69. Tootsie (1982)

Michael Dorsey, an unsuccessful actor, disguises himself as a woman in order to get a role on a trashy hospital soap.

For some reason, I have not been able to properly write about this film. I don’t know why. I mean, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the acting and the writing. I loved watching the character of Michael Dorsey, played by my favorite Captain Hook, Dustin Hoffman, experience the sexism of the industry he works in while he is being Dorothy Michaels. It’s done in a genius way.

I think I take issue with the fact that Michael hardly treats Sandy any better than Ron treats Julie. At one point, Michael, as Dorothy, tells Ron that she (he?) doesn’t like how Ron lies to Julie. But, that’s all that Michael has done to Sandy the entire film. Not to mention, he uses what Julie has told him in confidence while he was Dorothy to further his own agenda as Michael and that infuriates me. He learns so much as Dorothy but hardly seems to apply it to his life as Michael. And, I’m still conflicted about Julie accepting Michael in the end. I mean, if I found out that one of my closest female friends was actually a man who was interested in me, I’d be freaked the hell out and would probably not speak to them for a very very long time.

That’s why I’ve had so much trouble writing about this film, I think. I want to like it. I want to rave about how great it is for feminism and how it calls out so much sexism within the industry, but because of what I stated above, I just can’t seem to write that kind of review.

Am I completely in the wrong? What do you think about this film?


**Kudos to Sandy, though. She doesn’t put up with Michael’s shit for very long. AND THEN she even continues to work in the play with him because she is a goddamn professional.

2 thoughts on “69. Tootsie (1982)

  1. It’s a long time since I’ve seen this film, but I do think the casting is terrific. I liked Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Dorothy, and I loved Sidney Pollack in his role.
    However, it doesn’t live up to its promise. A person goes into it thinking this is going to be a powerful message about women…and it’s not.
    I wonder what the film might look like if it was done from Sandy’s point of view.

    1. YES! I went in expecting it to be just that: a powerful message about women. And I was greatly disappointed.
      From Sandy’s POV, Michael is a horrible person.

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