[no significant representation of women in authority]
THE MALE GAZE SCORE:0
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children*? (*in this case, adult children) [why this matters]
Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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)
While most movies that feature women as mothers do not actually explore issues of motherhood as they affect women — its ups and downs, its rewards and its stings — this one does, and in the case of the female protagonist, without ever reducing her life to being defined solely by motherhood. Even the character who is defined in the story only as a mother (she is the stepmother to the female protagonist’s estranged biological children, and the second wife to the female protagonist’s ex-husband) is given an opportunity to express the complications of her situation.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes (Diablo Cody) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: The female protagonist is — in addition to all the things she is for herself — a mother, a girlfriend, and an ex-wife, but her life is not defined by her relationships to men and children. This film also doesn’t ignore the fact that women’s lives do, of course, include men and children, it simply acknowledges — as far too few films do — that women are more than support mechanisms for other people, and that women have dreams of their own that may clash with their “traditional” responsibilities to others, and that there’s nothing automatically wrong with that.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Ricki and the Flash! 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 Ricki and the Flash.