Review: Looper, AKA ‘It would have been so easy not to be sexist: WHY?!’

Poster: Looper

It’s NOT my future, it’s a future where all women are mothers or whores.

Title: Looper
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, and Pierce Gagnon
Written by: Rian Johnson
Directed by: Rian Johnson

So. This was the film that everybody loved. I have literally not heard a single person say a single bad thing about this. One doesn’t like to get swept up in hype, but my chief concern was that it would be another faux-philosophical concept film, like Inception, that would annoy me by being less well thought through than The Matrix (I got no problem with The Matrix, as a philosopher – it’s a handy brain-in-a-vat hypothesis; alas, Inception is not the Dreaming argument, it just thinks it is). Actually? The concept is interesting and fairly well realised in a way that I was not able to predict from start to finish. Moreover, the acting was excellent, the script was well-structured and the dialog believable. The CGI was very impressive and there were extensive geek references (chiefly to the Terminator films, but also Blade Runner and the 2009 Star Trek).

I really want to like this movie. But I can’t. Before I give way to the ranting, let me do my best at a non-spoilery plot summary.

Plot

In the future-future they invent time travel. But it’s so dangerous it’s pretty much instantly outlawed. So only the outlaws use it. And what they use it for is to dispose of bodies. They dispose of them by employing ‘Loopers’ – people 30 years in the past (but still in our future) who wait around at spots where future-future people are scheduled to be sent back in time, then shoot those people with a specialised short range shotgun. They are paid handsomely from this. The catch is that their wealth is bought at the expense of their future. Loopers literally tidy themselves away. At some point, the person sent back to be killed will be yourself. And you don’t want to know what will happen to you if you don’t kill yourself. Why they don’t send future Loopers back to someone else to be killed? REASONS.

It’s a nice set up until a suspiciously high number of loopers start ‘closing their loop’ in quick succession (i.e. killing themselves). Then, the mate-of-Joseph-Gordon-Levitt (aka Seth) fails to kill himself, and his old self tells him that in the future a new gang boss, the ‘Rainmaker’ is closing all the loops. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is next. But, as it happens, Joe is a match for himself, and gets away: on a mission to kill the Rainmaker whilst he’s still a child.

Oh, also? There’s telekinesis in this future. It’s usually shit. It’s totally not Chekov’s telekinesis.

Why So Serious, Womble?

K. It’s a nice idea. Ultimately, because of [spoiler], the time travel is not metaphysically sound. But I don’t care about that. The time travel isn’t metaphysically sound in the Terminator movies, either.

It’s visually very pretty. In particular, it references Star Trek (2009) in the long-view vistas of the city, and it references Blade Runner in the close-up street scenes – but updated to look even cooler and more realistic. The helicopters also distinctly recall the shape and movements of the aerial Hunter-Killers from the Terminator films.

There are also countless Terminator references that felt like they were getting at something more than just ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be awesome to have Robert Patrick Garret Dillahunt* play a killer in a time travel movie?’ or ‘Hey, let’s have a fierce momma-bear type called “Sarah” in a time travel movie!’ or ‘Hey, let’s have the hero in a time travel movie be called “Joe”, which sounds a little like “John” – we’re so rad!’.

But.

But this world is mysteriously populated by, like, nine times the number of men to the number of women.

But the only black woman (and I think the only black speaking role?) is a waitress, who honours the hero with flirtation, but is never a real love interest the way the other women are.

But the only non-white woman who gets to be a love interest never speaks at all – and yet it is True Love!

But all the love interests are either whores or mothers. Or both. The only other woman is the black woman I mentioned earlier who gets to serve the white male lead, but never develop a real character or relationship with him.

But it is pretty much said at several points that if the mean, heartless, male killers in the film had only been loved by their mothers enough, they would never have turned out that way. That’s right: men kill because women don’t love them enough. Even though loving men is all women do in this film.

