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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Mad Max: Fury Road

Where Are the Women Mad Max Fury Road

This is how you make a movie about bad things that men do to women without being exploitive, or becoming another example of bad things that men do to women.


Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]


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]

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


Is there a female character with significant screen time who dresses less appropriately for the environment than her male counterparts do? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]


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 dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]

Does a man police or attempt to police a woman’s sexual agency? [why this matters]
Is he rebuked for it, either directly (by a character onscreen) or indirectly (by how it is depicted)? [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)

Almost everything about how this movie is set up appears to be designed to make the audience think it is going to be the usual sort of genre nonsense: women as male property that it is perfectly reasonable for men to fight over. And then that all gets turned upside down: not only are the women fighting back against a man who considers them his property, but the man who helps them (Max) is very much a sidekick to their female rescuer… and Max himself is very much a victim of their oppressor as well, and they also end up rescuing him.
The scene in which the women being rescued are introduced verges on the standard slo-mo near-porno (they are washing while wearing only the flimsiest of see-thru-when-wet fabric)… except it lasts for only the briefest moment, and they are never treated visually like that again. So although they remain in their harem wear for most of the rest of the movie, they are not objectified, and that first scene becomes a sort of teasing smackdown of the (straight male) audience’s expectations.
Hooray for the fact that it’s multiple women who are escaping, and that they are all very different as people, with different reactions to what is happening to them and around them (one is brave, one is selfless, one is cowardly, and so on). They are individuals, which is rather unexpected for the genre.


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 violent smackdown of the notion of women as the property — in this case literally — of men. The damsels in distress rescue themselves, and the film does not treat them like objects as they do so. This is how you make a movie about bad things that men do to women without being exploitive, or becoming another example of bad things that men do to women.

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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

NOTE: This is not a “review” of Mad Max: Fury Road! 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 Mad Max: Fury Road.

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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posted in:
where are the women
  • LaSargenta

    …they are all very different as people, with different reactions to what
    is happening to them and around them (one is brave, one is selfless,
    one is cowardly, and so on.)

    That was one of the things I really liked about Set It Off (released pre-FlickFilosopher’s founding). The fact that I noticed it then and have remembered it well points out more than anything else how rare it is.

  • I wouldn’t knock the male gaze grade down, because of how that happens. The Wives are dressed as they are because they’ve been turned into sex slaves and don’t have anything else to wear. The warrior women we meet later – Furiosa’s surviving tribe – there’s a scene of a naked woman but it’s given context and purpose. Otherwise the women are wearing armor and clothing much like Max.

  • I did give a point back in the wildcard section. And I did not consider the naked woman from Furiosa’s tribe as problematic.

    We do need to be very careful about using the explanation that you offer. Because it’s not an accident that the women are dressed as they are. It is the result of deliberate choices by the filmmakers. There are reasonable ways that the wives could have been less scantily dressed after their rescue. However plausible it is within the story’s context that the women are barely covered up is, it’s still a context that has been invented to allow that.

    I’m really trying to be as fair and as objective as I can be in applying these criteria. I wouldn’t give another film a pass in this regard for the reasons you say, so I didn’t do so here. (And I *did* consider doing so before rejecting it.)

  • Understand now. Thank you for the clarification.

  • LA Julian

    By the way, although the director and writer were not female, the editor was — Margaret Sixel is Miller’s wife, and thus responsible for subverting the male gaze as much as he is, as well as for debunking the idea that women can’t make action movies. Every time I see someone lavishing praise on how well the action flows in Fury Road, how it isn’t riddled with jump-cuts and quick takes like so many movies are now, I want to shout that to the skies.

  • Bluejay

    Miller also consulted with Vagina Monologues writer Eve Ensler, who led workshops for the cast and crew about violence against women in war zones.

  • Bluejay

    (Spoilers) Another thing I really loved about the film is the fact that, with the introduction of the Vuvalini, women of different generations are seen as tough, competent warriors. I have very rarely, if ever, seen women of Clint Eastwood’s or Sean Connery’s age (and looking it) being given the sort of action-hero roles that male actors of that age are given all the time. It was wonderful to see.

  • I’m gonna say this: I went hiking once with my aunt, who’s in her 70s, and a bunch of her friends, also all around the same age, and they totally kicked my ass. (I was in my early 40s then.) It was hard to keep up with them.

    Women can rock. No matter how old they are. Nice to see movies recognizing this.

