Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]
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
Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
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
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
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.
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.