In the new film, Trainwreck, Amy Townsend (Schumer) enjoys sex, but she doesn’t really want to get into a relationship with just anyone. As a child, her father (Glenn Quinn) made sure to enforce to his two daughters that monogamy wasn’t something that was realistic. Now many years in the future, Amy is casually dating Steven (John Cena), but takes pleasure out of various sexual encounters as no boundaries have been defined. While her sister, Kimberly (Brie Larson), has chosen a more traditional route with marriage and kids, Amy has chosen to become a magazine writer in New York City without attachments. Things get messy when the girls begin to go through their father’s personal effects after putting him in an assisted living facility, after he proves he can no longer handle his Multiple Sclerosis on his own. While Amy visits constantly, Kim is uncomfortable with their father for what she feels are abuses against their mother and often tries to encourage moving their father into a cheaper nursing home. After Steven and Amy’s casual relationship ends in a rather hilariously uncomfortable breakup, Amy is assigned a writing piece about a local sports surgeon, Aaron (Bill Hader). She begins to interview Aaron, and after a night of drinking the two end up in bed together. Amy forgets her first rule of “never spend the night.” The two begin to date after he helps stitch up her father when he falls out of bed at the nursing home. Things are going well, until at a baby shower people begin trying to push Amy and Aaron to another level. While Aaron is comfortable with it, Amy is most decidedly not. The road begins to get rocky after a family tragedy and the two briefly drift apart. Thankfully, no one in Amy or Aaron’s lives are going to let them get out of this relationship without a fight.
I needed the character of Amy Townsend in my life. Amy is sort of a mess, but she’s a self-reliant mess. She has an apartment, (for most of the film) a good paying job, and the ability to interact with others. Sure she smokes weed and drinks to excess, but we’ve seen this a million time with male characters in film and have gone on to love them. She takes what she wants, leaves what she doesn’t, and figures out what it takes to keep what she wants most in life.
In the baby shower scene, I felt a crazy kinship for Amy. As a young woman recently turned 30, I’ve been that girl on the couch listening to everyone tell me to hurry up and have kids because I have no time left. Pro Tip: don’t say that kind of stuff to a woman, EVER. We are all fighting a battle that comes born in because of the body parts our genomes manifested. Amy’s response, though incredibly crude, reminds us that we don’t need to put others on trial for not making the same choices we did. If you have kids, awesome for you. If you don’t, awesome for you. We can all make different choices and still be happy.
While Trainwreck most certainly becomes a Judd Apatow project, terrible tragedy brings family together and everyone ends up laughing, it starts with a flair that is all Amy. Schumer takes on a role we’ve seen men play a million times. I’ve been wracking my brain to figure out the female equivalent of womanizer, because slut isn’t it. Just as there is no male equivalent for “mistress,” we as a culture have been left to call women sluts when they are just as compromises as a male counterpart. I appreciated the film referencing Amy having a “bowlful of condoms” though sadly, they tended to avoid showing how important the use of them are. Still, it’s nice to see film makers actually try to encourage the importance of safe sex. Amy Schumer is crude, crass, foul-mouthed and overtly sexual; I love her for it. She has been called many things in Hollywood, but I’m really hoping folks realize the most important word for her is “talented.”
Bill Hader also has a role I’ve been dying to see a man play for ages. Hader’s character is loving, compassionate, and willing to work on a relationship. In one particularly telling scene, he expresses his frustrations to Schumer’s character. Amy begins to walk away, assuming Aaron is ending the relationship. Aaron stops her and explains that couples are supposed to voice their frustrations so they can come back stronger. Hader’s character also has a very close relationship with his good friend (Lebron James) without anyone calling it a “bromance” or trying to make either man look less masculine for sharing their feelings with each other. James even goes so far as to ask Amy her “intentions,” as he makes sure his friend is making a good choice.
Trainwreck is not the movie to see on a first date. It’s not a movie to take your parents to, and for the love of all that is good keep your kids at home. Trainwreck is that film that every girl who has been called a whore needs to see. It’s the film that successful women in their 30’s need to see. Trainwreck is also the film to see if you’re a man who wants to be in a relationship, or do have a close relationship with your friends.
Amy, thank you for that. I think we all needed it.