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FILM REVIEWS

Lack of POC and Female Leads in Film

By: Isabella Kjartans


Wes Anderson is probably my favorite director. His innovative filming techniques, his unique color-palettes and quirky mise-en-scène is what makes this auteur so special. His style has become so famous, so much that you instantly recognize his films. However, there is one concern that I have for Mr. Anderson. I love absolutely every single thing about his films but the fact that his films lack people of color and lack of female lead, makes me very unhappy. When I noticed that Wes only had often people of color in a supporting role, it made me really disappointed. I also noticed that in his films, the leader role is played by a male but thankfully in his latest films I´ve noticed a difference. In his 2012´Moonrise Kingdom, there were two lead-roles; Sam and Suzy. Suzy is a strong female character and she is one of my favorite Wes´s characters. In Royal Tenenbaums, Margot Tenenbaum is one of the main characters but in my opinion, she is not the lead character. The main lead-role in the film is

Royal Tenenbaum because it is his plan to make the family closer, not Margot´s plan, and that is the whole plot of the film.


In his recent two films, the Grand Budapest Hotel and Isle of Dogs, Wes´s lead-characters are people of color, which is a great improvement for Mr. Anderson. The Grand Budapest Hotel features a Guatemalan descent Tony Revolori as Zero in the film. The film even talks about his struggle as an immigrant, which I think is very impressive and it adds dimension to the character and that makes the character more relatable perhaps. In Isle of Dogs, the main i.e. human lead-role features a Japanese boy who is even voiced by Koyu Rankin, a boy of Japanese descent. Having actors of color is very important in terms of representation of that race and not being “whitewashed” i.e. played by a white actor but it is very much essential that these races get to act a real role i.e. a character who is not a stereotype of their race. Having people of color represented in film culture or even more so in our society culture gives younger people a role model or some who they can look up to or feel like as if they are represented in our society.


Same goes for our women who make up to 50% of world´s population but only make up to 31.4 % when it comes to both speaking roles and lead or co-leading parts in films. In Moonrise Kingdom, Suzy Bishop is only number one of three important roles which are portrayed by women (the other ones are portrayed by Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton). Suzy Bishop and Margot Tenenbaum are probably the only female characters in Wes Anderson´s films that are most remembered. My thought is that Mr. Anderson could or

more so should have more female characters in a leading role. Suzy and Margot are very well crafted female characters, who do not portray a stereo type of women but who portray confident, self-reliant and strong women who do not have to live to society's standards. 


This is not only a problem in Wes Anderson´s films but also in other Hollywood films or perhaps in any other films made today. Of course, it´s hard for someone of white color to write about a character who maybe of another color. For example, you could not expect Ryan Coogler who is a male African American to write about a white female character. Writers often write from their experience and/or their view of the world. Therefore, it may be hard for

writers to write about something that they have not experienced or not from their point of view.


Of course, we are all human and we can't experience everything that everyone else are experiencing. All that I am saying is that writers should possibly try to have a bit more broader perspective and try to put their feet in someone else´s shoes. If writers would do that then minority groups would feel represented or in some way more noticeable. Minority groups like women, people of color, gay people, trans people and many other groups are under-represented in most films. Not only is it harmful for younger generations to come but also for our society. Seeing no minority group represented in films has consequences for our society, giving minority groups no voice and also let´s society know that these groups should know that they are a minority which leads to lack of diversity. It is not only important and necessary but more so a human right to let people of minority groups be represented and let them know that they do have indeed a voice that they should use proudly and loudly. Having diversity in films or in any way of culture or society shows us people that we are different

from each other, but we are all human who should all have a right to be represented and have equal rights.