Renee Bennett doesn't like the way she looks. It negatively affects her day-to-day life and tricks her into thinking she's less worthy of success, happiness and love.
Amy Schumer (playing Renee) has faced her fair share of opinions from left and right over the years. To many, she used to be too ugly to play a 'hot girl' and now, in the context of 'I Feel Pretty', has been slammed for being too attractive to play an 'ugly girl'.
You might think this way, until you actually see the film.
'I Feel Pretty' doesn't tell the story of a butt-ugly person waking up as a supermodel. Renee isn't unattractive and the costume and styling departments almost go out of their way to make sure the audience knows this. We aren't supposed to be convinced that she's an ugly-looking woman... She's not. The point of this film is that Renee herself is convinced of this.
Women and men across the world constantly deal with insecurity, regardless of how they appear on the outside. 'I Feel Pretty' aims to communicate – as cheesy as it sounds – that no matter how you present physically, it's how you feel on the inside that is most important.
Directors Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein communicate extremely effectively the difference between seeing yourself in a negative light and seeing yourself in a positive light. Although Renee looks exactly the same from the start until the end of the film, her self-assurance (inflicted by a horrific head injury at spin class) genuinely makes her look more attractive, which I think is the idea here: Confidence is sexy.
Before her wake-up call, there's a scene where we see Renee looking at herself in the mirror with a painfully upsetting look on her face. It's a relatable moment that sticks, and works well. It's also a stark difference to how she carries herself post-spin class accident.
She climbs the ranks of her beauty company job and secures boyfriend Ethan (Rory Scovel)... It's these things that really help Renee realise her self-worth regardless of how she feels about her appearance.
We see insecurity issues with the secondary characters in the film, too. Renee's boss Avery (the brilliant Michelle Williams) hates her voice and also wants to really succeed in her grandmother's eyes. Ethan thinks he's not masculine enough. These little side-plots help to take the spotlight off Renee, even for just a moment.
This is a great film. It's a feel-good 110 minutes that is hysterically funny (thanks, for the most part, to Amy Schumer's undeniable, en pointe comic timing), charming and heartfelt.
The moral of the story and the real take-home message is not to hit yourself around the head, but to see how much better life can feel when you learn to love the skin you're in. The world can be one big superficial ball of judgement; films like this with a simple yet effective foundation can unconsciously help us to break free from that.