Defending Rachel Dawes

In his review of The Dark Knight, Washington Post writer (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Stephen Hunter has this to say about Maggie Gyllenhaal’s performance:

Gyllenhaal is perhaps too ironic for the Batman world. With those perpetually knowing eyes, she doesn’t really fit. She has too many dimensions, is too real-worldy — her Rachel Dawes seems like the kind of girl who got straight A’s but also had the lead in the musical, went to Radcliffe and ended up in New York, doing something “interesting.” Holmes, much more limited and perhaps a bit more beautiful, was better cast.

Now, call me a feminist crazy, but I want to know where the rule is that says the female love interest to the superhero has to be one-dimensional and “limited.” Particularly when the superhero in question is the Nolan/Bale Batman, a dude who is nothing if not complex. If he doesn’t have “too many dimensions” to exist in Gotham City, why is it that Gyllenhaal’s Rachel does?

(And the quotes around “interesting” belie just a wee bit of passive aggression.)


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