But (as though it needs to be said at this point) it does not even remotely pass the Bechdel test.

But the fierce mother called Sarah who protects a son that might be important one day isn’t actually as tough as her namesake; she needs a man around to protect her and her son from anyone who is more dangerous than a vagrant.

But her small child has more agency than she does.

And here’s the thing: it would have been so easy to make this film not sexist (or at least, less sexist than the common fair). Have some of the Loopers be women. Why not? If you genuinely think that women aren’t good fighters because they’re physically weaker than men, consider: all you have to do is shoot a handcuffed man with a bag over his head at point blank range with a shotgun who is delivered right into your waiting hands. No really, we can do that. In fact, we can do more than that. Women are police officers and soldiers and martial arts champions and sharp-shooters. They’re not rare, butch oddities, they’re relatively common these days. My sister is in the military – she knows how to shoot, disassemble and reassemble a gun**, just like a man – and she’s more femme than I will ever be.

This has come up a lot lately, and I’m discovering I feel strongly about it: women are increasingly shown as not being serious threats in popular culture. Dredd is a notable exception, and that’s part of why it so excited me. The trouble with this is that it gets defended as women being shown as ‘good’ in a way men are not. Because violence is bad.

Well. First up, let’s deal with the fucked up idea that men should be angry about: men are not born violent, uncontrollable fuckwits. Plenty of men are pacifists. Plenty of men are kind and gentle and caring. Plenty of men don’t think war is the answer. And, although you’d never know it from Looper, there are just as many fathers as there are mothers. Even if you want to blame bad men as coming from bad parents, why pick on the mothers? Why not ask: where the fuck are the fathers? But it’s so indoctrinated to think of child rearing as a female preserve that the question doesn’t even seem to occur to the writer of this film. The only father figures are the older loopers, who are complicit in the continuation of violence.

Second of all, I may not believe that violence is the answer, but being perceived as ‘good girls’ doesn’t keep women safe. And no, I am not, and would never, advocate violence against men, but the fact that violence is routinely expected (or at least conceivable) from men, and routinely dismissed as a likely response from women, means that women’s freedoms are curtailed in a way men’s aren’t, and that women are more likely to back down than men. That man cat-calling me is a twat, but who knows what he’ll do if I respond? Keep your head down, keep moving, try not to be noticed, run away. And why does he do that? Because it costs him nothing. It’s not simply that he’s been raised in a culture where he’s somehow got the idea that women might respond positively to such treatment: it’s that he doesn’t fear any kind of reprisal from women. He has nothing to lose. And this is at it’s tamest end. It’s realised in terrifying tales like this, which has been doing the rounds on tumblr, and which details everyday harassment and is still not the worst, because in the end it only involved the threat of violence. It is best summed up in the words of Margaret Atwood (as quoted by Mary Dickson in ‘A Woman’s Worst Nightmare‘):

A woman’s worst nightmare? That’s pretty easy. Novelist Margaret Atwood writes that when she asked a male friend why men feel threatened by women, he answered, “They are afraid women will laugh at them.” When she asked a group of women why they feel threatened by men, they said, “We’re afraid of being killed”.

As long as women are perceived as only having the weapon of their laughter, and as long as all men are presented as potential killers if women fail to offer them the expected love, this sort of inequality will be endlessly perpetuated. Ironic, really, when the message of Looper seems to be that if women love men enough they may turn out OK. It’s this sort of shit that means that Chris Brown thinks it’s funny to have a tattoo of what looks an awful lot like the bruised and broken face of his ex-girlfriend, who he was actually convicted of beating to a bloody pulp. Because why not? The worst she could do was get him sentenced to community service. And he did that, so now he can do whatever he likes. Including laugh in her face about it when she’s not even there.

