Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'Crazy Heart'Must movies always portray female journalists as lame, tamed at the expense of their journalistic ethics? Sara Libby at doubleX asks because she's seen Crazy Heart, directed by Scott Cooper. Jeff Bridges won a Golden Globe for his performance as Bad Blake, a country singer redeemed (perhaps) by the love of a good woman. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Jean Craddock, a small-town journalist assigned to interview him. Libby describes the character as "the latest in a long series of silver-screen female reporters who can't help but fall for their subjects."

She lists a dispiriting number of examples, starting in the 1930s and continuing down to Sally Field in Absence of Malice, Nora Dunn in Three Kings, Kate Hudson in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Katie Holmes in Thank You For Smoking. Even Helen Mirren and Rachel McAdams were "marginalized and dependent" on Russell Crowe to save the day in State of Play. Libby notes Gyllenhaal's comment to The New York Times that her character in Crazy Heart was not making a rational choice, "at any level, at any point." Libby concludes: "That's precisely what makes it infuriating."

I had a similar reaction to the casual way that Gyllenhaal's character conducts herself without regard to her ethics. As Libby points out: "Injecting journalists into movies makes for a convenient plot device." Yet male journalists seem to get carte blanche to do whatever they want, while still getting the story and maintaining their professional reputation. Women are reduced to stereotypes -- or are they? How did you react to the actions of Gyllenhaal's character in Crazy Heart? What movies have portrayed female journalists in a positive light?

[ Via Kevin Roderick at LA Observed ]