  • VV

    How come this isn’t classified as a Female Ensemble film?

  • Because it isn’t. There are multiple male characters with significant arcs and screentime in the ensemble. But there is one clear protagonist, and that’s Furiosa.

  • MonarchOfDonuts

    I think a couple of the factors that diminished Fury Road’s score weren’t as problematic as they are in many other films — learning about Furiosa’s dead mother didn’t feel like it was all about maternity as the only real definition of a person, but a pretty necessary slice of backstory; also, it arises naturally at a necessary point in the narrative. And while the Wives are defined by their relationship to Immortan Joe, the entire movie is about their rejection of that relationship and definition. I get that the factors have to be objective–but I think the brilliant subversions of Fury Road almost worked against it here.

  • David C-D

    I feel like the Wildcard points went a ways toward accounting for the factors that you mention here. Do you think that the score is still too low even with the Wildcard?

  • We really should not see this as a diminished score. It’s a great score! The movie represents women well. Things are so bad at the moment that anything over a zero counts as a victory.

  • Grant McCarty

    I’m sorry but I hate this rating thing so much

  • Bluejay


  • No one is forcing you to read it, I hope. If so, you should tell them to stop. That’s not a nice thing to do.

  • MonarchOfDonuts

    Yeah, I do, really. I mean, I get that this is a good score and everything. Which is great! But MMFR basically wandered through some of the check-box areas specifically to tear them down, but took the deductions anyway. Like, the Wives’ being defined by their relationship to Immortan Joe counts the exact same deduction as a female character with no identity other than “Star’s Girlfriend,” even though the entire movie is about their refusal to accept that definition or relationship. So it’s a little wonky.

  • Yes, the movie tears down that relationship. But it is still fundamentally *about* that relationship. There are other ways to tell stories about women that do not define them as the property of men (regardless of how they feel about that), and so those movies would represent women even better than this one does.

  • Jared Prince

    Your own rules:

    -5 Is there a woman who is kidnapped (either onscreen or off) whose kidnap motivates a male protagonist?
    Furiosa was kidnapped as a child. Toast gets abducted from the rig by polecats. Both those feed into the motivations of Max, indirectly.
    You could possibly argue that the motivation is too diluted, but I don’t know…

    -5 Is there a woman who is raped (either onscreen or off) whose rape motivates a male protagonist?
    Once Max finally bonds with the group, he is motivated to save them from further rape and sexual slavery. Of course, he’s an indifferent ass at first, but that’s Max for you.

    -5 Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist?
    Not just a woman, but a pregnant woman, gets run over by a monster truck. Would you argue this doesn’t provide any additional motivation to Max?

    -10 Is there more than one woman who is kidnapped and/or raped and/or murdered in order to motivate a male protagonist?

    Again, at least five offscreen rapes (and in fact the wives were probably each raped multiple times) and a pregnant women run over by a monster truck.

    I’m not arguing MMFR isn’t a great feminist film, I think it is. But you’re being pretty inconsistent with your scoring methods. Although, I suppose you could argue Max isn’t a protagonist, and side step all the above. That’d be a somewhat dodgy move though.

  • Bluejay

    Although, I suppose you could argue Max isn’t a protagonist, and side step all the above.

    The way the story is constructed, Max really ISN’T the main protagonist. It’s clearly Furiosa. Horrible things happen to women in this movie, but it’s built around THEIR agency, THEIR actions, THEIR rejection of the horribleness, THEIR efforts to save themselves. Max is there to support the women’s story, not the other way around.

  • Jared Prince

    I’d place Max as an equal to Furiosa as far as importance to the movie goes.

    Regardless, I’m unconvinced that some legal loophole means rules don’t apply.

    To say Max, who appears in almost every scene, is in the title of the movie, is our first window to the world, and who plays a vital role in the way things unfold, isn’t a protagonist but a “sidekick”, and that therefore MMFR can have all the rapes and woman killing it likes without losing a point, then that’s really weak.

  • Bluejay

    I’m unconvinced that some legal loophole means rules don’t apply.

    Well, I suppose that’s what the “wildcard” section is for — to account for any other factors in the very RARE instance that a film like this employs seemingly misogynistic tropes in order to (successfully) invert them and critique misogyny. You could consider that a “loophole,” or it could simply be an overall assessment that adds nuance to a system that generally works well on its own.

