“Let Her Go”: A Most Depressing Supercut

Here's one trope we need to let go.

I don't like most supercuts. Usually they're pointless collections of miscellaneous nonsense that have nothing to say - "Check out this supercut of people saying 'the' in the Star Wars films!" - but this one, Let Her Go, is different. It takes a very common movie cliche and, through repetition, allows us to see just how stunningy prevalent it is. 

The cliche: a villain menacing a woman while a hero warns him to 'Let her go.' Taken on its own, in any one movie, it isn't a big deal. But when placed into this context you start to understand the suffocating weight of this trope; women in movies are usually damsels in distress or plot motivators. It happens again and again, and this supercut, being made by HuffPo, isn't even deep - it's mostly modern films, and this trope has been happening since the silent film days*. You can probably name most of the heroes in this supercut, but can you name the victims?

Women and men should be equally victimized, menaced, abused and kidnapped in film, but that simply isn't how it works. Women overwhelmingly exist in movies to motivate the hero or give him an obstacle to overcome. Isn't it time that we threw aside this boring-ass cliche and tried something new... like having women be actual characters in more of our movies, not just objects to be rescued?

Thanks to Tim League for sending along the video. 

* A bit of historical context: You know that cliche of the silent movie villain tying a girl to the train tracks so the hero can rescue her? Not actually a silent film trope. It pretty much never happens in silent films, and the most famous example is actually from a Mack Sennett comedy short making fun of it. It's likely that the 'tied to train tracks' thing came from the stage and pulps, and only appeared in slient films as a cheeky joke. The more you know. 

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