The movie I choose to critique was The Proposal. I choose this movie in particular because I knew it had a female lead and I was hoping that would help out the score of The Representation Test. In the end it did succeed by passing the Representation test with a high B(10 points). So, yes it passed with a high B, but it failed to include important components of the test like gender inequality and those with disabilities.
Based off the Representation test, The Proposal did a phenomenal job in the women section. If it were not for that section alone this movie would have failed tremendously. The Proposal checked off in the following:
Is the protagonist a woman?
Does the film represent women as more than “objects for the male gaze”?
Does the film include women in speaking roles with diverse body types?
Does the film pass the Bechdel Test?
Clearly, Sandra Bullock is the female protagonist in this film. She also holds a position at a New York publisher as the editor. Below her is her assistant Ryan Reynolds. This gives Margaret a look of power and strength, which makes her more than just an “object for male gazers.” Another achievement in the women category was having women of different body types. Most women in The Proposal are thin, tall, and pretty woman such as Margaret, Grace, and Gertrude. This is expected because according to Giannete from Understanding Movies,“good looks and sex appeal have always been the conspicuous traits of most film stars. However, we do see Grandma Annie who is less than tall and thin. She is of course an elderly woman, which sets her aside from the others, as well as a slightly bigger figure. This however is the only other women with a speaking role who has a different body type. The next part that passed was the Bechdel Test. At least that is what I thought at first. I thought there would definitely be at least one scene where Margaret, grace, or grandma Annie discuss something other than a man. However, I was wrong! There were absolutely no scenes where I could find a different topic the woman would discuss about. In one scene Margaret is getting fitted for her wedding gown with Grace and Grandma Annie and they discuss plans for Thanksgiving. In this scene even they come back to talk about Andrew though. There were many conversations that arise with the women, but Andrew always seemed to pop up in their conversations.
The next portion was toward the men. Surprisingly enough there was two check marks. One check mark for the question of, “does the film include men in non-stereotypical roles?” and “Does the film avoid glorifying violent men?” Some may argue with me on the second question, posing a comment such as “Well he was hacking at that tree log when he got angry with his father.” This is a true statement, but that does not make him a violent person. I feel that Andrew hacking at the tree is compared to exercise. He is making use of his frustration by getting physical in positive way by hacking at the tree to produce fire wood. This is by no means a violent man. We can also distinguish him from a violent man because he is seen as the man who doesn’t where the pants in the relationship of you will. Andrew is an assistant to Margaret. This is seen as the lesser power obviously, especially because Margaret is such a head strong and driven person. This just makes Andrew look even weaker. So in most cases the men are seen as strong and powerful, but in The Proposal we see a shift of this, which is great! More women need to be seen as a strong, independent individual.
A big portion of where The Proposal failed was in the LGBT(lesbian, gay, bisexual or a transgender person) and the Disability section. This was not surprising to me though. In most movies you do not see these, and if you do it is a person with a disability. Notice I said person. A lot of the times you don’t even see multiple people with disabilities; it will be just one person. If there are multiple people with disabilities though the movie is based on disabilities a lot of the time. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed in movies. If disabilities and LGBT were shown more often, than this might stop the stigma of these types of people. This could help people be more comfortable with who they are. The Proposal though, failed to do so.
Overall the Representation Test is a fair grading system because it includes all types of people in our culture. In The Proposal the movie was a great success in the field of woman being shown as strong, driven, and independent woman. Even the director was a woman. The only downfall was that it failed greatly in the LGBT and disabilities section. It seems to me that movies tend to succeed in one area more than another which can be good for that one section, but overall it needs to cater to everyone. All movies need to have a balance to them, and The Proposal did not do that at all. So even though I am a woman and this movie catered more towards me, I still have to give this movie a two pickles rating. It just does not balance the Representation Test thoroughly enough to be given anymore pickles.
Giannetti, Louis D. Understanding Movies 12th edition. NJ: Pearson, 2011. Print.