Where film fails, TV is pushing the boundaries for unsexualised, realistic heroines.
There’s a new detective drama series on Sky Atlantic. It’s called ‘Mare of Easttown’ and stars the magnificent and beautiful Kate Winslet as a hardbitten female detective investigating a series of brutal murders in a small midwestern town. It’s an impressive series - beautifully and ominously shot with lots of great locations. But what struck me about it most was just how rough the usually smokin’ hot Mrs Winslet looked.
Winslet’s Mare Sheehan is roughed-up in a torn jacket with matted hair. She wears no make-up and appears partnerless. That’s until she meets a hunky Guy Pearce and they have a really graphic sex scene. I always thought the addition of a boyfriend and sex was contradictory to the bechdel-beting power of Winslet’s image - that a woman doesn’t a man to complete her.
I’m not saying female characters need to look rough. Not at all. They need to look realistic, though. Like everyday people - not just like supermodels like Gal Gadot and Scarlett Johansson. On this level, Winslet’s Mare is an everyday average jane and terrific for it. I just wish the showrunners didn’t need a man to complete her.
TV is breaking boundaries for rough n’ ready, realistic heroines. Female characters every bit as battered and bruised and three-dimensional as their male counterparts. I wish the superhero films of today would think with the same level playing field in mind...
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
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