“It Doesn’t Take Much to be Seen as an Unruly Woman”

Angelica Jade Bastién writes about Harley Quinn, Margot Robbie, Birds of Prey (2019) and “unruly women.” “Robbie has shirked the bombshell image by embracing the opposite: the unruly woman, a type exemplified by Harley Quinn, who has become one of the most popular characters in the DC Comics stable for her joyful chaos and meta commentary. In Birds of Prey, Robbie’s performance as Harley is a textured, uproarious celebration of female excess, wholly guided by tactile pleasures. Director Cathy Yan and writer Christina Hodson blessedly keep the film from falling into simplistic girl-power platitudes. But they are aware of the larger forces that deny women the ability to be angry and bold, threading larger considerations about gender and the politicized nature of desire into the film without ever losing sight of its aesthetic pleasures.”

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