One of the films most anticipated by Women and Hollywood is the 2014 Palme d’Or competitor The Homesman. As a dusty, female-centric Western about doing the right thing despite enormous and dangerous obstacles, director Tommy Lee Jones’ fourth directorial effort would make a great companion piece to 2011’s True Grit.
The Homesman got picked up for US distribution by the newly formed Saban Films in partnership with Roadside Attractions and will be released on November 6.
This makes the film and its lead actress, two-time Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank, prime Oscar contenders. Swank plays Mary Bee Cuddy, a single woman on the frontier who recruits Jones’ criminal character to transport three mentally ill women to safer haven in Iowa. Swank looks every bit the square-jawed superheroine here, and the theme of historical female insanity is an intriguing and rather underexplored one in Hollywood, especially in the Western genre.
As for the film’s inspiration, Jones gave an intriguing quote to festival reporters at Cannes. "I don’t think there’s a woman in this room who has never felt objectified or trivialized because of her gender," he said. "There’s a reason for that and a history of that, and I think that’s an interesting thing."