The Big Short Falls a Bit Short on Female Characters

by Courtney Bissonette

The Bechdel test aside, The Big Short director Adam McKay had the difficult task of taking a movie about a financial crisis of 2008 and making it entertaining. Add in the fact that the subject in question was an extremely recent affliction that Americans are just barely starting to recover from, and the task is damn near impossible. In order to counteract the inevitably somber subject matter, McKay relies heavily on dry humor, sarcasm, and the comedic delivery of some very handsome actors in very ugly wigs, including but not limited to Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, and Finn Wittrock (I see what you did there, Adam McKay, I see it and I like it.)  


Recently, a lot of movies in this genre have relied heavily on flavoring the plot with in-depth back stories, extravagant spending, drug use, and of course, sex workers. With the exception of two strip club scenes (because what is a Wall Street movie without at least three strippers?), The Big Short is pretty raw in the sense that it plays to the top of the audiences’ intelligence and attention span, allowing the true events to speak for themselves as they unravel throughout the two hours.

enhanced buzz wide 3799 1449874909 15Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling arguing over who has the worst wig. 


The bad news is there are only six women with speaking roles. Two of them are Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining intricate parts of the housing crisis and Selena Gomez doing the same at a blackjack table. The other women have names but very few lines, and there is also a stripper credited as “dancer” in the film who, if I’m not mistaken, has more speaking lines than some of the characters that have names. 

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The movie is great for educating its audience about the downfall of the 2008 economy. For some reason, hearing the explanation coming out of Ryan Gosling’s mouth sticks with you a bit more than when it came from your high school economics teacher.  However, the comedic timing is a bit off, and the film at times relies too heavily on deadpan looks and breaking the fourth wall. Despite it being nominated for a Golden Globe in the comedy category, if you are looking for a bigger laugh this weekend, Sisters is more entertaining.

Images Via The Big Short/Paramount 

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