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:0
[no significant representation of women in authority]
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)
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes, one of three credited (Amanda Silver) (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: There are precisely two women in this large ensemble, and they are the saintly supportive wives of the male coprotagonists. The film could have focused exclusively on the events on the whaling ship and the disaster that befalls it, in which case it could have featured no women at all and gotten a pass for taking place in an all-male environment. Instead, it falls back on cliché, casting one woman as nothing more than a goal for her sailor husband to return home to, and the other woman as comforting reassurance as her husband relives the terrible disaster years after the event. So this is yet another story about men having adventures, facing fear and danger, and growing as people, while women do nothing but stand by their sides with brave smiles on their faces.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of In the Heart of the Sea! 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 In the Heart of the Sea.