    A character who appears in almost every scene, is our window to the world, and plays a vital role in events can still be a sidekick (e.g. Watson in the Sherlock Holmes stories).

  • Max is NOT the protagonist.

  • Nope. Take Max away, and the movie isn’t really all that different. Take Furiosa away, and there’s no movie.

  • Jared Prince

    Furiosa was way sexier than the wives. They did nothing for me, skimpy clothes or not, but Furiosa is super attractive, and the robot arm and grease paint just amplified it.

    I’ll probably get smacked down for my fanboy sensibilities, oh well, just saying that you may not know the male gaze as well as you think.

  • Jared Prince

    Except that they get shot by the Bullet Farmer, overrun by every warboy that Max kills, blown up when the tanker explodes, and die in the salt flats. Apart from that, yeah, same movie.

  • Bluejay

    A movie in which women experience violence is not necessarily a misogynistic movie. It depends on whether the women are depicted as objects for titillation and plot points for male motivation, or as full human beings who respond to the violence with agency and emotions and goals and varied personalities and have significant impact on the story. Mad Max: Fury Road (I’m sure you’ll agree) does the latter. MaryAnn’s review and scoring system, including the “wildcard” explanations, account for all that.

  • Jared Prince

    And that’s kinda my point. I didn’t say it was a misogynistic movie, and just because one of those rules gets violated doesn’t mean the movie is misogynistic either.

    But none the less, the way I see it, the rules WERE violated, and in rather high fashion. (Not just one rape or female murder, but many). It was done well though, it was expertly handled. That’s the problem with going around with a bunch of hard and fast rules. Art has a way of subverting anyones rules, even MaryAnn’s.

    So the only way she can acknowledge the ground breaking action feminism of MMFR is by turning a blind eye to her own strait-jacket laws. In this case, by deciding that Max doesn’t count.

    Speaking of which:

    “Take Max away, and the movie isn’t really all that different. Take Furiosa away, and there’s no movie.”

    She REALLY took a different message away from this film than I did. I saw it as saying “In order to take down toxic masculinity and destructive patriarchy, men and women need to work together. It’s in both their best interests, their mutual survival depends on it.”

    Her version? “Meh, men are just sidekicks that make no difference, don’t need them.”

    That’s what you think Miller intended?

  • Jared Prince

    I guess I see Max as more than just a Watson in MMFR. Sherlock Holmes stories generally have “Sherlock Holmes” in the title, not Watson.

    I see Max as the main character and Furiosa as the protagonist, the two need not be the same person even if they usually are.

    As I said in my first post, I’m not denying that *technically* the rules say protagonist. I pointed that out straight up. I’m arguing that it’s a bit of weaselly loop-hole that I don’t really buy, and that MMFR shows that the rigid rules aren’t always going to work properly.

    As for the wildcard section, that could mitigate unintended consequences, but in this case it wasn’t used that way. I couldn’t see a single section where the rapes were mentioned, so the wildcard section had nothing to counter-act in the first place.

    (Looking back, I’d have to dispute that any of the female roles could be played by a man either. No way could Furiosa be played by a man, it would devastate the entire thematic premise of the movie. Nor could the wives, their carers, or the Vuvalini. It wouldn’t make any sense.

    Unless… you flipped the gender of every single character. That’d be an odd movie, just running it in my mind now. Kinda making me laugh thinking about it.)

  • Jared Prince

    MaryAnn Johanson: “Max is NOT the protagonist.”

    Bluejay: “The way the story is constructed, Max really ISN’T the main protagonist.”

    I’ve just realized something, the rules do not say “THE protagonist” or “the MAIN protagonist,” they say “a male protagonist.”

    So whether or not Max is THE MAIN protagonist is irrelevant. Looks to me like “protagonist” is being used rather loosely there, basically to mean any very significant character who takes action in the plot, not just the main protagonist.

    So even the “legal loop-hole” approach to avoiding the rule problem fails.

  • Danielm80

    The Where are the Women? project is designed to show how well a movie represents its female characters (if any). So it asks questions like:

    •Are the women complex, fully-developed people, or are they one-dimensional characters or stereotypes?

    •Do the women actively direct the outcome of the story?

    •Is the story about the women, or are they in the movie mostly to support the male characters who are the focus of the plot?

