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How Netflix’s Bright Failed to Ignite its Female Characters

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How Netflix’s Bright Failed to Ignite its Female Characters

David Ayer’s latest feature, Bright, written by controversial screenwriter Max Landis, has been dubbed one of the worst films of the year by a number of critics. And while there are certainly some bright spots (pun intended), the film ultimately fails to succeed on more than a few fronts. Perhaps the most shocking, however, is the film’s inability to properly make use of its female characters.

RELATED: Netflix’s Bright Snares 11 Million Viewers Over Opening Weekend

Bright tells the story of a cop named Daryl Ward (Will Smith) and an Orc named Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) as they learn to work together in a world full of racial tensions between humans, Orcs, fairies and Elves. Jakoby, who has joined the force as a diversity hire, simply wants to be a cop. However, Ward is struggling to come to terms with his partner being an Orc when he’s shot by an unknown Orc while waiting on his partner. It’s this opening that brings us to our first female character in Bright, Ward’s wife, Sherri, played by actress Dawn Olivieri.

Olivieri’s character’s screen time can’t be more than fifteen minutes max in Bright, because her character essentially exists to try and prevent Ward from working not only on the force, but alongside Jakoby, for fear that she’ll lose him. With the film taking place over the course of a day, Sherri seemingly disappears until the very end, at which point she returns with absolutely no dialogue. There’s no character growth, nothing showing that she’s overcome the hatred of Orcs after one came to the rescue of her husband. Nothing.

But Sherri’s lack of character growth and development is nothing when compared to both Leilah, played by the wonderful Noomi Rapace, and Tikka, played by Lucy Fry, the two central female characters throughout Bright.

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