Writing and Storytelling

I cried during Wonder Woman, but not when you’d expect

Wonder Woman has been killing it in the box office this year, earning over $600 million worldwide. The movie marks several milestones. Not only is it the first comic book hero movie to ever feature a female lead, but the lead is played by Gal Gadot, an Israeli immigrant who was a real life soldier for two years. Also, director Patty Jenkins set a record for highest grossing debut for a female director, with over $100 million earned in Wonder Woman‘s first weekend.

It’s no wonder (pun intended) that many woman have been getting a little emotional while watching the film. Women have been taking to Twitter since the movie opened, sharing their tearful reactions to various scenes:

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I rarely cry during movies. The first time I remember doing so was during A Walk to Remember (2002) when Landon Carter shows up at his dad’s house crying. I’d never seen a man cry so openly, let alone sob and cling to his father for support. It took me by complete surprise, causing me to burst into tears as well.

Shane West crying in A Walk to Remember
Landon Carter, played by Shane West, crying in A Walk to Remember (2002) after learning his girlfriend is dying.

I was surprised once again this year by my reaction to Wonder Woman. While many women admit to crying multiple times, the film only got me once, and not when you’d expect. While nearly every fight scene was spectacular, the no man’s land scene was iconic.

Wonder Woman is set during World War I, and Diana does her part by entering the trenches. Many women have admitted to crying when Diana first emerged from the trench ready for battle.

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman
Diana, played by Gal Gadot, emerges from WWI trenches in Wonder Woman (2017)

Men don’t tend to shout “she” during WWI epics unless it’s to personify an inanimate object, or to curse the name of a woman back home whom they despise. And to a great extent, rightfully so. For the purposes of historical accuracy, movies don’t tend to feature women in scenes where they would not have been in reality. I get it.

But hearing that word drew some deep seeded emotions out of me. I was struck by the looks of wonder and triumph on the soldiers’ faces when they realized a woman was helping them “win” the war (I use the word win loosely, since nobody ever really wins with war).

The scene helped me to finally understand why Diana’s super hero name is Wonder Woman. I always knew of course, intellectually, but suddenly I understood. Suddenly, I too was in wonder.

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