Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand emails.
On Thursday, T Magazine published the email correspondence between actress Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything is Illuminated. The story is theoretically a profile of Portman, timed to the premiere of her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, but it reads as something much, much weirder.
Twitter was quick to weigh in on the piece, with commenters having a field day skewering the pretentious goofiness of their back-and-forth. A few users, though, zeroed in on a different facet of the feature: Portman’s lack of pants.
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Indeed, the online version of the story features six photos—plus a cover image—of the actress and director, who is not wearing pants in a single shot. While the photographs probably wouldn’t have gotten much attention if they’d run as a stand-alone fashion spread, juxtaposing them with an email conversation that touches on philosophy, religion, and art (“Don’t forget about art!,” wrote Portman in one email), struck some readers as ridiculous—and sexist. After all, it was hard to miss that Safran Foer got the byline, while Portman provided the window dressing. When does Safran Foer doff his slacks?
Ostentatious email banter aside, Natalie Portman is clearly a smart and serious woman. It’s too bad that she has to be the decoration at her own coming out party as a film director.