So, that’s why I’m mad. Especially because this is nothing more than what is standard. Because I’m presumably supposed to be grateful there was a woman at least making a show of being tough until a man came along to do it properly for her. And more so because it made a show of using the tropes of the iconic depiction of strength that is Sarah Connor. All those geek references? They were just for geek-kudos. It spits on the memory of Sarah Connor to name a woman who cowers behind men (and her own child) after the woman who took down the terminators. It’s a bitter joke for the woman who took on the T-1000the terminators to be referenced, twenty years later, in a scene where the actor who played the T-1000 a terminator is threatening her namesake and she needs to be saved by a tiny boy.

So, yes. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great. And so is Bruce Willis, and Jeff Daniels, to boot. Not to mention that Pierce Gagnon is astonishing as the little boy. I could have written this review about the impressive CGI that made JGL look like Bruce Willis. I could have written an interesting commentary of the shelf-life of an action hero, and just where JGL seems to be going right now.

But I haven’t. And it’s not because I’m a crazy feminist obsessing about something minor. It’s because it’s crazy that this kind of thing is regarded as minor – as acceptable, as par for the course. Instead of being what it was close to being – a part of a resurgence of real sci-fi, like that seen in Dredd – I am forced to talk about its negatives, because they need talking about. Because I’m shocked I haven’t seen anyone else talking about that. And because, in thinking about these things, I realised that, even minus the sexism, this was not as bright and innovative a film as I thought is was. It references classics, but it is not a classic itself. It doesn’t know what to do with its intertextuality. The CGI is pretty, but it is not the beautiful work of art we see combined when a master like James Cameron is at the helm to fine tune every lighting state and camera angle. The looper idea is neat, but it’s not as original as the terminator concept, and it’s not as fully realised.

All in all: a big disappointment instead of what could have been a fairly interesting film.

*[Edited:] @outofmyplanet has pointed out that it was not, in fact, Robert Patrick, the T-1000, but actually Garret Dillahunt, both a terminator and terminator prototype ‘John Henry’, in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which I think says more about the impressive casting in TSCC than anything else. In the cinema, I leant over to my geek-film-buddy, Lee Harris, and asked ‘Is that the T-1000?’ as soon as he entered. And Lee nodded. But then, he probably expected me to know what I was talking about. Seeing as I talk about Terminator 2 a lot. I think the same point goes through. Time travelling killer/opponent of Sarah Connor.

**And more, but being a pacifist myself and not being in the military, I really don’t have a clue.

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28 Responses to Review: Looper, AKA ‘It would have been so easy not to be sexist: WHY?!’

  1. Brian says:

    There is quite a bit I disagree with in your review, but I think most of it boils down to your reading of it as a sexist piece of art over all when it is really just characters within it that could or should be labeled sexist. Now you could argue, that makes the film sexist over all but only if said sexist characters are being presented as heroes or people one would aspire to be like which I would argue they’re not. (Also, for anyone who hasn’t seen the film, my reply will contain some minor spoilers so be warned.)

    Obviously the main sexist characters in question are (young) Joe and the Looper organization. We’ll tackle Loopers first since the reasoning I see for there being no females in their employ, well not employed as killers anyway, is simple. The Loopers are a criminal organization or mafia, and such organizations usually do regulate women to being “mothers and whores.” That’s not to say women can’t be cold-blooded mob bosses or hit-women, but honestly can you name any with out a quick google search? Comparing Loopers to a police officers or soldiers is an unfair comparison, as those organizations (in modern times anyway) strive for more gender equality. Criminal ones, on the other hand, usually forgo such civilities and serve their more baser natures of being selfishly profit driven (a reoccurring theme in the film but more about that later.) On to Joe.

    Again, I will admit Joe starts out as somewhat a sexist character but you must also admit we’re not supposed to like Joe at the beginning. Plainly put, Joe is a drug-addict, hit-man who would quite literally sell out his best friend to maintain his lifestyle. The only interactions we see with him and women are where he is paying for their services, looking to get something he wants. So there it is, we’ve exposed a large portion of the characters in the film as at least superficially sexist. But is this film really about them being sexist, or is it’s main theme more about what drives them to be sexist i.e. their selfishness.

