Last Christmas (2019)
Without having seen Last Christmas—it will not be released until November—it is still possible to say that it will score better for women’s presence and voice than the vast majority of Christmas movies. This is apparent from the trailer. For one thing the protagonist is a woman (Emilia Clarke), something that is very rare for Christmas movies. Also, there appear to be at least two other significant female characters (Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson). There are also other female characters (Clarke’s sister and her doctor). Moreover, it is clear that the female characters have exchanges about things besides men (Bechdel test pass), and they share some congenial moments. It even seems to include affection between women—another rarity in film. Also, it appears to be devoid of violence against women (VAW). Chances are the story will be interesting; the screenplay was written by Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, 1995) and Bryony Kimmings. One thing is certain: it will have more to offer female viewers than most Christmas movies. Even Love Actually (2003), which includes several significant female characters, does not have a female protagonist.
© 2019 Alline Cormier
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962), ranked fifth on the American Film Institute's list of 100 greatest American movies of all time, is considered by some to be the greatest action/adventure movie ever made. It runs over 3.5 hours and includes many, many speaking parts, as well as several significant male characters (Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Omar Sharif, Claude Rains, etc.). It is an entertaining epic. However, it is completely devoid of female characters. No women ever speak. Not once. In fact, females get less than two minutes of screen time, divided up between four scenes. In the first scene to include females they watch O’Toole and Quinn drink. In the second they watch men ride away. In the third the women are dead. In the fourth half a dozen nurses walk around a military hospital. So this Technicolor classic, considered to be an example of great filmmaking, scores terribly for women's presence and voice. For male viewers this may not constitute a problem, but many women, myself included, enjoy hearing women speak.
© 2019 Alline Cormier