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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Max

Where Are the Women? Max

A boy and his dog. And then another boy and the dog. And even the damn dog is male.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -20

-10
Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


-10
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: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -10

-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]

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)

-5
The girl who is present to teach the male protagonist how to be a better person is explicitly awarded to him as his girlfriend at the end of the film, with a line of dialogue that announces that she is now his girlfriend.


-5
The only female characters in this film are present solely to be voices of calm and reason when hothead men go haring off into danger or are about to do something immensely stupid or are behaving in ways that are less than honorable. The subtext suggests that at least some of this behavior is the result of grief over the loss of a family son, but while the dead young man’s brother and father are seen to express their anger and distress over this, the young man’s mother is allowed no such expression. Whatever emotions she may be experiencing occur entirely offscreen.

TOTAL SCORE: -40

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 boy and his dog. And then another boy and the dog. And even the damn dog is male. There’s no reason at all why the male protagonist couldn’t have been female, but girls and women exist in this story solely to guide and advise a boy and a man on their personal betterment, and how that boy and man can have a better relationship with each other. While it is not at all unusual to see women doing nothing but supporting men onscreen, this movie is particularly egregious in how it sidelines women’s own issues regarding events that occur here.


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

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

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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