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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Burnt

Where Are the Women? Burnt

Any woman here with a speaking role is nothing more than saintly support for the male protagonist, even when his behavior is at its very worst.

Warning! Some of the details in the Score section may constitute minor spoilers for those not familiar with the story.


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]


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

Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]


[no issues]


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)

Those women in positions of authority? They could possibly, theoretically, have been played by men, but since the purpose of both of them — Uma Thurman’s restaurant critic and Emma Thompson’s therapist — is solely to, respectively, 1) underscore how damn irresistibly sexy the male protagonist is, and 2) provide motherly nurturing advice about how to be a better person, it is unlikely that men would have been cast.


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

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

BOTTOM LINE: The only woman with any significant presence here is Sienna Miller’s chef, but she quickly becomes little more than the target of the male protagonist’s emotional abuse and self-serving manipulations… all of which she is quickly okay with, before she actually falls in love with him and becomes an emotional and physical nursemaid ushering him from assholishness into a semblance of decent humanity. Any woman here with a speaking role is nothing more than saintly support for him, even when his behavior it at its very worst… including the little girl whose birthday he ruins by not allowing her mother (Miller) to have the day off to be with her. In fact, the worse the impact he had on their lives, the nicer they seem to be to him.

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

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

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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where are the women

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