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:+6
Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]
Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)
The woman in a position of authority is the Everest base camp manager for Adventure Consultants (played by Emily Watson)… yet she is introduced by her male boss to their company’s mostly male clients as the person who will be acting as “mom” to them while they are on the mountain, even though she clearly has significant responsibilities that go way beyond metaphorical mothering. It’s hard to imagine that a male base camp manager would have been introduced as “dad.”
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: There are women in this story, but they mostly spend a lot of time on phones worrying and fretting and picking up the pieces while men are off adventuring and discovering themselves and getting into trouble in the process. Two are almost ridiculously supportive wives; even the one who is herself a mountaineer and medical doctor serves little purpose except to brood, literally and figuratively, at home (she’s pregnant and couldn’t make another climb to Everest, which she had done in the past). This is a based on a true story, so it wouldn’t be reasonable to alter the facts too much, yet the emphasis here remains steadfastly on men even when it needn’t: there are women on Everest, including one who is attempting to break a record for reaching the summit, but the film’s focus rarely drifts toward them or gives them much opportunity to express their own needs and desires. Only the needs and desires of men are given voice.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Everest! 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 Everest.