    The WATW scorecards—including this one—have been pretty effective at answering those sorts of questions. They also distinguish Furiosa from an awesome-but-secondary character like Agent Carter (before her TV series) or Pepper Potts. And they distinguish Helen Hunt’s complex (if slightly problematic) sex surrogate in The Sessions from the helpful prostitute who gives information to an action hero and immediately gets killed by the villain.

    If you want to read things into MaryAnn’s rules that aren’t there, or nitpick away at them in a legalistic fashion, you can do that. But you seem to be inventing problems as an excuse to attack a system that’s working fine the way it is.

  • Jared Prince

    There’s no point having a long list of very specific rules, applying them in very specific ways to come up with very specific scores, only to totally mis-apply them.

    You are acusing me of nitpicking in a legalistic fashion, when the rules are themselves designed to nitpick movies in a legalistic fashion.

    All I did was point out the lack of consistency, and the fact that not everything is going to be amenable to those rules.

    I don’t see it as legal nitpicking in saying there’s no mention in ANY category of the repeated offscreen rape of 5 of the main characters.

    However I do see it as legal nitpicking (and inaccurate) to say that Max doesn’t count as “a male protagonist.” Not necessarily “the protagonist” or “the main protagonist”, just “a male protagonist.”

  • Jared Prince

    I also really like that it was edited by a woman. They make an awesome team.

    The HuffPo article on the editing is very intersting:


    “Being his wife helps only in that when we make something better, 98 percent of the time we agree on the choice. We understand each other’s sensibilities. That’s important because when you are not in sync, lots of people have opinions in the editing room and you can really go off in the wrong direction.”

  • Bluejay

    Her version? “Meh, men are just sidekicks that make no difference, don’t need them.” That’s what you think Miller intended?

    No, that’s not what I think. And that’s not what SHE thinks, either. She never said “men are just sidekicks.” She merely stated her opinion that Max in THIS story serves the function of a sidekick. She also didn’t say “just a sidekick, have all the rapes and murders you like.” Look, you seem like a smart, decent guy; I wish you wouldn’t put words into other people’s mouths to provoke them into answering you.

    I agree with you about what the movie is saying about toxic masculinity and the need for women and men to work together to oppose it. I’m absolutely sure MaryAnn doesn’t disagree, but she can speak to that herself if she chooses (though she’s under no obligation to).

  • Bluejay

    Sherlock Holmes stories generally have “Sherlock Holmes” in the title, not Watson.

    And if Conan Doyle had written one story in which Holmes supported Watson’s adventure for a change, it would still be marketed as a Sherlock Holmes story.

    Mad Max is the name of an existing franchise featuring Max as a central character in several movies. He plays (as MaryAnn and I argue) a supporting role in this particular film, but there was never any doubt the film would be marketed using his name and therefore the franchise reputation.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Suppose this wasn’t a Mad Max film. Suppose the Max character had an entirely different name and backstory, and that the movie was marketed simply as a brand-new post-apocalyptic tale (perhaps titled Fury Road, or even Furiosa), with no franchise ties, but with the plot otherwise remaining the same. Would his supporting role, or Furiosa’s central role, be any clearer?

  • Bluejay

    The male gaze isn’t about what individual viewers find attractive, it’s about how the story and the camerawork treat the women onscreen. Furiosa was never ogled by the camera or treated as a sex object by the story.

  • Danielm80

    The sound you hear is me banging my head against the table.
    The rapes motivate the women to escape and revolt. That is the function of the rapes in the story.
    They also serve a secondary purpose. They give Max a little more incentive to help the women (though he might have helped them anyway). But there’s no reason for that to be mentioned on the scorecard. The scorecard deals with rapes whose primary–or only–function in the plot is to motivate a male character. That’s certainly not the case here.

  • It’s not about what you personally find sexy.

  • I’m not saying that at all. And I’m not going to respond to deliberate misreadings of my work.

  • Not my version. Stop mischaracterizing what I’ve said.

  • I see Max as the main character and Furiosa as the protagonist, the two need not be the same person even if they usually are.

    You’re gonna have to explain the difference between the two, then.

    I couldn’t see a single section where the rapes were mentioned

    Because rape is not used to motivate a male protagonist, or cause him to have feels that he has to act on. And no rapes occur during the course of the story — they all happened prior to the beginning, and they are what motivates the women to escape.

    Are you being deliberately obtuse?

  • Please just stop.

  • Max. Is. Not. The. Protagonist.

  • Actually, we have no idea if Max is motivated by the rapes. No idea at all.

