Well, look, many of the inside photos are solemn and dry, so I’m glad they didn’t go in that direction with the cover. But, aside from not loving the Giambattista Valli dress they stuck Reese in, I find this whole approach comes off… ditzy and a little dizzy?

I’m sure it’s hard to figure out new approaches for people who’ve done a bajillion covers, and for a cover story that has the same thesis as every other cover story about Reese Witherspoon for the last three years (that being, that she’s smart and producing material for both herself and others). You don’t want to make her look… well, the way she does in some of the other photos herein, frankly. You don’t want to strip her of her femininity as you make the argument she’s upended the Hollywood Boys Club, because that might unwittingly suggest a woman has to hide that side of herself in order to do it… there’s a reason I’m not a photographer, and it’s that I might be stumped as to how to tell a new visual story that honors these ideas without being hokey. But a photo that looks like an outtake from a shopping montage in a movie is not a compelling final answer.

The story is a very odd beast. It’s slavishly complimentary of Reese — her beauty, her youthfulness, her brilliance, her selflessness — and yet also takes a weird, short detour into crediting her husband Jim Toth with the entire Reeseaissance (pointing out that she needs to make her own material, pointing out that she likes to read, connecting the dots between those things). It’s full of tongue-bath asides like:

Toth had been a very successful talent agent at CAA and was recently named head of talent and acquisitions for Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile video start-up. (I throw this in to highlight the fact that the marriage of Witherspoon and Toth includes two people who stay ahead of the curve.)

It goes on:

Where does an actor who is—once again, or still—heading the A-list, who has a thriving media company, a lifestyle brand (Draper James’s Nashville outpost is a mecca for Tennessee tourism), an enormous social media presence, and three children find the time? She makes it, as making time seems to be another superpower.

Zero mention of childcare help, or even of the fact that she has two older children who can more easily help out with the younger one when aid is in short supply. Instead, we’re perpetuating this idea that you can just MAKE time to do everything. Now, I’m not saying we need cover stories that slag off their subjects, and I do think Reese is doing immense work developing stories for, by, and about women — with juicy lead roles and creative positions alike. But this MIGHT be an overstatement:

If our understanding of the Great Depression is forever linked to John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, and then John Ford’s Grapes of Wrath with Henry Fonda’s creation of Tom Joad, our understanding of #MeToo may well be shaped by Witherspoon and The Morning Show.

I think even Reese probably read that and went, “Are… we sure?”

Witherspoon pulls up in front of a beautiful house that is no more and no less than its beautiful neighbors. But when we step inside I have to say it stops my heart for an instant, the flooding light in the foyer, the sweeping staircase, the openness in every direction, the wallpaper. There is different, complementary wallpaper in room after room, including a wallpapered ceiling that looks like the tiled floor of a French bistro. I have no idea what the neighbors’ houses look like on the inside, but my guess would be nothing like this. The house is welcoming and warm in a way that feels almost like a memory, but better than a memory as it is both traditional and explosively joyful.

Sounds like a nifty house and I’m ALMOST surprised there isn’t an anecdote about how Reese wallpapered that ceiling herself.

[Photos: Vanity Fair]