Nancy Meyers, the multimillion-dollar grossing director of The Intern and It’s Complicated, has hit out at critics who focus on the lavishly designed domestic interiors featured in her films, saying the attention is sexist and that male directors would not be criticised in the same way.
Meyers was speaking at a conference organised by the Producers Guild of America. She was responding to a question from Late Night’s Mindy Kaling about criticism of the upscale domestic milieux of Meyers’s films, particularly It’s Complicated, the 2009 relationship comedy starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, and the Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton romantic comedy Something’s Gotta Give, released in 2003. The Guardian’s chief film critic Peter Bradshaw described It’s Complicated as “crack-cocaine-strength gastro-lifestyle fantasy porn”, and called Something’s Gotta Give “horrifically icky” and “unspeakably acted”.
Meyers said: “I don’t love when a journalist or critic will pick up on that aspect [of the film’s design], because they’re missing why it works. It’s never done to male directors who make gorgeous movies, or where the leads live in a gorgeous house.”
She added: “But I’m not going to change it.”
Kaling cited the Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel as a contrast, saying the treatment of Meyers’s films was pejorative by comparison. The Grand Budapest Hotel was nominated for nine Oscars in 2015, winning four categories, including best production design, best costume design, and best makeup and hairstyling.