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]
[no significant representation of women in authority]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
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? Yes (Ava DuVernay) (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Coretta Scott King may have become a figure of moral authority in her own right after her husband’s death, but as the only significant female character in this film, she’s mostly an adjunct to her husband more worried about the protection of their family than anything else. But even this fairly traditional representation is better than many films manage.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Selma! 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 Selma.