Critical + Opinion Writing

Matilda writes about the arts, popular culture and feminism. She is the Staff Writer for Junkee, where she covers entertainment and women's issues. She also writes freelance for a variety of other publications. 

You can find links to some of her favourite works below, catalogued by publication.

Daily Life

Labelled as ‘trashy’, ‘soapy’, even ‘a sham’, the responses to this series speak worrying volumes about the way male critics (and male audiences) perceive work that chooses to centre itself on women’s lives and interests.
— What male critics' dismissal of Big Little Lies says about women's stories, for Daily Life.

Read more here.

The idea that women are causing the downfall of feminism by calling out men’s bad behaviour is not just offensive, it’s illogical. How can we expect anything to change if we cannot interrogate the power structures that oppress us?
— Feminists call out men for behaving badly and it's good for feminism, for Daily Life.

Read more here.

With the right to offend, who are we really protecting? The reality is, some people are allowed to speak out more than others; some voices are louder; some speech is ‘freer’.
— Five common defences for the 'right to be offensive', for Daily Life.

Read more here.

The Guardian AU

The Wrong Girl is light, funny and broadly appealing, well-targeted toward a swath of young female viewers who were likely getting their romcom jollies from streaming services like Netflix and Stan.
— The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster Blake's bestseller brings Australia into the TV romcom revolution, for The Guardian AU.

Read more here.

SBS

As we rush out to buy the latest memoir from Mindy, Tina, Amy or Lena, it’s worth asking: why don’t we afford local female TV talent the same cult status?
— Comment: Who are Australia's feminist TV heroes?, for SBS: The Feed.

Read more here.

JUNKEE

Matilda is Junkee's Staff Writer, writing primarily in entertainment and women's/sexual health.

Matilda has interviewed Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Trey Parker, Louis Theroux, Ben Mendelshon, Trevor Noah, Yael Stone, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Rob Collins, Miranda Tapsell and Sarah Snook, among others. She has written about "Ali's Wedding", "Wonder Woman", "Transparent", "Top Of The Lake", "Twin Peaks", "Jasper Jones" and Outlander" and "UnREAL", among many other films and TV shows.

She also covers abortion rights, contraception and sexual health, mental health and women's health and safety for the website.

You can find a full list of her Junkee work here.

Kill your darlings

I’ve found myself increasingly impressed by the difficult and nuanced work the series is doing in service to the female trauma victim trope. My question when approaching these stories, however clumsily or elegantly they are handled on TV, is always: Do we really need to see this? This final season of Broadchurch has me convinced that, yes, perhaps sometimes we do.
— Through Her Eyes: 'Broadchurch' And Depictions Of Trauma, for Kill Your Darlings

Read more here.

If we take our cue from Lam’s rallying cry, that La La Land is a ‘terrible film’ that will ‘win Best Picture at the Oscars anyway’, we can see that the world of arts criticism is diminishing, blurring, changing. Some of the change is great (increased platforms for new and diverse critical voices, for example), and some of it is less so.
— Lampooning La La Land: blurring criticism and opinion in the mainstream, for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

Working in a bookstore often means you become a conduit for the secrets and stories of the local patrons.
— Simple pleasures, for Kill Your Darlings, Issue 26.

Read more here.

It’s getting harder and harder to be that critical link from engagement to understanding in art. I can’t hope to shape conversations about our country’s artistic contributions, large and small, if there’s no art to discuss and nowhere left to have the discussion.
— Worth fighting for: How defunding the arts hurts more than just artists, for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

In trying to appeal to both the teen viewers and the adults watching with them, Tomorrow has stumbled on a discord. When teen television caters for every niche, an ‘apply-all’ series, without a strong voice, feels morbidly unfocused.
— Whiplash: Tommorrow When The War Began and the state of Aussie teen TV, for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

Even the play-acting of ‘family’ reveals the true bond in this hodgepodge group – all of them clustered around Josh, their unlikely patriarch.
— On 'Please Like Me' and the Aussie TV family, for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

This is ‘women’s fiction’, to be sure, but in the most honest and celebratory sense of that derided and bombastic category.
— 'Short and Sweet: Women and girls in the stories of Katherine Heiny and Tegan Bennett Daylight', for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

Released from the constraints of transposing a whole novel into two hours onscreen, Lawrence has been gifted space. With it, he reinvents, reimagines, and produces a considered, surprising work.
— 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1', for Kill Your Darlings.