    I view this film as being all about selfishness. It’s about “Who would you give up to keep what’s yours?” Every major and almost every minor character is selfish and are just trying to keep/take/get what they want. It is in this light, Rian Johnson present both sexes as quite equal. For as much as young Joe is selfishly trying to “kill himself” and old Joe is going about his mission for selfish reasons, Sarah’s actions are also selfishly driven. Yes, I’m calling “trying to save/protect one’s own child” selfish but hear me out. Does she want to keep him safe because of how he feels about her? No. She’s trying to keep him safe because of how SHE feels about him, what he means to HER. Just like young Joe protecting his lifestyle and old Joe trying to change events in the past for a more desirable future for himself, Sarah is selfish. I can’t go to much further down this road without giving away the ending, suffice to say a selfish world is doomed to repeat it’s past mistakes. Like sexism, for instance ;)

    That kind of brings this reply full circle. While I can’t say I’ve proven Looper (the film) to be non-sexist, as it is a matter of one’s own interpretation, I do hope my words persuade you to at least re-examine whether it is the film that is sexist or merely characters with in it for their own reasons.

    • Matt Cavanagh says:

      I didn’t take that the threat to the kid was without his Mother’s love he was dimmed and more if he saw his sole parent murdered in front of her then he would lose his humanity. Just as Joe’s explanation for his act noted that when he lost his parents he fell into crime

      I saw the waitress as a fairly routine trope where the lead in a noir film has a quasi relationship with their bar/restaurant staff.

  2. tinycacti says:

    What an excellent review. I found your blog by googling ‘looper film sexist’ after emerging from the cinema angry and disappointed at what could and should have been a great film. I love time travel sci-fi and the reviews I read beforehand were so positive that I was expecting much, much more. Thank you for so elegantly and persuasively explaining everything that is maddening about Looper. Oh and your reviews of Doctor Who are great too!

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  4. jessiaia says:

    Thank you so much. I saw this movie with my son and pretty much enjoyed it but the whole time I kept thinking “What a throwback” in terms of casting. It was just so damn lazy. Jeff Daniels’ character could totally have been played by a woman, pretty much without changing a line. Female loopers could have been celebrating at a club with girl and guy strippers. If the smaller background roles were filled in with more women than the stakes would not be as high for major roles (although I would like to see more nuance there but hey, baby steps).

    • Thanks for commenting! This review seems to have polarised people. I have a lot of men telling me I’m just not understanding about mob movies, and a lot of women saying elsewhere that they’re glad I said something, but very few commenting. It’s really nice to have positive feedback on the blog itself. Like you say: it would have been very easy to turn this around – not even necessarily by having female loopers, although I still think that would have been the easiest route.

      The point of not having female loopers isn’t that mobs are often sexist so it’s plausible that there might not be female loopers (I really didn’t detect a lot of sexism from that characters in the film – yes, the looper-frequented club objectified women, but a few guy strippers would have evened it up and made it a comment on the culture, not just objectified women for the audience), it’s that it would have been plausible for a mob to employ women in this case. The decision not to (or, more likely, the complete lack of thought on the matter) reflects assumptions on the part of the writer and producers about the roles men and women can adopt, not a critique of the mob. There was no critique of the gender values exhibited implied in the film, so saying that the chataracters are sexist and not the movie is to completely miss the point. As someone said to me on Twitter: the abject failure to pass the Bechdel test should be your first clue that this is not a critique of sexism in the characters.

  5. Juice says:

    THERE ARE NO FEMALE LOOPERS BECAUSE THE MOVIE IS FREUDIAN COMMENTARY. Cid/the kid is the Id, young joe is the ego, and old joe is the super ego. THEY ARE ALL THE SAME PERSON

    • Uh, OK. Interesting interpretation. Not at all clear what it has to do with the film’s inherent sexism. You did notice there was more than one Looper, right? I wasn’t suggesting that Joe or Cid should be female. I also wasn’t suggesting that lack of female loopers was the one and only problem. But you go to town on those ALL CAPS.

