#Sending the Wrong Message in a Fun and Appealing Way: A Comment on the Movie Burlesque

I watched a movie “Burlesque” the other day. It is an old movie (from November 2010), but I only saw it the other day. I just have to comment even though it is not a new movie, because it made an impression on me and I am still thinking about it.

The movie received a Golden Globe in the category ‘Best Original Song – Motion Picture, and Golden Globe nominations in categories ‘Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical’ and ‘Best Original Song – Motion Picture’, as well as other awards and nominations (see here). However, the movie has also been criticized for a bad performance and plot by movie critiques (e.g. in the Guardian, as well as others).

But, what bothers me about this movie is not the performance because I do not think we should expect too much from a musical, i.e. it is what it is and if you want to relax with a movie, this movie is a good option because it is most certainly a movie that will not stress anyone out even if Alice/Ali (Christina Aguilera) cannot get to the stage straight away, or if Tess (Cher) is struggling to save her club at the Sunset Boulevard in L.A. from being taken over by a businessman who wants to build a business empire in that particular place.

What bothers me is the message the movie sends to young girls who want to move to L.A. and succeed in any form of entertainment. Even though burlesque club in L.A. might not be a dream coming true to some girls who dream about Hollywood, for Ali in this movie, it appeared to be her dream coming true. Ali worked as a waitress in Iowa, and one day she quit her job to go to look for a career as a singer and a dancer in L.A. As soon as she arrived, she run into club owned by Tess and fell in love with this form of entertainment, and decided that is what she wants to do. Her path towards achieving the career in the club was incredibly easy because a bartender Jack (Cam Gigandet) helped her by telling her to go to talk to Tess. When she failed in persuading Tess to give her a chance to go on the stage, she started to do the waiting in a club without asking anyone for permission. True, the club was in chaos with guests complaining about the service, but does it really work that way in a real life? In other words, would a real-life Jack just help a naïve girl from Iowa like that, and would a real-life Ali be able to start waiting and get a position just like that? Very soon, when they had the first audition, she managed to persuade impatient Tess to give her a chance and when she started to perform in the burlesque show, her career skyrocketed with people coming to see especially her. That easy? When her home gets robbed and she looses everything, she comes to Jack and stays with him without him ever taking advantage of her and they fell in love eventually.

I don’t know. Perhaps it is not the position of movie directors to pay attention to what young girls will think after they watch a certain movie, and perhaps it is up to each person to decide whether it is feasible to succeed in the entertainment industry in the U.S. I am, by no means, saying that young girls should not be encouraged to follow their dreams and move to that same L.A. in an attempt to succeed in the entertainment industry, or that a desire to join the entertainment industry is a bad idea. However, I still feel that this movie should have shown a bit more struggling before Ali succeeds. At the end of the day, many girls go to L.A. to succeed and work for years as waitresses before they manage to accomplish anything, and many never succeed. Nevertheless, if a young girl fails in hear dreams in a burlesque the similar industries below are darker and more sinister environments to end up in, which also happens. Movies such as this one give a wrong impression and can potentially have a wrong impact on young girls who will do the same what Ali in the movie did, just with much worse consequences and with no happy end.

Thank you for reading.

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