Tommy Lee Jones may just have made his own feminist take on the western. The western is an iconic genre that has been around since the early days of American cinema, and while it’s a genre that’s mostly peppered with hard-living cowboys and bounty hunters, it’s rare that we get to see the female perspective regarding the old west. The Homesman, Jones’ latest directorial effort, opts to shine the light on the plight of the average American female during the Wild West.
The Homesman is about Mary Lee Cuddy (played by Hilary Swank) who takes it upon herself to transport three women who were driven mad by the harsh realities of frontier life to the care of a woman in Iowa who has offered to take the women in. Cuddy and the three women are escorted by a deserter named George (played by Tommy Lee Jones) and together they face Native American tribes, freighters, and many other threats.
— The Film Stage (@TheFilmStage) September 1, 2014
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) September 12, 2014
Jones claimed that he is not interested in the western as a genre. “What I do have an interest in is making movies about the history of my country, where I live. Anyone who wants to be an artist makes work about where he lives,” Jones said about the film’s style and subject matter. He added, “The Homesman isn’t a western movie, but a movie that is about the history of women in my family. I don’t think there is a woman around who hasn’t been objectified or trivialized because of her gender.”
— HitFix (@HitFix) September 17, 2014
Ever since debuting at Cannes, The Homesman garnered mixed to positive reviews. The New York Post praised Jones’ direction and called the film “a rare 21st-century Western without shootouts or explosions”. Film blog The Playlist, however, called it a flawed but enjoyable film that still has its merits. According to the review, “It’s an odd enough bird that it’s more than worth the watch”.