  6. Vee says:

    Thank you so much for this thorough and articulate review! When Abe’s talking about retro-fashion, I’m starting to wonder if it’s retro-fashionable to be sexist again or something.

    I’m so glad someone else thought this way. Also, the Madonna/Whore division was so strong it was disturbing. I was scratching my head wondering where all the women went in this film, and why there were only mothers, failed mothers*, and whores. Even having a few women be body guards would’ve been nice. Working in the office with Abe, even. Anything.

    *The Chinese lady couldn’t have a kid, and didn’t love Old Joe well enough to teach him the values of not being selfish, and was set in a distant, unrelatable, and completely fictional depiction of China. (For one, where are all the Chinese people? Also, completely stereotypical architecture of housing that would never exist in a real China: good job film.) They spent two months getting JGL’s make-up right. Maybe they could’ve taken one week off to come up with a more convincing future China. I don’t know.

    Also: future USA is sure white. Like, seriously, where are all the Hispanic people? Couldn’t there have been at least one black male looper, too? On the other hand I don’t think I’d want to see how they’d be treated.

    I liked the film – I thought that the artistic shooting was just brilliant, and the plotting was pretty well-done for a time travel film but…the sexist and racist issues just stopped me from enjoying this film at all.

    • Good points on the race factors! You’re completely right.

      As concerns the Chinese lady who was Joe’s wife – although she was a failed mother in the literal sense I felt the film heavily placed her as a mother figure – restoring Joe to sanity (or what he took for sanity) with caring mother-love. Women so often take on caring, mother roles in relationships presented as romantic. The more I see it, the creepier I find it, and I kind of feel like men should be insulted, too. Men are not infants!

      Agreed also about the other potential roles for women. The point isn;t so much that the film should have had female loopers as that it could have, and if it did, it would have been a really easy fix. Women in other roles that weren’t specifically as acting as love or sex objects for men. It’s a shame, I really wanted to like this film, but it’s just so heavily exclusionary for women.

      • Vee says:

        Re: Silent Asian Lady, I think maybe I mean less Failed Mothers so much as a failure as a character in comparison with Sarah in any way at all, made especially problematic with racism. Literal failed motherhood goes into it, since so much of Young Joe’s healing comes from seeing how much Sarah cares for Cid (I think?). Though, I think that the film doesn’t force viewers to go there – it just went there for me. It’s probably less of an issue since Old Joe fails in comparison with Young Joe, but again, race made it problematic. Some of the plotting – especially why Old Joe went to China wasn’t very clear at all, and the motif of highly industrialized + moneyed China makes me feel like the film was being pretty Orientalist – a selfish trip to the selfish land of sensual delight! But that’s probably a whole essay in itself.

        But yes, she does behave very motherly to Old Joe in a way that’s presented as romantic, which is disturbing, I know what you mean.

        Yeah, I agree that the point isn’t so much female loopers as just a lack of women in general. Even a female convenience store owner would have been nice. There was just a lack of women in general in this film. Not to mention women with agency. I just read another film review by a man ‘addressing’ the sexism in this film and how mobs are inherently sexist or something…and it’s like… wow, that just completely missed the point. (I’ve also read your rebuttal, which was nice! :) ) Also, not knowing any mobsters, and I’m guessing it’s not common to, I’m starting to wonder if mobs are sexist usually or more or less like the rest of the world.

        I think I’d appreciate this film with a huge grain of salt – maybe the whole saltshaker.

        • Vee says:

          Ack, sorry, long point short: failure as a mother doesn’t mean she’s any less of a Madonna. (Though her ‘failure’ is kind of debatable…)

          Also, once again, thank you so much for opening up discussion on this film. It has been really, really good.

