Brie Larson is right: We do need more women in film criticism


Brie Larson wants to see more women becoming film critics. But just why is it so important for women to review popular box-office movies?

Lately, there has been a lot of conversation in the media about film criticism and the gender disparity that exists within it. Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson ignited conversation about this very topic when she called for more women’s voices in film criticism during her speech at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards in Los Angeles.

Larson cited a study by USC that shows that, in the reviews of top box-office films that were studied, 80 percent of movie critics were men, and only 2.5 percent of them were women of color.

Larson called for the representation of more diverse voices, saying, “I don’t need a 40-year-old white dude to tell me what didn’t work about A Wrinkle in Time. It wasn’t made for him! I want to know what it meant to women of color, biracial women, to teen women of color.”

In general, it is important to have a diverse range of voices in the criticism of popular films, but it’s especially important when those films are created by or starring women, and specifically, women of marginalized identities. Movies that feature women of color, queer and trans women, disabled women, or any other marginalized group should be reviewed by people that reflect the diversity within the film.

The lack of women in film criticism also likely means less opportunities for women in film overall, an area of representation which is already lacking. And to change this, it’s important for women to not only make films, but also to be critics of them.

Women’s voices should be elevated in reviews of female-led films, but also of all different types of film. We need more women’s voices in the criticism of genres that are generally male dominated, including documentary, science fiction, and horror.

Platforms like Twitter and Letterboxd make it easier than ever for young movie buffs to get into film criticism, as they are accessible to anyone with a smartphone or computer. But these sites can often be a tricky landscape for women to navigate, especially when they get challenged or harassed by men in the comments, discouraging a lot of women from publicly reviewing films.

Film criticism should be a safe space for people of any gender, ethnicity, or level of education to voice their opinions, and we need to call for more platforms to explicitly elevate the voice of marginalized groups, especially when it comes to the criticism of major box-office pictures. Visibility matters!

Hopefully, more celebrities like Brie Larson will speak out about this issue, and more women will feel safe and encouraged to find their own voices as film critics. The more women’s voices we hear in popular reviews, the more well rounded the criticism will be, and the more opportunities there will be for women and people of marginalized identities in film.

Related Story. 20 women under 30 who are making a difference. light

Do you think we need more women’s voices when it comes to film criticism? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!