#GuiltyPleasureConfessional: Halle Berry’s ‘Catwoman’ is Pure Purrrfection

“Guilty Pleasure” implies that my feelings towards #Trash films should inspire self-loathing and a demand to hide my love. But there’s no shame in this soul. These violent delights have violent ends my friends; such delights include Halle Berry, leather pants, and playing basketball with my cop boyfriend. You know what I’m talking about, right?

Catwoman (2004)

I know lots of people have issues with Halle Berry’s acting(?), but I don’t mind her William Shatner-ing through this poor man’s superhero flick simply because IT IS SO BAD IT’S GOOD. Good in that, “I’ve eaten 30 pieces of gummy-worms and I can feel my teeth rotting and it doesn’t taste that great anymore but I’ll still put this next one in my mouth” kind of way. Not all of BNP staff feels this way of course, some people think Catwoman is horrible in a bad way, but we all don’t appreciate the sugary-goodness of badly-adapted (loosely-based) comic book films.

The early 2000s silliness of Catwoman was a critical mess and a box office disaster. It has become an embarrassing staple in superhero movies, and I can only imagine that the most dedicated DC fan dreads the very idea of it. The movie starts off with Halle Berry playing the sad, but sweet (but also super annoying) Patience Phillips, a stepped-on artist who works for a cosmetics company in NYC. After she overhears the ugly side-effects of a product, the big baddie Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone) flushes her out from the pipe system, effectively drowning her. Patience comes back to life (thanks to a cat, of course) and is given a personality upgrade (which goes hand in hand with a wardrobe upgrade) which all helps her seek out her murderer and figure out the bigger conspiracy surrounding makeup products and the existential ambiguity of the worth of beauty. It all ends as you’d think — the love interest (Benjamin Bratt, who’s also a cop/detective) falls for the luscious and mysterious cat and then later suspects their new lover is a murderer. This then prompts the ever-valiant detective to arrest Patience. She manages to escapes her cell and attack the double-crossing Hedare, who in spectacular fashion, plummets to her death after a lame fight.

The film ends with Patience being free to live her life as Catwoman, tied to no one person and no one’s rules, claws sharpened and whip in hand. FIN.

So what if the plot is thin? If all the characters are either hollow or cringey? So what if the CGI makes you want to laugh/cry yourself to into a stupor? It’s a classic. I’m sticking by it. I mean, yeah, I’m not a HUGE fan of the shoes or the pants, but the mask and crop top? Those are excellent. I also really enjoyed the scene where Catwoman orders a “white Russian” in the club but of course it’s just straight milk. Anyone catch that Michelle Pfeiffer reference too? And that sushi scene!!! Makes you hungry, am I right? Anybody feel me on that?

ALSO. All the cats! There were so many cute cats in the movie! I’m a total cat person, so of course it was so cool to see them all roaming around, testing Patience, bringing her back to life. You know, just regular cat stuff.

Bad movies give me a sense of relief in a way, some kind of warped solace. There are no big expectations for them. I can just put it on and let the corny dialogue wash over me. The other part that kind of gets to me is the idea of reinventing yourself. Patience is given a second chance at life and with it she empowers herself to become the woman she’s always meant to be: independent, fearless, and powerful. How can you not admire that? I personally love origin-type films, that show the protagonist when they’re down on their luck, hit rock bottom full throttle, but then bounce back with so much pizzazz you’ll see fireworks for weeks after. I love when I watch the main character dress more confidently, act more boldly, and dare to challenge the very institutions that sought to silence their individuality and spark. Catwoman, despite its MANY MANY MANY numerous flaws, is a film that wants to encourage and bolster the morale of the downtrodden. I may be taking a few liberties here, because yes Patience was still “conventionally attractive” before her death and rebirth, however, the film still pushes forward the idea of revitalizing your identity.

We all have those films that when you’re bored or just need some background noise you’ll just pop on. They make you roll your eyes, mock, and groan. These films give you happiness; and it doesn’t hurt anyone! When I get the chance, Catwoman is one of those films for me. We all have our pleasures, and for me, this masterpiece is pure purrrrrfection.

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  • Oona Sura is a cosplay enthusiast with an appreciation for Framboise Lambic, Haruki Murakami, and cats. Catch her at the next anime convention on the East Coast!

  • Show Comments

  • CParis

    I don’t know why this movie gets so much negative attention. Halle Berry in a leather catsuit, Benjamin Bratt yum! toxic makeup, plus cats.
    A true guilty pleasure.

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