  7. Owen says:

    Thank god some sanity! By the way: I’m a man and I too felt insulted and creepied out (and worst for the filmmakers, uninvolved in the story because of these issues), but what I found astounding is how intense and obvious the Mother/Whore thing was troughout the movie, to the point that feels weird that NOBODY NOTICED. Even there’s a scene were Young Joe makes his stripper-prostitute-sort-of-girlfriend comb his hair JUST LIKE HIS MOTHER USED TO DO , and then in the middle of such an erotic oedipus rush he offers her a way out AND SHE REJECTS HIM. Why? Because Whore, that’s why (I know she claims to be an independent woman, but come on, the whole point of the scene: Joe isn’t loved). And with all this content permeating everything, still feels like someting ingrained in the worldview, doesen’t have a stronger thematic point but “Mother: Good/Whore: Bad”.
    What I’m trying to say is: this is obviously a movie made by fairly clever people, HOW NO ONE NOTICED SOMETHING WAS SERIOUSLY WRONG ABOUT IT? Men are just allowed to be dicks because that’s the will of the universe? If a mainstream movie with this level of rampant simplification/degradation were directed at men would be laughed off, and justifiably so. Instead we get this and the entire career of Nancy Meyers, and noone seems to notice. Like I didn’t noticed I was ranting. So maybe they were just in a bad mood about all those pesky women. If I would see what these people sees in the other half of the world, maybe I’ll be a bit disturbed too…

    • Thanks for your comment – lovely to hear from a man who’s creeped out by this, too. :)

      I wish I was surprised by this level of casual sexism, but the more I think about it, the more I think it was deliberate in the writing. I think you and Juice are right that there’s an intentional oedipus complex thing going on (Juice was too busy reacting to get into the oedipus part of the Freudian point, but I think that’s what they were getting at), but I agree with you that it just doesn’t *go* anywhere. You can read my thoughts on that particular point here: http://rhube.tumblr.com/post/34420275348/possibly-the-funniest-missing-the-point-reply-ive .

      As to other people not noticing… every single person of my acquaintance who went to see this film before I did thought it was 100% awesome, so I can only assume that they neither detected, nor were creeped out by the roles assigned to women in this film. And that’s from a selection of people who on the whole consider themselves feminist, and who are exposed to a lot of feminist commentary. The trouble is that this sort of attitude towards women is just so incredibly common that people are used to ignoring it when they go to the cinema. Nevertheless, it did disappoint and annoy me to see so many people singing the praises of this film and no one seeming to comment on its sexism.

      Since writing this I’ve been amused by the polarisation of responses. You’re not the only guy who’s agreed that the film was sexist (lots of people on Twitter have agreed who didn’t comment here), but everyone who disagrees does so with a surprising level of vehemence, and most, if not all of them have been male (I’m not sure of Juice’s gender), which to me suggests a part of it is an unsettling of unexamined privilege. Oh well, I guess if you get a reaction it at least means you got them to think about it.

    • Anne says:

      Late response but in case anyone is still reading these things: Are you saying that a prostitute not being moved by a client offering to “save her” is sexist? The scene showed that he was projecting his guilt and mommy issues onto a woman who is basically just trying to do her job. Also it annoys me that nobody seems to be able to recognize her with her clothes on because she IS a mother and (SPOILER) Old Joe KILLS HER KID. Because this is a movie about a guy with mommy issues who is messed up beyond salvation until he stops himself from turning another kid into a worse version of him.
      If you want to talk sexism you can talk about how the movie is built on fridging women and that they’re all in roles that support the main man’s story but even then this movie seems to point out how messed up the sexist mess that is the “my beloved died so now I will kill more people ’cause that’s what men do” story really is. That’s why I, as a feminist, dig Looper. Not that it doesn’t have problems but still.

      • I’m not sure where you’ve got the idea that I might think that. It’s the acceptance of the Freudian ‘mummy-issues’ as the standard psychological truth (there’s a lot to challenge, and treating it as truth supports its perpetuation) and relationship dynamic (with no alternate examples) that I find objectionable and disturbing.

