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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Where Are the Women? Interstellar


A couple of awesome women in traditionally male-dominated STEM roles make up for a male protagonist (even if he does get to have most of the fun).


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

Is there a female character with significant screen time who grows, changes, and/or learns something over the course of the story? (for an ensemble cast, or a film with a male protagonist) [why this matters]


Is there a female character (either a protagonist or a supporting character with significant screen time) in a position of authority (politics, law, medicine, etc.)? [why this matters]
More than one (of any race)? [why this matters]

Is there a woman whose role could easily have been played by a man? [why this matters]
More than one? [why this matters]


[no issues]


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 a dead mother mentioned? [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: A slightly positive representation of women, thanks to strong supporting characters played by Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, one of whom is entirely defined by her intelligence, resilience, and professional expertise in a traditionally male-dominated STEM field, and the other partly so.

Click here for the ranking of 2014’s Oscar-nominated films for female representation.

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

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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posted in:
where are the women
  • Bob

    Where are the women? You mean like the 3 actresses who play Murphy, who saves mankind, and the woman who ends up in the other galaxy to continue the species? Where were you when you saw the movie?

  • Bluejay

    MaryAnn mentions (and celebrates) both those characters, and gives the film an overall positive score. (And “Where Are the Women” is the name of her film-rating project.) What’s your point?

  • Yup, there they are!

  • Constable

    He’s just out of the loop. Still… if he had read the above review he would have realized what it was.

  • Watch the spoilers!

  • I added a spoiler warning to that original comment.

  • LaSargenta


    Doesn’t Cooper become a ‘dead father’, too, to Murphy?

  • No, cuz she has no reason to think he’s dead.

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