Yentl in 400 Words or Less
I knew I was on to something when not one but two friends confessed:
“My mom dragged me to see Yentl when I was a kid.”
Funny, I thought you just said your mom dragged you to see Yentl when you were a kid.
I was 7.
We lived in Small Town USA. The only Jewish figures in our lives were Jesus and Bugs Bunny. And yet there we were amid a mass pilgrimage to see Yentl.
Yentl was Barbra Streisand’s 1983 movie about a turn-of-the-century Polish woman who disguises herself as a man in order to become a Jewish scholar.
Did I mention it’s a musical?
“Papa, can you hear me?”
I have to assume these prevalent mother-daughter Yentl outings had everything to do with the fact that it still sucked to be a woman in 1983.
Oh, wait. Does it still suck? Nah. It’s like a walk in the park now.
A park in Completebullshitland.
So, next to dressing in drag and running away to become a Jewish scholar, a 1983-woman’s best chance at fulfillment was to see a movie where a woman dresses in drag and runs away to become a Jewish scholar.
This meant repressed housewives everywhere (who’d have to wait years for Yentl on video — or for Oprah and the Lifetime channel) were forcing daughters to accompany them.
“Papa, can you save me?”
This didn’t bode well for us. We, as children, had to sit through the most uncomfortable gender-bending moments ever to appear in cinema.
Burdensome female anatomy. Awkward love scenes. “Gotcha” nudity.
Less Some Like it Hot. More The Crying Game. And set to music.
Thank god I wasn’t simultaneously wrestling with puberty at the time.
I got back at my mom, by the way. A few weeks later I insisted she take me to Two of a Kind.
Less Grease 2. More Gigli. And set to slapstick.
The box office flop starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John pretty much guaranteed that those two actors would never work together again. Or work again, period. At least for another decade.
And it pretty much guaranteed our mother-daughter movie outings would never occur again either. At least for another decade.