Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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 way Vera Farmiga’s character is treated here gets an extra special unintentionally ironic zinger when she is forced to tell Robert Downey Jr. that her life philosophy is “I was gonna be the hero of my own story,” yet all she is here is a paragon of awesomeness present to push him onto a better path and be dangled as a potential reward for him, if only he would shape up.
The film also treats as an unexpected surprise the fact that she owns the diner she works in, rather than merely being an employee waitress, as if it’s odd for a woman to own a business.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: This movie seems to go out of its way to exclude women as people with their own lives and agency in the story. There isn’t a single woman here who is not cast exclusively as an adjunct to a man: as a mother, a daughter, a lover, an ex. There is plenty of room for a woman (or women!) not defined by gender — one of the cops could have been female; the judge who presides over the trial could have been female; RDJ’s opposing attorney could have been female. But none of this seems to have occurred to the filmmakers. This is a classic example of how Hollywood limits women to a support system for men.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Judge! 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 Judge.