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Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken


By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 4 months ago 4 min read

The minute I saw the trailer for this movie I knew that I wanted to see it. It seemed cute and I firmly believe that coming of age stories for young women are few and far between and I was eager to see another one. I know that this film didn’t get much attention at the box office but I don’t think that had anything to do with actual film quality at all.

Right off the bat I love how delightfully awkward Ruby is. This really feels like someone who was written by teenagers. So many of these teenage movies are written by grown men who forgot what teenagers are like and have definitely never talked to one. But the mannerisms and speech of Ruby and her friends feel so authentic to being a teenager.

Also I am really a sucker for puberty metaphors. I think a lot of adults forget how truly difficult that time in your life is. You're all swirling hormones and you don't know anything. All this stress is compiled. You have no idea who you are or what you want to do, or what you want to be. Everything is so difficult and people over 30 tend to forget that. So I really think things like this and superhero stories that are really clear with powers = puberty are important for not only those actively going through it, but also for those who forget what growing up feels like.

Ruby is a teenage girl who already feels different and then has all this responsibility thrust upon her. We also seem to have another story about some generational trauma. With Ruby’s mom and her grandma not talking to each other. Ruby’s mom feeling the need to run away from her family. Ruby finally meeting her grandmother and coming to terms with who she is. All give us another story about generations healing.

The other reason I think this movie was necessary is because there are a lot of coming of age movies…for boys. For some reason the industry just assumes that men and women are the same, and as such treat boys and girls the same when that is simply not the case. A coming of age story for boys shouldn’t at all be the same as a coming of age story for girls. We absolutely do not experience puberty and adolescence the same way and we deserve our own stories. Watching Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, and Ruby Gillman Teenage Kraken made me feel seen and understood in a way no coming of age movie has been able to do. And I think we need to remember how large of a market women and teenage girls are. We will make stories about us successful.

The movie feels like it takes some inspiration from The Little Mermaid 2 in the sense that we actually let the teenager be as dumb as teenagers are. Almost all teenagers have a certain relationship that they shouldn't have trusted and it's nice to see that realism reflected.

And then we have the absolutely amazing twist where mermaids are the bad guys. I think it really hammers home the metaphor that things are not always what you expect.

Overall I think it was a great film. All of the elements that were necessary were there and they were executed well. We got a great coming of age story with wonderful character development for each of our major female characters. And a really well written generational trauma storyline. I really think the fatal flaw of this film was the fact that it was not marketed very well. I think we maybe saw two trailers for it before it came out and living in the heart of LA seeing no billboards or posters is not good. Barbie was really the first female led film we’ve seen that had decent marketing. Every other female led film in the last decade has had horrendous marketing. It's completely by design so that when it fails executives can tell us that audiences just won’t see women fronted films. Even though Wonder Woman, Barbie, Sex and the City all proved that was a lie.

reviewpop culturemovieentertainment

About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

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