Halle Berry’s new film Bruised is an important milestone for the Oscar winning actress. Through this project she has been able to check off several boxes. For starters, she is making her directorial debut some 30 years into her film career. She is also an executive producer of the films all female hip-hop soundtrack, a project she spearheaded with Cardi B. Also she says the movie gave her an opportunity to shift the narrative and focus from her beauty to her actually acting, something that is very important to her after years of being objectified. This is an important message the accomplished star is looking to pass along to her teenage daughter, who is growing up in the era of Instagram and filters.
Bruised follows Berry’s character Jackie Justice. The retired MMA fighter decides to come back to the ring to face off against a top female MMA fighter in an unsanctioned bout while also dealing with the unexpected return of her 6-year-old son, whom she gave up for adoption as an infant.
Reviews have been mostly positive, with Deadline Hollywood saying “there is no question Berry has thrown it all against the wall with this one and acquitted herself admirably, not just as you might expect acting-wise from the Oscar-winning star of Monster’s Ball but also behind the camera. She keenly navigates a female-driven story of a disgraced MMA fighting superstar trying to claw her way back to the top while putting the pieces of her shattered personal life back together.”
Berry’s commitment to the role and all that came with it was most clearly present in her ability to shoot while having broken ribs. Berry said she knew something was wrong on day 2 of shooting but did not want to stop filming. “I knew if I told (producers) this happened, they would shut down and I would probably lose my funding. I just willed myself to do it,” she says. “I took a bunch of Advil and I just acted as if it wasn’t happening.”
Berry found relief in this film because for once her role had nothing to do with her appearance. She could wake up everyday and just show up to set and act. “Especially being me and people always commented on how I look, it was so liberating to wake up every day and the more (expletive) up I looked, the better it was going to be for the day’s work,” she recalls. For years, her beauty has been the focal point of her career. Conscious of this and the pressures that come with it, Berry is looking to protect her daughter from the pitfalls of being too wrapped up in self image.
Nahla Ariela Aubry is Berry’s 13 year old daughter with former partner Gabriel Aubry. Berry says her mantra at home for Nahla is “beauty is as beauty does.” She says “I hammer that into her head because I know that to be true.” Berry is most worried about social media filters and how they can warp teens perspectives of themselves. “Sometimes I’m her least favorite person in the world because she’s like, ‘Oh, Mom, please let me just be a teenager of my generation!’ And I want her to do that, too. But I’m worried about her self-image. And the filter life it’s not a real life.”
Berry is also mom to seven-year-old Maceo Martinez, whom she shares with ex Olivier Martinez. She jokes recently that Maceo has figured out mommy is famous, and gets a kick out of saying her full name in public to get attention. “‘Halle Berry, can you pass me the ketchup?’ It’s just so embarrassing! He knows it gets a reaction from people, but he can’t quite figure out why.”
Berry is hoping Bruised helps her lead the discussion of beauty in a new direction. In an except from their write-up of the film, USA Today noted, “If this movie doesn’t finally change the conversation about Berry, it’s unclear what will. Few can look past the onetime beauty queen’s looks, not even a morning show that recently opened an interview with Berry by showing an extended clip of her bikini-clad Bond girl rising from the surf.”