Occasionally superficial yet generally engaging, This Changes Everything details the history of women in Hollywood and the degree to which their contributions to the form have been stifled and suppressed over the years – as filmmaker Tom Donahue has packed the movie’s somewhat overlong running time with a host of intriguing, infuriating tidbits (eg 90% of 2017’s top-grossing movies were written by men). It’s interesting stuff that’s heightened by the participation of various well-known (and not-so-well-known) talking heads, as Donahue solicits compelling stories from such figures as Tiffany Haddish, Natalie Portman, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Meryl Streep. (The latter tells a fairly astonishing tale of working alongside Dustin Hoffman and Robert Benton on 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer.) The movie is likewise peppered with a whole host of factoids and bits of trivia (eg an interest in archery among girls shot up 105% after the release of The Hunger Games), although Donahue offers a small handful of misguided, misleading statistics (eg the movie notes that there are far more male critics on Rotten Tomatoes than female without explaining that there are simply more male critics period) – with the increasingly erratic vibe compounded by a repetitive midsection that delves a little too deeply into the nitty-gritty of certain issues. Still, This Changes Everything mostly manages to overcome its various deficiencies to become an informative (and crowd-pleasing) documentary (albeit one that occasionally feels like a promo piece for Geena Davis’ gender studies nonprofit).
*** out of ****