On June 30, Variety's new chief film critic Owen Gleiberman wrote a piece about how Renée Zellweger looks in her upcoming movie, Bridget Jones' Baby. Not about the movie, mind you—just about the trailer. In his piece, titled "Does Renee Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become A Different Actress?" (short answer: no. Long answer: also no), Gleiberman writes about how while he's totally fine with actresses changing their looks in general (how gracious of him), he's not okay with the beloved character of Bridget Jones looking different. Not different as in another actress altogether, just different as in, the actress who's always played her may or may not have had some plastic surgery on her eyelids a few years ago.
Then he wrote 1400 words about how, actually, he's not really okay with an actress changing her looks, with the exception of those who do it only to make themselves look younger, and in that case, they better get a wonderful surgeon so no one can tell. If that's you, you get a pass. Everyone else, line up because Old Man Gleiberman has a few words for you.
Surprisingly, women everywhere were a little "what the—?" about the whole thing. The Hollywood Reporter ran a piece written by actress Rose McGowan to Gleiberman, in which she points out that his article makes him look like a tool. You can read the piece in full on THR website, but here's an excerpt:
Renee Zellweger is a human being, with feelings, with a life, with love and with triumphs and struggles, just like the rest of us. How dare you use her as a punching bag in your mistaken attempt to make a mark at your new job. How dare you bully a woman who has done nothing but try to entertain people like you. Her crime, according to you, is growing older in a way you don’t approve of. Who are you to approve of anything? What you are doing is vile, damaging, stupid and cruel. It also reeks of status quo white-male privilege. So assured are you in your place in the firmament that is Hollywood, you felt it was OK to do this. And your editors at Variety felt this was more than OK to run.
You are an active endorser of what is tantamount to harassment and abuse of actresses and women. I speak as someone who was abused by Hollywood and by people like you in the media, but I’m a different breed, one they didn't count on. I refuse and reject this bullshit on behalf of those who feel they can't speak. I am someone who was forced by a studio to go on Howard Stern, where he asked me to show him my labia while my grinning male and female publicists stood to the side and did nothing to protect me. I am someone who has withstood death threats from fan boys, had fat sites devoted to me. I've withstood harassment on a level you can’t comprehend, Owen.
Let’s talk about Hollywood writers: Joan Didion, John Fante, Raymond Chandler, Robert Towne, Dorothy Parker, John Gregory Dunne, Preston Sturges, I.A.L. Diamond, Pauline Kael and Billy Wilder. These were writers on Hollywood.
You, Owen Gleiberman, are not they.
You are simply a bully on semiglossy paper.
She also took his argument (or whatever it was) about Zellweger, and therefore Bridget Jones, looking different, and applied it to male actors.
RYAN GOSLING had won the lottery, had been plucked from semi-obscurity by the movie gods (or, actually, by the daring of Cameron Crowe), but not because it was so unusual to see a non-famous actor starring in a major movie.
JOHNNY DEPP was no flash in the pan, but after 'Edward Scissorhands,' he struggled to find roles that could complete him. It wasn’t until 'Pirates of the Carribean,' five years later, that he hit his stride by finding a role that jelled with his image as an extraordinary ordinary guy.
Gleiberman hasn't commented on his original "review" or on McGowan's response, and he might not ever. But hopefully the response his piece is getting will convince him to stick to reviewing movies and not women's faces.