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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Brooklyn

Where Are the Women? Brooklyn

This is an excellent example of how stories about women can become expressions of universal experience (like, the kind that men have too).

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +25

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +4

+1
Is there a female character with insignificant screen time in a position of authority? [why this matters]
+1
More than one? [why this matters]


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

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-5
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]

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: +24

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: This is an excellent example of how stories about women can become expressions of universal experience (like, the kind that men have too): by allowing female protagonists to have rich, full lives involving work and love, difficult choices, mistakes and failures to be owned up to and overcome, and hard-won successes. When stories depict women as fully human, they speak to all of us even through minor differences in the details.


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

Click here for the ranking of 2015’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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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