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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Last Days in Vietnam

WATWlastdaysvietnam

Apart from one very brief historical news clip of a female member of Congress, no women appear on camera here, which is a huge disappointment.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of girls/women]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +1

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

WILDCARD SCORE: -5

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

It almost seems as if the film goes out of its way to avoid getting the perspectives of any women. Did no women work at the U.S. embassy in Saigon? Were no Vietnamese wives or girlfriends or daughters of American servicemen, diplomats, or contractors available to interview about their experiences escaping Saigon? (A son is interviewed.) This may be a war movie, but the battlefield it covers is a city… where women are impacted as much as men by terrible events such as those depicted here.

TOTAL SCORE: -4

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? Yes (Rory Kennedy) (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Apart from one very brief historical news clip in which a female member of Congress speaks about the situation in Vietnam, no women appear on camera here, which is a huge disappointment when women — such as wives and girlfriends of American servicemen and diplomatic staff — would have been hugely impacted by the events depicted.


Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Last Days in Vietnam! 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 Last Days in Vietnam.

See the full rating criteria. (Criteria that do not apply to this film have been deleted in this rating for maximum readability.)


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posted in:
where are the women
  • RogerBW

    Particularly disappointing given your mention in the review of Vietnamese wives and dependents of the people being officially evacuated.

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