[Content Note: GHOSTBUSTERS SPOILERS! Don't say I didn't warn you!]

screen cap of Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters, licking her ghostbustin' weapon
If I had to represent my review of Ghostbusters with a single image, this would be it.

I just want to warn you one last time: THERE ARE SPOILERS GALORE IN THIS POST.

So, I went to see Ghostbusters this weekend, written by Paul Feig and Katie Dippold; directed by Paul Feig; starring Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig; and hated from its very conception by sad misogynist fanboys everywhere.


I have an abundance of enthusiasm! And it cannot be contained!

Now y'all know I have been excited about this movie since it was first announced, and I expected that I would really enjoy it, but even my almost impossibly high expectations were exceeded. For realz.

The story is great. The cameos are brilliant. The special effects are terrific—and that's really saying something, because I usually think ghost CGI is garbage. It's for sure got the best ghost special effects I've seen. The acting is phenomenal. Etc etc etc I loved it all!

Before I continue my shameless and unlimited gushing, let me quickly address the issue of Leslie Jones' character. As you may recall, there was criticism after the first trailer was released that the only Black woman in the cast was also the only non-scientist. Paul Feig responded well to these criticisms, firstly by treating them seriously, and then by saying plainly, although the part was originally written for Melissa McCarthy, and then recast after he felt like Patty was a character McCarthy had played before, "I felt bad that people have locked in on the fact that she's the only one who wasn't a scientist. I'm embarrassed to say that that never crossed my mind."

You know my rule: It's not reasonable to expect people to never fuck up. It's how we deal with it when we do that counts. (And whether we don't make the same mistakes again.) I thought Feig handled the criticism well, especially because he made it clear that he didn't want the heat directed at Leslie Jones.

That said, the criticism was based on the trailer alone. So how did Patty fare in the movie? Well, she was TERRIFIC! Despite not being a scientist, she was just as integral as the other characters. Without Patty, they wouldn't have transportation, nor would they have their suits, both of which were things they really needed. She kicked ass just as hard fighting the ghosts, provided the group with key municipal info, and—crucially—suggested the final boss plan that ultimately saves the day.

So, listen, I'm not saying there's only one right way to view the character of Patty. (Or any of the characters! Or the movie!) But Leslie Jones is fucking great in it, and, if I'm perfectly honest, as someone who barely managed to eke out a bachelor's and is often the person with the least formal education in any group of friends or colleagues, was a character who strongly resonated with me.

That doesn't mean I don't think concerns about the only Black character being the one who isn't a scientist are unwarranted. But Patty, like all the other Ghostbusters, is a well-rounded and integral character. And I loved her A LOT.

I loved all of them. I loved that I was not only watching a movie with four female leads, but that among those leads was a Black woman, a fat woman, and a lesbian woman. Four women who were smart. Four women who were tough. Four women who loved each other and their work hard. Four women who KICKED ASS!

I saw it with a full house, a very diverse crowd, in Baltimore, and the audience adored it. We all laughed and laughed, and burst into spontaneous applause several times.

I just had so much damn fun watching it, and I kept thinking how much I would have given for a film like that when I was a little girl. Ghostbusters is, truly, going to inspire girls to become scientists. And it's going to communicate to them, in a way precious few films of my youth did, that women don't have to be tokens. That we don't have to compete for men. That we can be colleagues and friends.

I also kept thinking about everything Paul Feig and the cast had to navigate during the making of the film, how much fucking stupid and intense hatred was directed at them, and marveling at how they came out the other side of it with this fun, beautiful, thrilling, and loving piece of work, for which I am grateful beyond words.

That is some real magic, right there. All that hatred, all that moaning about ruined childhoods, all the fuckery still going on with downvoting the trailer and giving the film shitty reviews. And emerging straight through its center a film that will bring so many people incandescent joy.

There is, for the grown-up girls among us who have seen the shit flung in its direction, some delightful shade thrown at the pouty fanboys, from a perfect commentary on internet comments to the fact that the big bad is, basically, an angry nerd.

In a particularly amazing moment in the film, the big bad gives an angry nerd speech, during which he demands to know if the Ghostbusters can even imagine what it feels like to be picked on and oppressed every day. With a flawless delivery, full of so much contained emotion, Abby (McCarthy) replies yeah—they can imagine what that feels like.

The media dubs them the "ghost girls," which has layers of meaning. The Ghostbusters are annoyed that they are referred to with such a demeaning moniker, and, beneath the evident diminishment, "ghost girls" is a commentary on how they are asked not to take credit for their work, to keep doing it without recognition, because fates forfend that the work done by women fighting sinister forces be visible and scare the hoi polloi.

Keep fighting phantoms that we will keep pretending don't exist. If that isn't the perfect metaphor for feminist activism, I don't know what could be.

In a poignant moment, Erin (Wiig) decides she doesn't mind being a "ghost girl." She reclaims it. She's gonna own it. And why shouldn't she. It is honorable to be a ghost girl, fighting real specters that more cowardly people won't even acknowledge.

Except for those who do. I will admit that I had to contain myself from openly sobbing when the city lit up with thank-yous because they had seen, despite all official attempts to conceal it, the Ghostbusters' work. Women's work. The city told them: We see you.

We see you.

Aaaaaaand now I'm crying all over again. Because of a silly popcorn movie. That is anything but.

It's a rare film that I find so moving and also makes me laugh so hard. I LAUGHED SO HARD SO MANY TIMES. Because my god these women are funny. Leslie Jones, you are a genius. Kristen Wiig, you are so wrong in all the right ways. Melissa McCarthy, I love you forever. Kate McKinnon, WHAT THE ENTIRE FUCK.

McKinnon (along with Aidy Bryant, who is her "Dyke & Fats" partner, omglol) is among my favorite Saturday Night Live players ever, and I already thought she was tremendously funny before this film but MAUDE ALMIGHTY she steals virtually every scene in this movie. She is a REVELATION.

"Steals" isn't even the right turn of phrase, because she's so deft (and generous) that she doesn't actually steal scenes, but enhances them. And Feig's direction was so smart, in that he gave many of her unbelievably great reaction shots the full-screen treatment.

It seems impossible that all four of the Ghostbusters could have been stand-outs, since that defies its very meaning, but somehow it's true. They each shine in their own way. I love these ladies.

And I love this movie, with one million hearts. ♥

P.S. Stay to the very end of the credits.

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