  • Bluejay

    Re: “protagonist” vs “main character”: I suspect he means something like what’s laid out in this article:


    Given the terms as defined in the article, then Max does arguably fill the Main Character role if what it means is “principal point-of-view character” (although several pivotal scenes are NOT told from his point of view, including Furiosa’s initial bid for freedom and his own nighttime explosive retaliation against the Bullet Farmer). But however we define Max’s role doesn’t change the fact that Furiosa remains clearly both Protagonist and Hero.

    I’d also quibble with the article’s suggestion that the Main (i.e. point-of-view) Character can’t also be a sidekick, considering (1) “sidekick” is never formally defined, (2) we’re clearly using “sidekick” informally to mean “supporting role,” and (3) the point-of-view role in many stories HAS been filled by characters generally considered “sidekicks”: John Watson, the Doctor’s Companions.

  • Jared Prince

    Hehe, sure.

  • Jared Prince

    That’s actual a direct quote from you. “Take Max away, and the movie isn’t really all that different.”

  • Jared Prince

    I think that point of view destroys the theme of the film. As I said, I see the theme as being about men and women working together against a corrupt patriarchy. To say that you can pull out the male good guys and it changes nothing totally messes that up.

  • LaSargenta

    There is what each individual man finds sexy (which may very well not include women) and then there is a commodified and processed “correct” set of visual dog whistles/film tropes/etc. that is what is considered sexy … like you personally may not find a particular performance by a particular actress sexy, but there is a standard way of shooting her and standard situations to make sure she’s in that fulfill a check list of things that (straight) men are ‘supposed’ to like.

  • LaSargenta

    Generally people start off with their best argument. That first one is impossible as Max didn’t know about Furiousa’s kidnapping until deep, deep into the story. Ditto the appearance of the polecats and Toast’s being pulled out of the war rig. Those aren’t “motivations” at that point. He’s already thrown in his lot with them.
    You have already made the rest of your post look ridiculous because you seem to have not understood the plot from the start.

  • LaSargenta

    Which is true, she said that, but it doesn’t mean “men are just sidekicks”. It means the majority of the plot and the story don’t change if Max isn’t there. Furiousa still has the wives hiding in the rig. She still cuts off across the desert. She still would deal with the attackers…she obviously has a plan and expected the chase. She arranged the gas for blowing the pass deal, she was headed to the green place. Max turned up and one baddass joined up with another baddass. But, the story was probably the same. Maybe, just maybe, his purpose was to suggest they take the Citadel and return. However, as a plot point, that suggestion could have come from a discussion among the wives if Max wasn’t there.

  • Jared Prince

    Ok. But do you think that the actress playing Furiosa should be taken into account in that regard? Charlize Theron is a beautiful woman. While she isn’t done up “sexy” in this film, and I agree she isn’t being directly sold as a sex object, they didn’t do her up ugly like in “Monster” either. So some of that trademark sex appeal is going to be there on some level, and that’s going to be at least partly deliberate from the casting perspective, isn’t it?

    I don’t know, maybe not. But put it this way, they didn’t cast someone *ugly* or even *plain* to play the role.

  • Bluejay

    No, she’s referring to the fact that you claimed “her version” was (your words) “Meh, men are just sidekicks that make no difference, don’t need them.” Her assessment of Max’s role is NOT what she thinks of men in general, nor does she think that’s the message of the movie! There really is quite a bit of distance between what she said and what you claim she meant.

  • Jared Prince

    Sure, we could rejig the *plot* and get a similar movie, but the *theme* of men and women needing each other to survive and take out the patriarchy that hurts them both would be wrecked worse than the War Rig. Oops, spoiler…

    Oh, and one last thing… You may see Max as disposable, but you forget you need his blood. No amount of discussion among the wives will transfuse O-negative blood.

  • Bluejay

    To say that you can pull out the male good guys and it changes nothing totally messes that up.

    You’re misreading what’s been said, again. I never said Max was unnecessary. I said he plays a SUPPORTING ROLE. And that does not hurt the theme at all, because the story is about men working with women BY SUPPORTING THEM.

  • Jared Prince

    You mean the point where I said “You could possibly argue that the motivation is too diluted, but I don’t know…” and acknowledged that it might be too much of a reach for some people?

  • LaSargenta

    Lemme get this right, a woman who is an actor as devoted to her craft as Robert DeNiro who naturally has drawn the ‘lucky’ card wrt the genes that fall into conventionally pretty American style still is assumed to be put in a movie as eye candy?

