Is there a woman who is mostly pretty awesome and perfect who is present to support a man improving himself? [why this matters]
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE:+3
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is femininity used as a joke (ie, a man crossdressing for humorous intent) in passing? [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 there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? Yes (Niki Caro) (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of three credited (Bettina Gilois) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Women barely exist in this movie except as supporting characters to their sons, boyfriends, and husbands. Behold yet another stock supportive wife: noble, long-suffering, making the best of the messes her husband is constantly getting their family into.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of McFarland USA (aka McFarland)! 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 McFarland USA (aka McFarland).