Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]
Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
Bad enough that women are used as decorative objects here, and as the metaphorical (and almost literal) property of a man as a way to demonstrate that man’s “power.” But two characters have an actual conversation here in which it is explicitly spelled out that a woman belongs to a man because his possession of her makes him look good, and that she is basically otherwise useless to him except for fucking. The tenor of this conversation is in no way critical or satirical: it’s just a bottom-lining of “reality.”
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: The contradictions of mainstream film’s treatment of women are built into the warp and weft of this story. A woman may be smart, competent, and able to take care of herself in a tough world, but she’s not worth placing in the center of a story: better that she help a man learn about and navigate this world. But this awesome and perfect woman is an anomaly among women, who are mostly nothing more than anonymous decorative objects for men (onscreen and in the audience) to lust after. Women! Perfect, yet somehow not worthy of personhood of their own.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Son of a Gun! It is simply an examination of how well or how poorly it represents women. (A movie that represents women well can still be a terrible film; a movie that represents women poorly can still be a great film.) Read my review of Son of a Gun.