        As for your points about the other sexist aspects. Yes, I agree. I listed a great many of the problems I found with this movie, but I fully agree there are others. A review can only cover so much.

        • Anne says:

          Sorry for the unclarity and how this response is late again, but I was responding to Owen and his interpretation of the scene with the prostitute because the whole “she rejects him because she’s a Whore I mean she says she can take care of herself but come on” struck me as more sexist than the scene itself (nothing implies she needs to be saved and her job is portrayed as a job, I thought that was pretty refreshing TBH).

          And I think you raise a very good point about how it embraces these issues and dynamics. I appreciated the movie for painting the masculine “you took my family now I get to kill people” fantasy that Hollywood likes to put forward and painting it as something messed up, villainous and deprived, and I still do, but it is indeed a shame they used that Freudian shit to do so.

  8. Katarina says:

    Thank you for this! I went to see Looper yesterday and was creeped out by how limited the roles for women were, to the point where I just couldn’t enjoy the movie at all. It’s not just that they’re all caretakers or prostitutes, but that it’s ALL they are; they have no identities outside of that. It made me grateful for films like Thor, that show even a blokey film can have women with actual characterisation. Your review is spot-on, especially the line “That’s right: men kill because women don’t love them enough. Even though loving men is all women do in this film.”

    Ironically, I had picked this movie because I wasn’t feeling up for the casual sexism of a Bond movie. At least if I’d gone with Bond, I would have had Judi Dench…

    • Thanks for commenting! And I know what you mean – at least with a Bond movie you know what you’re getting. The attitude to women in this movie kind of blind-sided me. Not what I was expecting.

      And I also loved Thor. I think it just goes to show that that sort of movie is *not* a blokey movie. You can write action movies and sci-fi movies and superhero films that are inclusive of both men and women. It’s not that hard! Writing all the characters like they have fully rounded personalities rather than as ‘men’ and ‘women’ is usually a good start. Sure, a women can be a mother. And a woman can be a prostitute. Or both. But it doesn’t have to be the whole of her being. I always thought Heroes was an excellent example of good female characters. Mothers and whores included, but that wasn’t the be all and end all of their lives. And there were so many different women, along with a healthy cast of men, that none were painted as a ‘type’ for woman kind. If only we had more TV shows and films that made the effort and didn’t just fall back on lazy and sexist assumptions.

      • Katarina says:

        Heroes was great. (Well, until it wasn’t, but that had nothing to do with gender.) I think if this film had included anyone nearly as awesome as Angela Petrelli, their world would have imploded or something.

  9. ken says:

    Thanks for writing this! Good review!
    only after an hour did my antennae start to go up about the sexism in this film, I didn’t pick up on the waitress bit.
    Can’t wait to see dredd!

    • Thanks! It’s such a relief that lots of people have commented to say they picked up on the sexism, too – everyone was giving such uncritical praise before I saw it.

      Dredd is an awesome movie – a much better film in pretty much every way. A crying shame it did so poorly in the cinema.

    • kerenskyy says:

      Dredd was all round excellent I thought. So realistic and yet true to the comic. Refreshing female characters. Shame it did poorly, but in a universe that widely approved of Looper….

  10. lane says:

    I also Googled “Looper sexist” and want to thank you for this review so that I’m not another person who tells their friends about it and you have no idea that someone else out there agrees with you. I came out of this movie and was telling my male friend so many of these same points and was quickly feeling like the “craaaazy feminist,” but also knowing that I wasn’t because the sexism in this movie is so heavy-handed that it’s almost hilarious in how openly, blatantly offensive it is. So thanks for this.

    • Thanks for your comment! It’s been such a relief to hear from other people who felt the same way about this movie! (The male friend I saw it with actually fell asleep during the movie – he just thought it was boring.)

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