I wish I had a movie like Ghostbusters: Afterlife when I was growing up. Sure, the OG Ghostbusters was great. But it wasn’t geared towards girls like me. It was geared towards boys with the only female presences being those possessed/victimized by ghosts or spirits and those who picked up after the Ghostbusters. There was never someone like me.
And don’t even get me started on the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. That movie…I liked it at first and was down for the gay feelings Kate McKinnon gave me when she liked that proton gun thingie. But the more time that passed, the more I realized that they had switched the genders instead of writing stories for women, young and old.
That’s where Ghostbusters: Afterlife comes in. This is a story written for women, young ones in particular. Mckenna Grace comes in. She plays Phoebe; an awkward, funny, and brave girl who is smarter than everyone else she knows without coming off as she’s coldhearted, rude, or better than others aka what Hollywood loves to do with kids who are smart like this.
Phoebe is a young woman who is loved by her family and who loves them in return. She has a curiosity that gets her into trouble but gets her out of it at the same time. And her instincts are spot on no matter what comes her way, ghost or demon. She’s the hero of Ghostbusters: Afterlife and she takes her job seriously, channeling her inner Ellen Ripley during many moments of the film and then some.
Watching her grow in Ghostbusters: Afterlife was a journey like none I’ve seen before. She wasn’t doing this on her own for one thing. She was surrounded by friends and family who supported her and believed in her. She wasn’t belittled for her smarts or the fact that she looks adorably boring when it comes to her clothes. She just is who she is and that’s that. She accepts it, those around her accept it, and so do we.
So, when shit hits the fan as they do in movies like this, Phoebe is more than ready to face the challenges that come her way. She’s the one who takes risks, helps save the day, and gains so much in her life over the span of one movie and while having her family at her side. And it’s utterly glorious and something that left me feeling like I was about to break from all the feelings I was having.
I saw myself in Phoebe from start to finish. I felt her awkwardness, I understood her drive, and I loved that she didn’t change who she was at the core of herself to satisfy others. If anything, Phoebe was an even bigger nerd by the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. And those around her accepted her for it and helped her face the challenges they were all about to face.
Basically, and like I said in the beginning of this post, I wish I had a movie like this growing up. I wish I saw myself in a badass young woman who was just trying to find her way in the world like I was. Like all of us. And it warms my cold and withered heart that there will be young women who will be one step ahead with the knowledge that they too can hunt ghosts and save the day while being unapologetically themselves.
This is why representation matters and why I can’t stop thinking about Ghostbusters: Afterlife or how I might like it better than the OG movies. Because this is a part of the OG universe that we know and love. But it stands on its own and gives us a refreshing take that honors the past while looking towards the future, leaving us desperately wanting for more.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife hits theaters on November 19, 2021.