Last night I analysed King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017, US$139 million at the worldwide box office) for my upcoming book on the sexualization of women in media. This is a Guy Ritchie directed PG-13 movie. Two women are murdered within the first 15 minutes (one is killed by her husband), and two more women are murdered before the end, including one killed by her father. Sexualization isn't an issue here. However, my book covers much more than the sexualization of women in media. There is also a significant focus on violence against women and portrayals of women (voice and presence).
In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword women's voice and presence and violence against women are the real problems. It fails the Bechdel test (a test that serves as an indicator of the active presence of women in movies) because no two named female characters ever speak. Even though the movie runs two hours the filmmakers only found time to have women speak to men. If this does not strike you as odd ask yourself how many movies you can name in which men never speak audibly to other men. Moreover, women only play supportive roles here--overwhelmingly wives, mothers, daughters and prostitutes. So as far as voice and presence go it scores poorly. Then there is the violence: a man stabs his wife, his daughter and his sister-in-law and another woman has her throat slit by a man. Also, another woman finds herself in fear of death (a man holds a dagger to her throat) and women are beaten by men. As if all this were not enough women are ordered about, for instance when Jude Law says to Annabelle Wallis,“Bring us something to eat” and “Sit down.” #GuyRitchie's #KingArthur movie has little to offer a female audience.
© 2018 Alline Cormier