    And you were arguing about the male gaze?

  • LaSargenta

    Lol. Putting a mushmouthed pre-emptive backtracking statement at the end of a paragraph isn’t exactly what debate team coaches would call persuasive.

  • Jared Prince

    I didn’t really take it as a *debate* but as a *discussion*

  • Jared Prince

    I know you didn’t say that, you and I are merely disagreeing over whether Max is a “sidekick,” “main character” or whatever. That’s an important point to the greater discussion as I see it, but I don’t think you’re wrong in principle, only in emphasis.

    I’m more referring to MaryAnn’s post:

    “Nope. Take Max away, and the movie isn’t really all that different. Take Furiosa away, and there’s no movie.”

    That’s the entire post. I’m not cherry picking, that’s her argument regarding the importance of the male, ah, hmm… heros? sidekicks? whatever?

    LaSargenta seems to agree, saying “But, the story was probably the same. Maybe, just maybe, his purpose was to suggest they take the Citadel and return. However, as a plot point, that suggestion could have come from a discussion among the wives if Max wasn’t there.”

    And I think that IS fundamentally wrong, both thematically and even from a plot point of view, since they need Max’s blood to survive. (Metaphor, anyone?)

  • Jared Prince

    The fact that I mentioned her role in “Monster” doesn’t make you think twice about saying something so utterly wrong?

    No, you’re right. The fact that Charlize Theron AND Tom Hardy are, on top of their incredible acting skills, also very attractive has NOTHING to do with their getting movie roles, because Hollywood just isn’t into that superficial stuff. Thank you for correcting me.

    (God, I could stare at Tom Hardy’s muscly body all day, though you have to imagine beneath the leather in MMFR. Then again, I could stare at Tom Hardy’s leather clad body all day…)

  • Jared Prince

    This is true. The overt symbols are not there. I’m just suggesting there’s still the covert symbols, that of casting very attractive actors (both male and female) because, deep down, most of us are hardwired to like attractive people. That doesn’t mean they aren’t talented as well. Actual acting talent is usually vital, but looks on top of that are often also required.

    Studies indicate attractive people get better court case outcomes, get more money in jobs, and other advantages that are not operating at an overt “sex symbol” level, but at a subliminal level.

    Hollywood often works on this principle, more for women than men, though being a “handsome” man with the requisite acting ability is still a big plus.

    I really thought this was obvious.

    Anyhow, I’m just trying to temper the “Furiosa isn’t a sex symbol” talk with at least an acknowledgement that both Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are, in fact, very attractive people over and above their awesome acting abilities. This is kind of inescapable unless you go for extreme “Monster” (the movie) type makeup. And it’s a deliberate factor and choice in casting.

  • Jared Prince

    Not “a male character,” but “a male protagonist.” MaryAnn has been very insistent on that distinction.

  • Jared Prince

    If you want me to stop because I’m somehow distressing you, that is absolutely not my intention and I’m sorry, I’ll leave.

    If it’s just because you don’t like a contrarian (but still feminist) perspective, or you think it’s stupid, and I’m stupid, or I’m a troll, well… ok fine, I’ll leave, not much point staying.

    But I think I’ve presented the idea that Max is at the very least a “main character” if not a protagonist or hero, and that perhaps the rules should apply to them as well. Bluejay gave a good link to an explanation of the idea, http://www.davidmack.pro/blog/2015/05/26/imperator-furiosa-the-hero-we-need/

    And that Max is NOT disposable to the story. Doing so completely alters the theme, and doesn’t make sense since Furiosa needs his O-negative blood, at the very least.

    I’ll not respond again. I’ll rap my knuckles on the desk if I’m tempted, and you may have the last say.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Having just come back from viewing number 4*, I’ll say it: Max is unnecessary. Pointedly so. (As in, the fact that Mad Max, the title character, really isn’t needed, was a deliberate choice.)

    *[michaelkeaton] And it keeps getting better, every time I see it.[/michaelkeaton]

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Point of order: Furiosa needs blood, she doesn’t need Max’s blood. There’s nothing extraordinary about Max’s blood, other than being a “universal donor”. (And even then, nearyt half of Aussies are type O, and Australia has a higher percentage of type O- persons than anywhere else in the world.) Max offering Furiosa a transfusion is a nice callback to the first act of the film, and a nice character moment for Max’s story, but it’s not essential to the film as a whole.

