Jessica Chastain likes to look into reviews if a movie underperforms so she can figure out why it didn’t do so well.
When her projects don’t pan out, the Academy Award-winning actress likes to get an explanation as to why the story failed to reach audiences by reading reviews on aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2017, Chastain starred in The Zookeeper’s Wife, about a Polish zookeeper who hid Jews in his zoo during WWII, and when the drama didn’t take off, she undertook some research and learned about the gender gap in reviews .
“I like research. And so I did two graphs on paper, and I realized that all the women rated the movie, like, 90 percent. And the men rated the movie, like, 60 percent or lower. Which is a huge difference,” he explained to The Guardian. “And then I thought, well, how many women and how many men are reviewing the movie? And it was something like 85% of the reviewers were men. So if women love the film, and men are so-so, and the majority of critics are men, who in the world are we to tell that the story matters?”
The research showed Chastain how important it was to her to continue publishing stories about women and different versions of female heroes.
“We have all been nurtured by the importance of the story of man, of the male journey, since we were children. Women are open to that point of view. But it’s really important to publish more stories about women,” she continued. . “I spend my working life trying to stage female heroism, even though it’s not – I mean, Miss Sloane wasn’t a good person. But I want people to see women in a way they don’t usually see.”
In 2016’s Miss Sloane, Chastain played a ruthless political lobbyist.