Take My Nose…Please! 2017
Distributed by Passion River Films, 154 Mt. Bethel Rd., Warren, NJ 07059; 732-321-0711
Produced by Parvenu
Directed by Joan Kron
DVD, color, 88 min.
High School - General Adult
Date Entered: 05/29/2018Reviewed by Sheila Intner, Professor Emerita, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Simmons College GSLIS at Mt. Holyoke, South Hadley, MA
It is difficult to imagine a documentary film about plastic surgery being funny, so it should not be strange that the many minutes of humor in this one are tinged with other emotions—sadness, embarrassment, exasperation, pathos, anxiety, and fear, to name a few. It was not funny to this reviewer, although several well-known comediennes are shown here doing their routines or talking about them, including Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, and Amy Schumer, as well as entertainer Michael Jackson, to name the most famous. Some of their comedy routines involve making fun of their looks and, indeed, exaggerating their worst aspects, especially in the case of Ms. Diller. A chronological set of photographs of Mr. Jackson’s face as he underwent one surgery after another until he resembled a humanoid caricature was so sad it drew tears.
A frequent complaint of Jewish women is having what they deem a “Jewish nose,”—a pronounced bump along the nose between forehead and nose tip. Several young women visiting plastic surgeons ask, specifically, to have their noses made more like the noses of non-Jews, that is, straighter, smaller, and thinner. One woman with the bump intact announces that she is sorry she turned down the offer of a “nose job” when she was a teenager.
Several plastic surgeons are shown giving practical advice to their patients, helping them determine how much and what kinds of surgery will bring their looks closer to their imagined ideals. Although these surgeons are shown in a neutral light, given the context, this reviewer found them vaguely offensive, though she admits this may be due to a personal prejudice against people making judgments about women’s looks.
Worrying about one’s looks is a universal problem, shared by all, though generally attributed mainly to women. The final credits give the lie to that idea, though, with numerous shots of men owning up to having submitted to surgery to improve their appearance. Obviously, beauty is in the eye of the beholders, often while they are trying hard to tell their spouse, child, friend, patient, or anyone they are addressing that they are beautiful just as they are and have no need to change their looks through surgery.
It is hard to imagine the academic pursuit that benefits from viewing this film. Many elements are jumbled together here in no particular order. We see some people expressing a desire to be beautiful; others bearing the psychological pain of believing they are ugly; a few making fun of themselves and other people’s features; older women attempting to hide their wrinkles and other evidence of old age; and eager plastic surgeons plying their profession and responding to these feelings. And, throughout the film, are the jokes about it all. Too often, it’s hard to distinguish between what is being played for laughs and what is meant to be serious. In addition, frequent use of the “F” word makes this inappropriate viewing for younger audiences.