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Women in Film: Hollywood’s Fall Report Card

Women in Film: Hollywood's Fall Report Card

It’s that time of year again! Before we enter the glamour and prestige of awards season, let’s see if Hollywood made the grade this fall with its representations of women in film. Please note that Hollywood is on academic probation for failing to improve on one of its grades from our summer report card, in which it received an F for having zero female-directed films among the 25 highest-grossing movies of the season. Not a great way to kick off the holidays, Hollywood.

A to Indie Horror Cinema

It’s been a frightfully good fall for women behind the camera: Leigh Janiak’s horror debut “Honeymoon” opened in theaters and VOD September 12; on October 21, twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska released sequel “See No Evil 2” on DVD and Blu-ray; Ana Lily Amirpour’s vampire Sundance hit “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” just opened; and Jennifer Kent’s creepy bedtime-story-gone-awry “The Babadook” hits theaters next weekend. We all scream for female horror directors!

READ MORE: Anna Lily Amirpour is the Raddest Director Working Right Now

A to Emma Watson

For the inspirational speech she delivered at the UN (to a standing ovation), calling for more men to join the fight for gender equality with a new campaign called HeForShe. One hundred points to Gryffindor!

B+ to Superhero Movies

Superhero cinema has never exactly made the honor roll when it comes to women, but when Marvel announced its movie rollout through 2019, its very first female-led superhero movie was tucked in there among the “Thor” sequels: “Captain Marvel,” due out in 2018. Jena Malone is rumored to be playing a female Robin in DC’s upcoming “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and in a very exciting (possible) development, “Breaking Bad” director Michelle MacLaren is reportedly the frontrunner to helm DC’s “Wonder Woman.” We’re withholding the A for when the speculation proves true—and when the genre continues the trend.

F to The Internet

Where misogyny is alive and well. This fall was pretty grim, with the celebrity nude photo leak and the explosion of the Gamergate controversy in the world of gaming, film’s nerdy cousin. Women like Jennifer Lawrence and Felicia Day get As for standing their ground in the face of blatant misogyny; Lawrence rightly refused to apologize for taking private photographs and unequivocally asserted that the leak was a sex crime, and Day spoke out publicly against Gamergate despite fear of backlash (and unlike famous male gamers who were critical of the movement, she was almost immediately doxxed).

A to Paul Feig

“The Bridesmaids” and “The Heat” filmmaker has announced his plans to direct an all-female version of “Ghostbusters,” continuing his streak of bringing awesome female-centric comedies to the world. “I’m making a new Ghostbusters,” he tweeted, “and yes, it will star hilarious women. That’s who I’m gonna call.”

READ MORE: 14 Indie Actresses Who Should Star in the Female-Led “Ghostbusters” Sequel

A to The MacArthur Foundation

For awarding one of their “genius” grants to cartoonist Alison Bechdel, who invented the Bechdel test in a 1985 comic strip. For a film to pass the Bechdel test, it must have at least two female characters that speak to each other about something other than a man. As Soraya Nadia McDonald writes in The Washington Post, Bechdel “changed the way we think about and discuss film.” Sounds pretty genius to us.

C+ to Gone Girl

Also known as the film that launched a thousand think pieces—or the highest-grossing movie of the fall (by a decisive $52 million). No spoilers here, but a girl got gone and the misogyny debate got going. I give screenwriter Gillian Flynn (who adapted her own wildly popular novel) and director David Fincher enormous credit for making a provocative and complex film to inspire such a lively debate, but fall somewhere in the middle of it. “Gone Girl” gets a respectable C+ for its flawed feminism—and for passing the Bechdel test.

This story originally appeared on Film Independent’s web site and is being republished with their permission.

READ MORE: Girl Found: “Gone Girl”‘s Boring Masochism

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