BASIC REPRESENTATION SCORE: 0
FEMALE AGENCY/POWER/AUTHORITY SCORE: -3
THE MALE GAZE SCORE: 0
GENDER/SEXUALITY SCORE: -5
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: -8
IS THE FILM’S DIRECTOR FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
IS THE FILM’S SCREENWRITER FEMALE? No (does not impact scoring)
BOTTOM LINE: Frustratingly, this film gets close to figuring out how to represent women well but ultimately falls down. It gender-swaps one of the major male characters from the Argentinian original so that she is now played by Julia Roberts… but even though Roberts’s character is here a police officer, we see her do almost no police work; she is little more than the grieving mother of a raped and murdered teenager. The DA character played by Nicole Kidman gets to do a little actual work, but she is mostly an object of unrequited love for the male protagonist. Primarily, then, this is a story about a man whose entire motivation comes down to obsessing over the rape and murder of a pretty blonde teenaged girl, a crime that has remained unsolved for many years. Which makes this very clichéd indeed. If only it had gender-swapped its protagonist instead.
NOTE: This is not a “review” of Secret in Their 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 Secret in Their Eyes.
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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