‘Pretty Baby’ Almost Exploits Same Creepy Celebrity Culture Meant To Expose

For a while, it seemed Brooke Shields was everywhere. Becoming popular in the later 1970s while she was still just a child, she made movies through the first part of the 1980s and appeared everywhere. Then, she was gone. Actually, she went on to Princeton University which became a huge story but it’s almost like once she became a certain age, people grew tired of her.

She went through a period of time in which she appeared mostly in small roles in smaller movies. Her cameo in Speed Zone was called one of the few (if not only) highlights of the movie. Then, she appeared in the cult classic horror comedy Freaked alongside Keanu Reeves, Mr. T and Alex Winter. And also she appeared in the thriller comedy Freeway alongside Reese Witherspoon and Keifer Sutherland. But it seemed to some her stardom had faded as what was happening off screen was more important.

It’s seems fitting her last role before going to college was a cameo as a customer in the diner in The Muppets Take Manhattan where she’s leered on by one of the rats. It was a perfect metaphor for her status as vermin had treated her more as an object rather than a human being. It’s possible people had found someone new to focus on. There was Molly Ringwald, Daryl Hannah and Julia Roberts to choose from. Who needed Brooke Shields anymore?

Shields was one of the first celebrities who became more known for her life off camera as she was rumored to have been dating Michael Jackson. And he even said it in a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey. She had actually been dating a young Dean Cain and others and called her relationship with Jackson platonic. But it seemed that now since she was an adult, people had lost interest in her. It was a telling sign of the world and how things are so different now.

Speaking of Ringwald, Sixteen Candles is now viewed way differently, It came out when Ringwald was only 15, which was the same age Shields was when The Blue Lagoon opened. She was actually 14 when it was filmed. Considering the movie sexualized a 14-year-old, there’s no way anyone would dare release it today without having law enforcement show up at their production offices.

You have to question why anyone would allow their child to be a part of a movie like Pretty Baby when they were only 12. Just FYI, she plays a prostitute in the movie. Shields had a complicated relationship with her mother, Teri, which as the center of the documentary Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields currently streaming on Hulu, which shows all these clips of this young child being asked inappropriate questions by men more than three times her age. If Teri was Shields’ manager, why didn’t she put a stop to it?

While Shields does point the finger at her mother’s drinking, I think it tiptoes around a more obvious reason. If Teri became a “difficult” manager, then people would stop hiring her daughter. It’s what happened with Macaulay Culkin and his father, Kit. The problem with this documentary is I kept waiting for the hard ball questions to come out. Shields opens up a lot about herself. And there’s a lot, such as the fact that she was raped by a Hollywood producer. She doesn’t name him but it sounds like what Harvey Weinstein was accused of. Then, she endures an abusive relationship, which sounds more emotional and controlling, with Andre Agassi.

It could be the legal team couldn’t allow much of this to be discussed in detail. I don’t think it would be Weinstein. What does Shields have to lose by naming Weinstein? He’s already been convicted twice. I don’t think a single lawyer would represent him in a civil case now. It’s probably because it’s someone else. It’s painful to see Shields bring these moments up, especially how Agassi got upset over the Friends‘ cameo that helped get her the TV show Suddenly Susan.

It’s a good documentary but it seems that either the legal department was leery of some stuff that had to be edited out or Shields wasn’t too forthcoming on some details she’d rather not reveal. She’s 57 now and women that age are still expected to have a certain amount of shame of themselves for allowing themselves to be sexually assaulted or even sexually exploited. But it’s not her fault. I remember the 1979 movie Just You and Me, Kid where she is trying to escape a creep wearing only a towel and finds comfort and safety in an older man played by George Burns. How could anyone think a young child running half-naked from a creep might be a comedy in 1979? It’s obviously, she was exploited.

While the documentary does end on a positive note with Shields and her husband, Chris Henchy, who she has been married to since 2001 and their daughters, it feels unfinished. While the section as Shields discusses her battle with post-partum depression one of the documentary’s most moving moments, it still seems exploitive as they mention how Tom Cruise goes off to Matt Lauer (of all people) about her seeking psychiatric help. Yes, Cruise was way out of line discussing this with Lauer who has been accusing of sexual assaults and harassments. If anything else, it’s inclusion is to show how men think they know what’s best for women and to show how we still got a long road to go.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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