Mad Max: Fury Road – a feminist film?

Written by Busra Mutlu

Set in the future desert wasteland Mad Max: Fury Road is the fourth installation in the franchise and like previous films it is written and directed by George Miller. One major difference is Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as the main character Max. Joining Hardy is Charlize Theron as the fearless leader Furiosa, who is on the run with cult leader Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keays-Byrne) Five Wives portrayed by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee Kershaw and Courtney Eaton.

The film is a masterpiece. From the beginning to end, it keeps you on edge and the rush stays with you well after it has ended. As intended, the film is one long journey we take with the characters. Rather than building up to the climactic scenes, Miller throws us straight into the action from the beginning. There is hardly any time to recover from Max being captured when Immortan Joe sends all of his army to seize Furiosa and his wives. 

The cinematography is simply beautiful. To be able to show the beauty of a dry and dying land is pure talent. The rich and vibrant colours come at a great surprise and are a welcomed break from monotonial dystopian colourless films we’re used to. Miller tells us that just because humanity has killed the lands it doesn’t mean it’s useless and ugly, rather even in its death the earth looks better than humans. Another notable thing in the film is the music. It is incredibly in sync with the film from the second it begins to the ending.

Your summer playlist won’t be complete without some musical madness. Download the #MadMax: Fury Road soundtrack now

— Mad Max: Fury Road (@MadMaxMovieUK) June 8, 2015

Mad Max: A new portrayal of women 

It’s also refreshing to watch a film where the audience is not shown the bad and evil things done to the women. We only hear about the rape and being held captive and we choose to believe them. This is what writing should be, rather then showing women who are constantly being raped and beaten we are told about Immortan Joe’s actions and just by looking at his character we can tell they are legit. He’s weird and crazy and we don’t need to physically confirm that he rapes and treats these women like they are things.

We are not things. #MadMax

— Mad Max: Fury Road (@MadMaxMovieUK) June 14, 2015

Mad Max is a feminist film; there is no doubt about it. The characters, especially the women, are however normal. There are women who get forced to marry at the age of 11, women who can’t write their own names, mothers, lesbians, women who’ve never worked a day in their life, female presidents, women who can’t walk, women who are bestseller authors in real life and all these women are normal. Not one of them is greater than another. We see them everyday in our lives and we are constantly surrounded with them. It’s a little frightening to see how much these normal women have been absent from the big screen for so long, that when we do get the chance to see them, we celebrate what is actually a norm in our daily lives. This confirms how sexist the film industry is.

Surprisingly some of the audience wasn’t ready or comfortable with watching normal female characters on screen. These minorities who call themselves ‘menimists’ have criticized the film for being ‘a feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy flick’. While most of us are celebrating for finally watching female characters onscreen, these people are criticizing normal women like their mothers, sisters, neighbours, literally half the world’s population for being in a film.

Although set in the future the film is unfortunately relatable to many women now and that’s even scarier than our lack of presence on screen. One question to think about is, will the film be a leader to a great movement in the film industry or will it be a one-off example we will keep referring back to?

Is Mad Max: Fury Road a feminist film? Let us know what you think in the comments below!