  • You keep going off on the most wild non sequiturs and inventing the most outrageous strawmen, and I cannot figure out why. *Nothing* in my criteria are about saying actors aren’t attractive. *Nothing* in any of the discussion here is about “Furiosa isn’t a sex symbol.” (Also too: “sex symbol” and “sex object” and NOT synonymous.)

    It’s getting increasingly impossible to believe that you understand even the most basic problems with the depiction of women onscreen.

  • This has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

  • I stand by what I said. Take Max away, and the story doesn’t change that much. And neither does the theme. There would *still* be the Warboy who comes over the women’s side and learns just how destructive aggressive patriarchy is to men, too.

  • I’m am not buying into your nonsense about “main character” who isn’t a protagonist, but it says right there in the criteria that certain issues apply only when they are about motivating a male protagonist. It’s about the difference between women’s pain being their own and something that is about women’ stories, and women’s pain being something that men can appropriate for their own story purposes.

    Once again: Are you being deliberately obtuse?

  • If you want me to stop because I’m somehow distressing you

    I want you to stop because I am not your feminist mommy and I am not your movie mommy, someone who has time to devote to your demands that I explain things over and over again that have already been well explained.

  • Danielm80

    Stop digging.

  • Bluejay

    There are a lot of factors that go into why certain actors get certain roles, and there’s a lot to be said about Hollywood superficiality, but that is all SEPARATE from a discussion about how the male gaze operates through story decisions, wardrobe decisions, and camera decisions onscreen.

  • LaSargenta

    Thank you. (And I’m so glad you’ve seen it four times now. It is such a good movie.)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    It finally hit the discount theater in Ft. Collins this week. So that means at least 2 more viewings. An then the Blu-Ray will come out, and I’m going to buy that, which I never do anymore.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Something else noteworthy. This is how the two leads names appear on screen at the beginning of the film*:

    Charlize Theron
    Tom Hardy Imperator Furiosa
    Max Rockatansky

    Note both the horizontal and the vertical placement. This isn’t an accident. Credits are carefully negotiated things – hence “Nicholson/Keaton” and “Hackman/Brando/Reeve”.

    * Sadly, my GIS-fu failed to turn up a screenshot.

  • LaSargenta

    I would see it more, too, but I’m running out of time. I’ve got too much to do. :-( Maybe I should buy the dvd.

  • LaSargenta

    Specifically, the fact that you mentioned Monster — a role for which she physically transformed herself along the lines of what DeNiro did for Raging Bull — made me respond.

  • RogerBW

    I believe top-right/bottom-left was invented for Steve McQueen and Paul Newman in The Towering Inferno.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “It’s not what a movie’s about, it’s how it is about it.”

  • Danielm80

    “Don’t feed the troll.”

  • Jared Prince

    Know I said I wouldn’t post again, but I couldn’t find a way to send a private message. (Plus, is a PM creepy? I don’t know.)

    Just wanted to say I’m sorry. I should have moved on after half as many posts. Don’t expect a response to this, not angling for an invite back.

    Got tunnel vision on the discussion when I should have realized it wasn’t working out. I should have known better, it’s not my first day on the internet. I’ll keep that in mind the next place I try.

    My apologies, and best of luck with the site.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “But there’s still candy in him!”

  • I think some men simply cannot bear the idea that Max just isn’t the character who drives the plot here. I think they’re taking it an an affront to themselves.

  • amanohyo

    Thanks for being so understanding. For what it’s worth, after watching the movie a few times, I consider Furiosa and Max to be co-protagonists too.
    For me, the question is not so much who drives the plot, because I don’t watch movies (or read books, watch tv, play games, etc.) for plot beyond a vague desire to be surprised. Atmosphere, perspective, and character development are a much higher priority for me.
    This is a unique movie in that the perspective is equally shared between Max and Furiosa. The audience is meant to identify with each of them for about the same length of time to about the same degree. Furiosa is the mantle of the film, and Max is the crust and core. He’s the buns, she’s the burger.
    I can understand why so many people insist that Furiosa is the sole protagonist, but Max’s weary wisdom is the worldview that envelops and bookends Furiosa’s spark of revolutionary optimism. Is Furiosa more important than Max? Of course, but there are clearly two main characters.
    You had a good point to make – you just got a little sidetracked by labels. The labels aren’t as important as the big picture, and you clearly have that. Good luck!

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