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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? The Night Before

Where Are the Women? The Night Before

A female Christmas grinch is a nice touch for women’s representation, but having one of the three best buddies be a woman would have been even better still.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -20

-10
Could the protagonist have been female without significantly impacting the film as a whole? (for a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


-10
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: +11

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


+10
Is there a female villain or antagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -10

-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional and/or sexual relationship with a man or men? [why this matters]


-5
Is there a female character who is primarily defined by her emotional or biological relationship with a child or children*? (*in this case, an adult child) [why this matters]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
+3
Is a dead father also mentioned? [why this matters]

WILDCARD SCORE: -5

Is there anything either positive or negative in the film’s representation of women not already accounted for here? (points will vary)

While there is a scene set in a strip club [why this is often a problem], there is a thematic reason for it (it’s a vision of one of the male coprotagonist’s future for his as yet unborn daughter, a symbol of his belief that he is going to be a terrible father). However, this scene is also the film’s only opportunity to get some random bare breasts onscreen, so points deducted for that.

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: A villainous female Christmas grinch is a nice touch for women’s representation, but having one of the three best buddies be a woman would have been even better still. And while the movie plays it as a bit of joke how absurdly supportive the wife of one of the male coprotagonists is of his plan to spend Christmas Eve getting majorly fucked up, she is, in the end, the same old cliché of a woman looking on adoringly while a man does outrageously adventurous things.


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

NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Night Before! 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 The Night Before.

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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