becomes obvious Ginger is the hot sister who won’t put up with your bullshit (especially not from the douchey jock who keeps hitting on her), while Brigitte is the quiet nerd who tries to be as inconspicuous as possible. Trina, the cheerleader who takes pleasure in torturing Brigitte, pushes her into the corpse of another dead dog that’s lying in the field. Brigitte pukes, and Ginger starts attacking Trina, threatening to kill her. As part of a really creepy revenge plot, B+G decide to kill Trina’s dog.

That evening, Ginger makes the mistake of complaining about her aching back during dinner. Her mom enthusiastically tells her she’s getting her period, which dismays both B+G. When they sneak away that night to carry out their revenge plot, they encounter…A WEREWOLF (please at least pretend to be surprised). The wolf attacks Ginger and drags her away. (Women, fucked over by their periods yet again.) Brigitte runs after Ginger and helps her escape, but Ginger has already been mauled pretty severely. The werewolf runs after them, but is hit by a van. Coincidentally, the driver, Sam, is the guy who hooks all the high school kids up with drugs and has a thing for Brigitte (I have no idea how old he’s supposed to be b/c he looks MAYBE a year or two older, but Ginger later calls him out for being a creep).

When B+G make it home, Ginger’s wounds are already healing, so she manages to convince Brigitte not to call 911. Ginger now has to suffer through the agony of her first period while simultaneously transforming into a werewolf. When B+G try to explain her symptoms to the school nurse, she just says it’s a normal period and gives them condoms (remember—this is Canada).

The creepy jock guy tells Ginger getting high will take the edge off, so she lights up with him and some other dudes in Sam’s van. This leads to a major falling out between the formerly inseparable sisters (sounding a little familiar, eh, Disney? Ginger suddenly sprouts white streaks in her hair as well. WHAT).

The rift between B+G means Ginger gives into her sudden uncontrollable sexual appetite and hooks up with that jock asshole, while Brigitte reads up on lycanthropy (seriously, I think performing dramatic secret research is a requirement for all werewolf movies). Sam continues to be really into Brigitte, but when your sister is turning into a werewolf, you don’t have time for that shit.

two teenage girls face each other with tense stares
“No, I don’t want to build a fucking snowman.”

Ginger finally turns to Brigitte for help when she starts growing a tail and tries to eat the creepy jock. Brigitte tells her to say the same thing about him if he starts spreading rumors about her, but Ginger tells her it doesn’t work like that (TRUTH). It’s really hard not to take Ginger’s side in all of this; she’s such a fucking badass. In an effort to control her transformation, Brigitte pierces Ginger’s bellybutton with a silver ring in a scene that is the most disgusting in the entire movie (if you’re me, anyway).

Sam shows up at the high school because he’s trying to help Brigitte (who told him she was the one who was attacked), but she blows him off when Ginger gets jealous (God help the mister who comes between me and my sister).

That night, Trina comes to B+G’s house and demands they give her dog back. Ginger attacks her, and Trina dies when she hits her head on a kitchen counter. They hide the body in the freezer.

Ginger realizes that her sexual urges are actually urges to kill (a problem we can all relate to), and she only feels better when she’s ripping someone’s face apart. Brigitte tells her there’s an herbal remedy they can try and locks Ginger in the bathroom while she enlists Sam’s help.

I don’t know if the drug-making scene is supposed to be sexy or what, but it kind of is. Just so we’re clear, kiddies, I don’t condone drug use except when it can cure lycanthropy.

a teen girl looks on as a teen boy melts a substance over a candle
I think it’s the ’90s hair and mood lighting that does it for me.

Meanwhile, Ginger escapes and flashes some dudes at school; Ranger Gord sees this and instructs her to come to his office. She kills him and then kills the janitor.

It becomes apparent that Ginger passed on the werewolf disease to the jock, whose, ahem, red pen exploded in his pants (yeah, he’s totally peeing blood).  Brigitte goes to school to find Ginger and encounters the infected jock guy, who attacks her. She injects him with the antidote, and he is cured. Problem solved, yay! Except now she’s out of the antidote, boo.

When Brigitte finds Ginger, they have (another) major falling out. Ginger decides to seduce/kill Sam (most likely both). She breaks his arm, but Brigitte shows up to stop her. To prove that Ginger is still her top priority, Brigitte cuts their hands and they make a blood pact. As they leave, Sam hits Ginger with a shovel because he didn’t realize Brigitte was luring Ginger back to the house for more of the antidote (men, ruining everything since always).

Brigitte and Sam manage to get Ginger into the back of the van, but when they arrive at the house, she is awake and even more werewolf-y than ever. She escapes into the house, while Brigitte and Sam make more of the antidote. It basically looks like they’re cooking up meth, I think. I still haven’t watched any of Breaking Bad, so I don’t really know. Best guess.

Sam tells Brigitte he’ll give the antidote to Ginger, but she attacks him immediately and drags him to the basement. As she follows Ginger, Brigitte drops the syringe down the basement stairs. Fuck.

a werewolf with shiny, plastic-y skin snarls
For whatever reason, Ginger in full werewolf form kind of reminds me of ET?

Ginger, having completed her transformation is there, standing over dying Sam. She starts eating his flesh, and Brigitte tries to join in as a show of solidarity. However, Brigitte can’t handle how disgusting all of this is and throws up. In response, Ginger kills Sam. Brigitte tells Ginger she won’t die with her, and Ginger attacks. Brigitte stabs her, then hugs werewolf Ginger’s body as she dies.

THE END.

The Critique:

God, I love werewolf movies. I will NEVER stop watching/reviewing them. I also have a soft spot for teen movies, esp. those dripping with sarcasm and laden with dramatic eye-rolls. I just can’t get over how perfect the werewolf/menstruation metaphor is.

I believe I watched this movie in high school and liked it but was traumatized that both Ginger and Sam died (still am). At least Ginger is back in the sequels, which I really need to watch. Honestly, this film doesn’t need to be almost two hours long, but it’s so darkly funny that I forgive it.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther 4/5 Pink Panther Heads

I love this movie, but I’m really reluctant to give anything a 5.

This blog collab has been so much fun already.

I look forward to our next virtual date!