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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? John Wick

Where Are the Women? John Wick

Badass lady assassin? Good. Dead wife to motivate the protagonist and decorative tits and asses to, er, motivate the audience? Less good.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10

-10
Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -3

+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -10

-5
Is a woman or women used as decorative objects/set dressing? [why this matters]
-5
Does this include gratuitous “booty” shots? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

WILDCARD SCORE: +3

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

The woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? She’s a professional killer (played by Adrianne Palicki) who gets into a scrap with Keanu Reeves, and in their big fight scene, he gives her no quarter, and she demands none, neither explicitly nor implicitly. Nor does the film treat her as if she cannot hold her own physically against a man, or leave us with any hint that she isn’t an even match for him… and she might even be his better.

TOTAL SCORE: -20

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Badass lady assassin? Good. Dead wife to motivate the protagonist and decorative tits and asses to, er, motivate the audience? Less good.


Click here for the ongoing ranking of 2015’s films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of John Wick! 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 John Wick.

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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