Sundance Film Festival: Brooke Shields’ ‘Pretty Baby’ gets standing ovation

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WASHINGTON: American actor and model Brooke Shields has never shied away from speaking about being sexualised as a child star in Hollywood. Her two-part documentary ‘Pretty Baby’ recently brought the house down at the Sundance Film Festival.

According to Variety, an American media company, the documentary, which made its world premiere at the film festival on Friday, explores Shields’s appalling sexualisation beginning at age 9, the top-tier modelling and acting career that followed, and the urgent conversations she inspires around what society expects of women.

Directed by Lana Wilson, it confronts milestones in Shields’ life that, in a post #MeToo world, shocked the audience at Park City’s Eccles Theater. The documentary included Shields’ notable public battles with the likes of Tom Cruise are all on the table.

“I’ve always made it an important part of my journey to be as honest as I could. Not just to the outside, but to myself… I didn’t want to become shut down. The industry I’m in primes you to be shut down. I didn’t want to lose to that”, Shields said during a Q&A following the premiere of the documentary, according to Variety.

Shields struggled with conception after marrying now-husband Chris Henchy. After many attempts, she delivered her daughter Rowan and immediately slipped into an unknown and extreme depression. In 2005, she authored the book ‘Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression’.

Cruise was making the rounds for his Steven Spielberg-directed action film ‘War of the Worlds’ around the same time Shields was promoting the book. The ‘Mission Impossible’ actor, who’s among the most famous members of the therapy and prescription drug-averse Church of Scientology, publicly went after Shields for promoting anti-depressants. He went as far as calling her “dangerous,” reported Variety.

Shields reflected on the incident as “ridiculous” in the documentary. During one scene, the camera zooms in on the headline ‘What Tom Cruise Doesn’t Know About Estrogen’, from a New York Times op-ed she wrote in response to Cruise, according to Variety. The Eccles applauded in delight, and did so again after actor Judd Nelson quoted his friend Shields at the time: “Tom Cruise should stick to fighting aliens.”

Other subjects that the ‘Pretty Baby’ documentary included pre-pubescent nude photoshoots, male talk show hosts asking if 12-year-old Shields enjoys being a sex symbol and the horrors of an alcoholic mom and manager among others, as per Variety. (ANI)

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