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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? No Escape

Where Are the Women? No Escape

The only girls and women present in this story are the daughters and wife of the male coprotagonist, who are defined solely via their relationship to him.

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: +4

+2
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
+2
More than one? [why this matters]

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: -4

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

-2
While a woman isn’t actually raped to motivate a male protagonist [why this is a problem], a woman is threatened with rape, and would have been raped if men didn’t rush to save her.
-2
The women whose roles could easily have been played by men are the male coprotagonist’s small daughters. While they could have been sons instead, the film hopes to get extra impact from the fact that it’s adorable and terrified little girls whom Daddy must save, rather than little boys who could man up and act brave.

TOTAL SCORE: 0

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: The only girls and women present in this story are the daughters and wife of the male coprotagonist, and they are defined solely through their relationship to him. He, of course, is defined not only as a father but via his work, and it’s his work that has drawn his family into the plot in the first place.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of No Escape! 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 No Escape.

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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