Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE:+4
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [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)
The perfect wrapup of the relationship between Keira Knightley’s songwriter and Mark Ruffalo’s music producer is a wonderful slap at clichés of the genre.
Though Hailee Steinfeld’s character is primarily defined by her relationship with her father (Ruffalo), she has a journey of her own that is separate from that relationship… and yet which also culminates in a positive redefining of that relationship.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Busting clichés of the romantic drama and featuring a central female character who turns her personal pain around to make art, this film offers a strong portrait of a woman with a complex inner and outer life. It also sprinkles women into its background characters in positions that would have typically defaulted to men, including as musicians and as music executives.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Begin Again! 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 Begin Again.