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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? True Story

Where Are the Women? True Story

The supporting female adjunct to the male protagonist is so generic that I couldn’t even tell whether she was supposed to be a romantic partner or a sister.

BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10

-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: -14

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


-5
Is there a woman who dies (either onscreen or off) whose death motivates a male protagonist? [why this matters]
-10
Is there more than one woman who is kidnapped and/or raped and/or killed in order to motivate a male protagonist? [why this matters]

THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0

[no issues]

GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5

-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]

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: -29

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

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

BOTTOM LINE: Women are almost entirely absent from this movie except as mute murder victims and as a female adjunct to the male protagonist who is so generic that I could not even tell — until a “where are they now” note at the end cleared it up — whether she was supposed to be a romantic partner or a sister. She could have been either, which is a damning example of how insipid such supporting female characters typically are.


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

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

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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