Is a woman paired romantically with a man old enough to be her father? [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)
The plot directly addresses the powerlessness and vulnerability of women in a historical era in which they did not have the same rights as men either legally or culturally, such as how single mothers were seen as unfit merely by dint of their marital status and might lose custody of their children as a result. Some inequities here remain true today, like how women artists are not taken as seriously as men.
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: This is not only a story about a woman, it’s a story about the particular plight of women in a place and time — America in the 1950s and early 60s (and still, in some ways, today) — that was not friendly to their talents and ambitions, that placed extra obstacles in their paths when it came to mere survival, and that made it easier for them to be taken advantage of. This is one woman’s struggle, but it could be extrapolated on some levels to many women of her time.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Big Eyes! 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 Big Eyes.