Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
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]
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 anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of two credited (Irena Brignull) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: The only female presence is the daughter of a male authority figure who’s only present in the story because of her father’s position. Unless we also count the male villain who frequently employs a drag disguise. Even the fantastical boxtrolls all read as male. This is completely typical for Hollywood, and it’s most insidious in children’s movies: Do we really want to teach our kids that girls are, almost literally, the odd man out?
NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Boxtrolls! 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 The Boxtrolls.