The Soapbox: Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises reminds us sex still sells

By Gabriella Swerling

MM’s writers get the chance to air their views in our new regular rant column. Comment is free on the soapbox – MM has no control over what topics our writers choose to as targets…

Okay, no one is talking about it.

People of England, remember how irritated you were by Anne Hathaway’s terrible attempt to imitate a Yorkshire accent whilst playing Emma Morley in 2011’s epic romance film, One Day? Remember her schizophrenic, oral journey through England as ‘bath’ could become ‘barrrth in the space of once scene?

Hathaway was criticised for being cast as the plain, dumpy and relatable Emma Morely because she was too American and too pretty. And yet, despite her attempts to prove herself as ugly and English and her extensive research of Yorkshire life by watching Emmerdale and the best vocal training money can buy, she was terrible.

Judging by the backlash of stern British distaste at her performance, director Lone Scherfig probably should have gone with a home-girl instead. Such a performance as Hathaway’s, could tar the career of an A-list Hollwood star.

Let us not forget how it is notoriously difficult it is (and hilarious it is for us) for our friends across the pond to master the British accent – think Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins, Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe in the Robin Hood films and of course, Mike Myers as Austen Powers and Fat Bastard and the stick they all got.

Well, Hathaway’s uttering of such sentences as: ‘you gate-crashed my birthday party, called me Julie and spilled red wine down my top’ in a slurry Northern drawl that Mel B would be proud of, are long forgotten. Because she looks hot in a catsuit.

Somehow, we seem to be shocked at the current hype surrounding EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, as if we momentarily forgot the age-old wisdom that sex most certainly does sell.

In her defence, Hathaway cannot play the twee, girl-next-door forever. It is definitely about time she broke away from those roles before they define her career. Just imagine if Hugh Grant even thought about playing an action-hero.

No, he must remain forever more on our screens as that bumbling English man who sells books and who constantly falls in love.

In The Dark Knight Rises, Hathaway plays a more mature version of Catwoman’s alter-ego, as the uber feminist, femme-fatale and con-artist, Selina Kyle. Not only is she the first female villain in Nolan’s Batman trilogy, she is a real-life sex-kitten-come-cat-burglar.

Clad in a fitted leather catsuit, so tight that Olivia Newton John would be proud, Selina Kyle wraps the male characters around her little paw to climb the social ladder. She holds a delicate balance between self-preservation and combating social inequality as a modern day Robin Hood.

She purrs into Christian Bale’s ear kick-ass lines such as: ‘you’re going to wonder how you lived so large for so long and didn’t leave enough for the rest of us.’

So Anne Hathaway has made a concerted effort to ‘go sexy’, as she performs – with the help of her stunt double – mixed martial arts in a pair of killer heels. Her sultry performance as Catwoman has completely negated her embarrassing portrayal of Emma Morley.

She is now charming and elegant and demure and talented and sexy. She can now tick that off her list as she sheds her nice girl image on and off-screen in her new role.

Remember Anne Hathaway in One Day? Thought not.

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