[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? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a trope of the poor representation of women onscreen that dead women are frequently used to motivate male protagonists to do something or feel something. This film turns that at least partially upside down. A dead woman is what kickstarts the story — or, rather, the news that the body of a woman long since known to be dead has been found. But while that news does have a dramatic impact on a man who once knew her and was in love with her (and, indeed, was present when she died), this is not his story. It’s the story of his current wife, and how the spectre of a romantic rival from before she even met her husband has come back to haunt her. This film may dwell in a realm that stories about women typically do — the realm of love and romance — but its focus on how a woman copes with unexpected upheaval in a long-established relationship is very unusual indeed.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of 45 Years! 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.) See my rating of 45 Years.