A Week After Wonder Women We Get The Mummy and My Cousin Rachel?

The Mummy & My Cousin Rachel Movie Posters


All week I’ve been quietly stewing at the number of commercials for The Mummy & My Cousin Rachel.   Seriously, the weekend after this Wonder Woman fabulousness the above are the movies slated?  Even though these movies are vastly different, as you can see from those posters the campaigns have some dismal things in common.  Honestly, couldn’t we have more than just a week of basking in the joy of Wonder Woman?  (You can read my review of the movie here.) Nope! Hollywood’s sexist character clichés are back in full force!

The first poster is one for the Tom Cruise horror/adventure remake of the 1932 & 1999 films called The Mummy.  Its big twist is that the “ultimate evil” mummy is a woman.  It currently sits at 17 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.  In  contrast, My Cousin Rachel is a well-reviewed period-piece with a seductive woman who may or may not be a murderer.  Let’s start with the latter.

My Cousin Rachel

Of the two films, My Cousin Rachel is the far better choice – but you wouldn’t know it from the commercial! I swear, it feels like this has been playing at least once an hour in prime time all week!  (That may be because I’m in New York and it’s in limited release.)


This ad was so annoying! Last week Wonder Woman, this week a movie about a “notorious” woman, a seductress and gold-digger who causes men pain and suffering. Ugh!

Did Wonder Woman get this kind of endless play on TV? Not exactly.  One could argue that the advertising dollars were spent in other ways – like those female-only screenings that caused such a fuss. However, for the average movie goer, the TV ad roll-out was slow and somewhat sparse.

The thing is, unlike The Mummy – which I’ll get to shortly – there’s more to My Cousin Rachel than meets the eye.  In keeping with the campaign however, the synopsis is little help in suggesting that.

A dark romance, MY COUSIN RACHEL tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

It’s not until going over reviews and the film’s history (it’s a remake of a 1952 film by the same name) that My Cousin Rachel becomes less about the typical female femme fatale/black widow type.  The insanity of men is also looked at. Also, Rachel is done as the kind of character that is hard to pin down as good or evil.   It’s the kind of moral ambiguity women aren’t often given to play and that actors love.

Actress Rachel Weisz has been getting high praise for her work in My Cousin Rachel.  In fact some reviewers suggest she’s what makes the film work.  The Fox Searchlight commercials should have focused more on her in zinger scenes like the one reviewer April Wolfe from LA Weekly points out.  In it Rachel asks Philip Ashley (Sam Claflin) if he thinks it’s a woman’s “destiny to suffer” in childbirth.  If they had included that bit in the trailer the story being sold wouldn’t come off as being a sexist cliché.  Apparently the actual film isn’t – it’s just in the advertising.

The Mummy

This is the film that is truly the worst thing to have come out this weekend. The Mummy actually does come off as a long sexist rant. On-screen a woman a being portrayed as a physically powerful force for good is rare.  A woman as a physically powerful force of evil though? That’s far more common. Heck, how many fairy tales feature an evil witch?  Cue: The Mummy 2017.

First of all, we’ve got the female mummy ( played by Sofia Boutella).  She’s described as “the ultimate evil.”  What’s even more annoying about The Mummy is the way they changed the story to make her that way.

In the first two Mummy films the man who became the mummy was buried alive for trying to resurrect is his dead princess.   Basically he becomes a supernatural stalker trying to find his reincarnated love. Granted it’s to kill her. (His idea is that he can then bring her back to life and marry her. Go figure.)

The 2017 story for the female mummy? SPOILER ALERT – mild spoiler for the mummy’s origin. She was mad when her Pharaoh father remarried and had a son – which meant she wouldn’t be queen.

Furious that she wouldn’t be Queen, she vowed revenge, killing all three and making a pact with the bad-news Egyptian god Set. But before she could sacrifice a lover, who was to become the god’s human embodiment, she was captured and “mummified alive.”  (The Hollywood Reporter)


A Week After Wonder Women We Get The Mummy and My Cousin Rachel?

Meanwhile, the other featured woman in this mess is Annabelle Wallis as Jenny. Film reviewer Glenn Kenny from rogerebert.com describes her as the “faux-archeologist/genuine anti-evil secret agent (…) who’s mainly around to be rescued by Nick.”  Kenny rightfully calls the entire setup, “very old school sexism.”

The Wrap Up

In some ways the awful ads for The Mummy & My Cousin Rachel pushed me to look into them.  I may eventually check out My Cousin Rachel.  Of course, I’m a blogger who loves this sort of stuff.  If you saw these ads did they make you want to see them, or did they bother you as much as me?

The other consolation I got for looking into these films after the bumped up advertising is this bit of news.  In the US it looks like The Mummy is expected to be absolutely trounced by the Lady with the golden lasso (Variety).  That makes me feel a bit better about the movie-going public. In fact, maybe I’ll go see Wonder Woman again to help with the trouncing!

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