Is her villainy/badness defined primarily by her gender (ie, is it related to motherhood, or is it of a sexual nature)? [why this matters]
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 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)
In a film with a running, if subdued, motif about fluid sexuality, there’s one scene in which an aristocratic woman (Paula Paul) is seen crossdressing in men’s clothing, suggesting an appropriation of male power and sexuality at a time when 1) it was actually noticeable that a woman was crossdressing, and 2) when that would have been shocking and not at all “ladylike.”
Actor Helen McCrory is romantically paired with actor Matthias Schoenaerts, 11 years her junior, and not only is this not seen as weird or strange, it’s presented as normal and beneficial for him: with her character’s greater power and privilege, she acts as a professional and social patron to him.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of three credited (Alison Deegan)
BOTTOM LINE: From its complicated female protagonist (Kate Winslet), for whom wifehood and motherhood have been only a part of her full life, to its depiction of romantic relationships as meetings not only of hearts and bodies but of minds that change people in unexpected ways (and not always for the better), to its sensitive and multiple depictions of women’s tragedies that men don’t always want to see, this is a story that fully embraces the humanity of women.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of A Little Chaos! 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 A Little Chaos.