Alice, Darling and Fleishman is in Trouble Earn SOFEE Seal
The Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee is pleased to announce Alice, Darling (Lionsgate) and Fleishman Is In Trouble (FX, Hulu) will receive the Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment. Called the “SOFEE,” the Seal recognizes outstanding new films and television series that illuminate the female experience and perspective through authentically told female-driven stories.
Alice, Darling is an intricate, emotional drama that centers around Alice (Anna Kendrick), a woman suffering from the effects of a psychologically abusive relationship. On the outside, Alice is going through the motions of daily life, like going out to dinner with friends, in an attempt to maintain a sense of normalcy. But, her ability to cope with the trauma slowly begins to disintegrate, leading Alice to lash out in startling ways that threaten to reveal her darkest secret to those she is trying to hide it from most – including herself. Writer Alanna Francis’s deftly written script dives headfirst into important topics, such as the fact that abuse is not just what you can physically see, as well as the strength of female friendships. Alice, Darling features an almost all-female cast and is directed by Mary Nighy.
“We are delighted for our film to be recognized in this way by the Critics Choice Association’s Women’s Committee and honored for it to be included amongst the incredible films selected,” said Nighy. “We’re hopeful that other filmmakers will be encouraged by the existence of such a prize and emboldened to make the films they believe in.”
Kendrick, who also executive produces, said, “It’s an honor for our film to receive this recognition from the Critics Choice Association’s Women’s Committee. Having a female writer, producers and director was a very special experience, and yet even in 2023, a unique one.”
Based on the novel by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Fleishman Is In Trouble is a powerful series that explores issues like divorce, internalized gender roles, and mental health in a fresh new way. Part mystery, part relationship drama, each episode slowly reveals the circumstances behind Toby (Jesse Eisenberg) and Rachel (Claire Danes) Fleishman’s divorce, and why Rachel suddenly disappears from her life just when Toby is restarting his own. The overarching narration from Libby (Lizzy Caplan) highlights that the series is always being told from the female perspective, using each scene to process many of life’s most challenging situations. Featuring female directors for every episode, as well as almost every episode written by Brodesser-Akner herself, it is no surprise that the series is extremely identifiable to the female experience.
“We are so proud to have the SOFEE seal on Fleishman Is In Trouble,” said showrunner Brodesser-Akner. “Fleishman was designed as a sleight of hand, to tell a man’s marriage story from the seeming innocuous point of view of his friend, only to shift the story to his ex-wife’s point of view, and then, ultimately, to learn that all of this was an exercise in the narrator herself trying to tell her own story. I wrote the novel during a time where women were canvassing for Hillary Clinton in pantsuits; by the time I revised it, those same women were knitting their pussy hats. I worried briefly that Fleishman would be irrelevant by the time it was published in 2019. Indeed, by the time it was made into a limited series, I was sure it would be a historical relic. I’m sad to report that it isn’t. The team behind Fleishman is majority female, and our male executives and producing partners were happy for that. Indeed again, we didn’t much discuss the ideas behind the criteria that we’ve met with this SOFEE seal. When women are given free rein to tell stories that are interesting to them, they will naturally meet these requirements, and they will do something even more radical: Tell stories we haven’t seen before. We are so happy that someone noticed. Thank you to the Critics Choice Association Women’s Committee. We hope we’ll all be relics soon enough!”
Both Alice, Darling and Fleishman Is In Troublereceived a perfect score in the numerical formula that is used to determine if new titles, nominated by CCA Women’s Committee members, are eligible for a SOFEE. Qualifying projects will have a prominent female character arc, give female characters at least equal screen time to male characters, have female leaders behind the scenes, and pass elements highlighted in the Bechdel test. To be considered, new film and television releases must possess an artistic and storytelling value and exceptionality, and score at least 7 out of a possible 10 points in the SOFEE rubric, which can be found at CriticsChoice.com. There are no limits or quotas governing the number of SOFEE seals the CCA may grant.
The Seal of Female Empowerment in Entertainment is issued by the CCA Women’s Committee. Members include Tara McNamara (Chair), Hillary Atkin, Semira Ben-Amor, Christina Birro, Lauren Bradshaw, Jamie Broadnax, TJ Callahan, Natasha Gargiulo, Toni Gonzales, Teri Hart, Laura Hurley, Susan Kamyab, Louisa Moore, Gayl Murphy, Mary Murphy, Patricia Puentes, Amanda Salas, Rachel Smith, Sammi Turano, and Lynn Venhaus, as well as CCA board member Paulette Cohn.