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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? A Royal Night Out

Where Are the Women A Royal Night Out

A princess (and future queen) isn’t exactly Everywoman, but even young women of wealth and privilege have stories that deserve to be told.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +1

+5
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
-5
Is her authority presented as having a negative impact on her life? [why this matters]


+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: -5

-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [why this matters]

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)

A sequence set in a brothel seems intended merely to mine some humor out of the difference between “good” girls, who are ignorant of all things sexual and are more charming and worthy because they’re innocent, and “bad” girls, who aren’t. Plus there’s some suspense over whether one of those innocent girls will have her “virtue” damaged.

TOTAL SCORE: +16

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: A princess (and future queen) isn’t exactly Everywoman, but even young women of wealth and privilege have their problems that need to be solved and their stories that deserve to be told. And it’s probably a good thing to see that real-life princesses — even if their story is mostly invented here — aren’t at all like the Disney sort.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of A Royal Night Out! 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 Royal Night Out.

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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  • David C-D

    I’m curious – you usually don’t give the -5 for “Is her authority presented as having a negative impact on her life?” in case of a realistic portrayal of the struggles of a woman in authority. What was the reason in this case? I don’t see anything in your review pointing at this issue.

  • I make a distinction between a societal pressure to give a woman a hard time that a woman doesn’t give in to, versus a depiction that basically shows her giving in to the pressure or letting it be a detriment in her life. In Elizabeth’s case, the negative impact on her life is inevitable and inescapable and she doesn’t really fight it. In this case, too, I debated whether she even truly deserves the +5 for being in a position of authority, since it isn’t earned and is purely ceremonial. So the score would work out the same if both of these were removed.

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