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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? American Ultra

Where Are the Women? American Ultra

An unambitious slacker stoner dude who gets unquestioning support to a saintly degree from a perfect girlfriend? Check. *yawn*

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: -3

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


-5
Is there a woman who is kidnapped (either onscreen or off) whose kidnap motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: 0

[no issues]

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: -23

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: An unambitious slacker stoner dude who gets unquestioning support to a saintly degree from a perfect girlfriend? Check. *yawn* Flip the genders, and that could be fresh and funny, and it would certainly be different. Instead, this is just one more iteration of a tired cliché that didn’t need another airing.


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

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

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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