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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Longest Ride

Where Are the Women? The Longest Ride

One complex female character in the ensemble, driven by career ambitions as well as romantic ones, saves the film from scoring more poorly than it does.

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: +1

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: -5

-5
Is a woman introduced ass-first? [why this matters]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -15

-5
Is there a female character whose primary goal is to become a mother? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children*? [why this matters] (*in this case, an adult child)


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
+3
Is a dead father also mentioned? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: 0

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

No.

TOTAL SCORE: -9

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Alas that two of three significant female characters here are defined solely by their motherhood or their desire for children. At least there’s one complex female character in the ensemble, driven by career ambitions that complicate her romantic ambitions. She saves the film from scoring more poorly than it does.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Longest Ride! 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 The Longest Ride.

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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  • bronxbee

    hmmm. don’t you give points for a man whose main goal is to become a father?

  • No. Because this isn’t about men. Men already get to do and desire *everything* onscreen. They are extremely well represented.

  • David C-D

    No, but in case of the “dead mother” you give back points for also mentioning a dead father. I could imagine, in this case you might similarly give back points in case of a movie where *both* men and women are focused on becoming parents.

  • bronxbee

    yes, that was my thinking too.

  • I’ve detailed my reasoning about the dead mother thing in the explanation of the criteria.

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