BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: -10
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: +3
THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0
GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -10
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)
TOTAL SCORE: -17
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: There’s a female doctor who appears very briefly who could easily have been played by a man. But the three women who figure significantly in the plot are present only for the impact they have on the men in their lives — even into the afterlife! — and whose relationships to those men are defined by sexuality or motherhood. As is all too typical, the men here get to have full lives (such as careers or talents that drive the story) while the women only to get to have those men.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of The Messenger! 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 The Messenger.
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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