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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Every Secret Thing

Where Are the Women Every Secret Thing

Though the story revolves primarily around traditionally female concerns, much of the drama and mystery arises from subverting stereotypes.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +10

+10
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]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +5

+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]

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: +10

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

The film features a primarily female ensemble that entirely defies the stereotypes that girls and women are typically slotted into onscreen, and who occupy the full ecosystem of dramatic characters for what is basically a police procedural, from cop to suspects to red herrings.

TOTAL SCORE: +20

IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? Yes (Amy Berg) (does not impact scoring)

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes (Nicole Holofcener) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: Though the story revolves primarily around traditionally female concerns, such as motherhood and maternal drives, much of the drama and mystery arises from subverting stereotypes and delving into how women really cope — or don’t — with the pressures and expectations placed upon them.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Every Secret Thing! 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 Every Secret Thing.

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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