Read more here.

Yes, our girls are growing, learning, discovering. But all they’re really discovering is how toxic and unheroic they are, and how to use that to their advantage.
— 'Insufferable assholes and grown up 'Girls', for Kill Your Darlings

Read more here

Overland

The new ‘True Detective’ is so derivative, so bloated with delusions of grandeur, it’s missing the levity that makes homage joyful. It seems embarrassingly unaware of itself, and so dated its first draft was probably a cave drawing.
— 'Overboiled and over it', for Overland Journal.

Read more here.

To me, Amy is a rare female depiction of a character that is frequently portrayed on page or screen – and that is always, unquestioningly, male. Because of that, Flynn’s story is important.
— 'The "Gone Girl" Problem', for Overland.

Read more here.

Going Down Swinging

You might even say that I kind of won The Sims – or as much as you can win a game that never really ends, just keeps going and going forever even after your Sim dies.
— Simulated Capital, for Going Down Swinging.

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The grief of losing that sense of belonging is what ‘Glitch’ chews on.
— 'Good Grief: How Loss in ABC’s Glitch Leads to Magical Thinking', for Going Down Swinging.

Read more here.

Throughout the heart-flattening ‘Fury Road’, where wit and invention crash into spectacle, I didn’t feel shut out. This is a film that welcomes women viewers.
— 'A Place for Women in Hollywood Action Blockbusters', for Going Down Swinging.

Read more here.

Gluck’s embattled ‘Annie’, released in time for Christmas, is now suffering from multiple critical wounds.
— 'Nostalgia with a price tag', for Going Down Swinging.

Read more here.

The Herald Sun

The notion that a woman must give up her life for a man is archaic and troubling. And yet, this is the girl teenagers idolise.
— 'Bella lacking strong points as a role model', for the Herald Sun.

Read more here.

Time Out Melbourne

The sheer ingenuity and insight from a performer in her late teens is compelling.
— Yve Blake's 'Am I Good Friend', for Time Out Melbourne.

Read more here.

Fantasise or Perish

Whimsical and wise . . . it is that rare Shakespeare adaptation that convincingly repositions the Bard’s work for the now.
— MUSC's 'As You Like It', for Fantasise or Perish.

Read more here.

The classic mistake that companies can make with the classics is to mount them without a sense of ‘what?’ and ‘why now?’ The heart of the production should cut like glass.
— 'Classics Mistakes: FLW Theatre's "A Streetcar Named Desire", For Fantasise or Perish.

Read more here.

Read more here.

You're Dripping Egg

I’m used to being tricked by Dunham. In my mind, she sets traps for her potential critics to tumble into.
— 'Girls' season two, for You're Dripping Egg.

Read more here.

Radio/PodcasT

Listen to Matilda discuss interviewing Ryan Gosling, Bill Shorten rapping and the Harvey Weinstein scandal on Radio National's Drive program with Patricia Karvelas here.

Listen to Matilda discuss her critical practice with Mel Campbell and Dion Kagan for Kill Your Darlings and The Rereaders' 'Critical Attention' podcast here.

Listen to Matilda discuss Griffith Review's 'Millenials Strike Back', 'My Cousin Rachel' and Hamish and Andy with Dion Kagan and Mel Campbell on the Rereaders podcast here

Listen to Matilda discuss HBO's Big Little Lies (and male critics' dismissal of entertainment for women) with Daisy Rosario on New York's 60dB here.

Listen to Matilda's presentation on the roles and responsibilities of news satire TV at the Wheeler Centre's Breakfast Club, as part of Next Wave Festival 2014, here

Listen to episodes from Matilda's podcast, me & all my friends, here

Read Matilda's interview with Giselle Stanborough on her artistic practice, here