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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? When Marnie Was There

Where Are the Women? When Marnie Was There

A story about a girl dealing with the sort of identity issues that hit all kids in early adolescence. Girls need more movies like this one.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: +30

+25
Is there a female protagonist? [why this matters]
+5
Is she nonwhite? [why this matters]

FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: 0

[no significant representation of women in authority]

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? [why this matters]


-3
Is a dead mother mentioned? [why this matters]
+3
Is a dead father also mentioned? [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: +25

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

IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? Yes (Keiko Niwa) (does not impact scoring)

BOTTOM LINE: This isn’t just a story about a girl, which is rare enough. It’s a story about a girl dealing with the sort of identity issues that hit all kids in early adolescence — who am I? where do I come from? where do I belong? — but that movies have mostly pretended girls don’t suffer from. Boys see other boys onscreen all the time coping with similar problems, which gives them at least a hint of a path through them. Girls need more movies like this one, so that they can have the same reassurance that it’s normal and survivable. Of course, this film had only a small arthouse release, so hardly any girls would have gotten to see it.


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 When Marnie Was There! 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 When Marnie Was There.

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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