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Finding Feminism in “A Quiet Place”

It goes without saying that A Quiet Place is the must-see movie of the week. It’s a horror movie that centers around a family that is dealing with some sort of creature that hunts and kills anything that makes noise. I saw it as a double date opening weekend, and it was really good! I’d definitely recommend it. The only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the treatment of women in the film, especially Emily Blunt’s mother character. Beware, major spoilers ahead!

It’s a bit of a weird tradeoff. A lot of the time, a progressive film will be progressive in one area and regressive in another. A Quiet Place, it seems on the surface, trades off feminism for representation of disabilities. It’s a great representation of the deaf character — she has a personality beyond her disability, and she is the ultimate saving grace for her family. However, the father figure keeps her to the side and wants her to stay home with her mother.

That’s not cool, but there’s also more to it. In an interview with The Independent, John Krasinski, who wrote, directed, and starred in the film, stated that A Quiet Place is actually supposed to be a metaphor for parenthood. With that in mind, the message of the film can be read in a little bit of a different way.

Krasinski doesn’t let his daughter leave the house to learn about the creatures and learn to fish, true. But when his son asks him why, he doesn’t answer. That may seem like regressive in itself, as his character doesn’t even feel the need to answer his son. Perhaps, though, it’s because he doesn’t have an answer at all. His daughter, despite her disability, is the stronger of the children. She’s braver and more independent than her brother. So why doesn’t her father let her go? He can’t answer. Like all of us, we’re just told to believe that boys are stronger and that boys are the ones that should take care of the women in their lives.

But when push comes to shove, after the father dies, it’s the women who take charge of the situation while both boys hide in the basement. Despite the line earlier in the film about the son taking care of the mother when the father is gone, it is Blunt’s character that takes control. To really nail home (pun intended) this concept, in the last few minutes of the film the daughter stands in the background while her mother cocks the gun, no longer afraid of the noise that it will make. They are the people that are in control of the situation and the future of the family.

It’s unfortunate that the father had to die to give the women their true agency, but going back to the thought that this film is a metaphor for parenthood, it might go deeper. In order for all of us to really take control of our lives and all the fear that surrounds us, we need to kill the idea that the father comes first and must always be obeyed; we need to kill the idea that the father is the ultimate authority.

What the end of A Quiet Place really shows is that we all have the ability to lead and to take care of our loved ones, not just men. Perhaps it even shows that women can do it better because they listen to the needs of others. Though on the surface it seems like the film is a little too quiet on women’s issues, it shows just how strong we are.


A Quiet Place is now playing and well worth the watch!

Madeline McInnis

Wilfrid Laurier '19

Madeline graduated from the BA+MA program at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2020. In her undergraduate degree, she majored in Film Studies and History with a specialization in film theory. She later completed her Master's of English degree, where she wrote her thesis on the construction of historical memory and realism in war films. If you're looking for a recommendation for a fountain pen or dotted notebook, she should be your first line of contact.
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