Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children? [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? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, two of seven credited (Meg LeFauve, Amy Poehler) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: We see so many — so many! — movies about how tough is the transition is from boyhood to male adolescence to manhood. And almost none about girls at the same precarious ages. So for that alone, this movie is a paradigm-smashing win for female representation. But this movie is also so radically different in how it tells its story, is so devoid of the usual tropes and clichés, that it’s almost impossible to score using these criteria, which were developed to smack those tropes and clichés. That a young girl’s emotions are used to tell a story about universal human experience is something new and special.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Inside 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 Inside Out.