Normally I deduct 5 points for a film that romantically pairs a woman with a man old enough to be her father [why this matters
]. I’m not doing that here for several reasons, even though the central relationship in the movie is between a 15-year-old girl and a 35-year-old man. This dynamic is typically the unthinking result of Hollywood’s general unwillingness to cast actresses above the age of 35 in romantic or sexual roles, which is how we end up with 60-year-old+ actors paired with women 20, 30, or 40 years younger than them. These pairings are usually treated onscreen as “normal” and nothing to be commented upon; there almost never a narrative or thematic purpose to the age difference, and it passes by unnoticed by everyone onscreen. And the issue that is problematic for women’s representation onscreen is the near-absence of women actors over a certain age in romantic roles. In the case of this film, however, the inappropriateness of the age difference is entirely the point. The fact that the girl is the protagonist, and not an adjunct to a man, is another mitigating factor. Also, while the characters may be separated by 20 years, the actors are not: Bel Powley is 23, and Alexander Skarsgård is 39, and even under my own rules, 16 years’ difference in age isn’t quite
enough to earn the deduction of 5 points; I’ve been using 18 years difference between the actors’ own ages (as character ages aren’t usually mentioned) as the minimum to trip this criterion.
I’m giving back the points deducted in the Male Gaze section for “a female character with significant screen time who bares her breasts” and “a woman introduced ass-first” because neither of these are about the female protagonist being treated like a decorative object for the viewing pleasure of the audience and everything about her claiming and enjoying her own body and her own sexuality for herself.