Resourceful, deadline-driven Photojournalism student covering hard news, quirky features and everything in between. Passionate about sharing once in a lifetime moments. Seeking opportunities to share the next big story.
- Performed week-long service to fix and rebuild houses in underserved Appalachian communities.
- Work with team from Bethlehem Lutheran Church to prepare and serve meals to shelter participants.
Gendered Representations in Hollywood Films
Name of student coding: Emma Truscott
Title of movie: Nomadland
Director: Chloe Zhao
Release date: February 19, 2021
Movie genre: Drama/Western
Who is the protagonist? (Describe the character)
The protagonist is Fern McDormand. She is a new widow after her husband dies and she loses all of her life savings due to a recession in her town. She decides to go on a road trip to get deal with her loss. She is a quiet character for the most part and
What does the protagonist look like? (Gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc.)
She is a white woman who looks to be in her 60's with short brown hair.
Who is the antagonist?
It is not often that there is not an antagonist, but I could not pick one out. If I absolutely had to it would be Fern's sister, Dolly, who does not completely understand the idea of Fern being a nomad. She does not support her, but she also does not do anything against her, plus she is hardly in the movie.
What does the antagonist look like? (Gender, race, ethnicity, age, etc.)
Dolly is an older white woman with short gray hair.
Does the protagonist have friends or aides? Who are they? What do they look like?
She does have friends, a few. Her longtime friend that she worked at amazon with is Linda who is around the same age as Fern, a woman with long white hair; I could not find her ethnicity anywhere, but she looks to be maybe native. Her other friend that she becomes close to while on the road is Swankie, a white woman in her sixties with short white hair. Swankie and Linda are both nomads and love to share what they've learned over the years with Fern.
Does the protagonist have a romantic interest? What does that character look like and act like?
At one point she does have a slight relationship with a man named David, but this does not overtake the movie, it is just a situation on the side that doesn't go anywhere. David is a white male probably in his sixties.
Consider the plot of the movie:
Which characters are given the most “agency” or ability to shape the story? How is this visible?
Fern is given the most ability to shape her story, even when a man seems to maybe get in the way, she ultimately chooses her happiness over anything else. This is shown through her actions and the clear change in mood.
Which characters are given the most “voice” or ability to speak their mind and be heard?
Fern is given so much ability to speak her mind and she does a good job at talking about what she wants to. She can be quiet at times, but when she does speak, she is a very respectable character.
Are there two or more “named” female characters in the movie? Do they talk to each other?
Yes, there are, and they do talk to each other throughout the film.
Are there two or more “named” male characters in the movie? Do they talk to each other?
There are multiple male characters, but they do not talk to one another.
Are there two or more LGBTQ characters in the movie? Do they talk to each other?
No there are not.
Are there any disabled characters in the movie? How is their disability made visible?
There is one small visible disability such as Swankies arm in a sling, but other than that there was a veteran with PTSD and many characters with non-visible illnesses such as mental health issues and illnesses.
Does the movie include depictions of romance? How is that romance portrayed and who is involved in it?
It does have subtle depictions of romance between Fern and David. There is no physical romance shown, but there is clearly a love between them. She ultimately doesn't act on this connection she has when he decides to stay at his son's house.
Does the movie include depictions of violence? How is that violence portrayed and who is the victim of it?
No, this movie did not have any violence in it.
Are there characters who die during the movie? Who survives in the end?
Her friend Swankie she met while traveling dies of cancer in the movie, everyone else survives.
Any last observations that you would like to add?
Many of the character in this film play themselves. They have the same names as they do in real life and are nomads. This is so amazing considering how well the movie turned out. There was of course still acting in the movie, but some of the characters were not actors and I think that is an amazingly bold move to take as a director. I would also like to point out that it does indeed pass the bechdel test with mostly women characters interacting with other women characters over things that are not men! It is refreshing to see this in a movie, it seems to be so rare.
Chloe Zaoh did a great job with gender in this movie, but I would not say it's high up in the diversity of race and sexuality. Most of the characters were straight and white. There were a few people of color who played small roles in the background, but other than that it was not widely diverse.
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