Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About The ACTUAL Rape In The Revenant?

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
Earlier this month The Drudge Report ran an erroneous story claiming that Leonardo DiCaprio gets raped by a bear in the new movie The Revenant. DiCaprio's character is viciously attacked by a grizzly protecting her cubs, but he is not sexually assaulted in any way, shape, or form.

But it turns out there is an actual rape scene in the film — one in which a woman is the victim. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.)

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s film, which opens in limited release Christmas Day, features DiCaprio playing fur-trapper Hugh Glass. Glass is mauled by a bear. While the rest of his crew trudges ahead to find safety, Glass, barely able to move, is entrusted to the care of the evil John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). Fitzgerald kills Glass’ son and buries Hugh alive in a shallow grave. Despite his broken body and emotional sorrow, Glass trudges ahead, seeking to return to his men and enact his revenge on Fitzgerald.

On his journey, he encounters a group of French trappers and witnesses one of them raping a Native-American woman named Powaqa (Melaw Nakehk'o). She struggles, and the camera shows her gritted teeth as the man thrusts. Glass comes up behind the attacker and holds a gun to his head. Powaqa escapes and sets about enacting her own bloody revenge.

The scene is not completely gratuitous. There is context. Powaqa's father searches for her throughout the film, and Glass' aid does have a payoff, which we won't spoil here. But because so few women are featured in the film, the brutality of the scene stands out, even compared with the several gruesome injuries that Glass suffers.

Certain film writers have essentially declared that watching and appreciating The Revenant is a test of manliness. In his review for Rolling Stone, Peter Travers begins: “Note to movie pussies: The Revenant is not for you.” And blogger Jeff Wells wrote on Twitter: “‘The Revenant’ is an unflinchingly brutal, you-are-there, raw-element immersion like something you've never seen. Forget women seeing this.” (How about we just forget about you and your misogyny instead?)

The truth is, this woman did not necessarily enjoy The Revenant (for reasons unrelated to its grisly nature), but I was able to watch like anyone else. The rape scene — the real one — was the only one that truly shocked and disturbed me. It's the one that lingers. I was expecting to see DiCaprio's body nearly ripped to shreds. I wasn't expecting to see a horrifying act of violence against a nearly silent woman.

But what's really troubling is that even now that more and more people have seen the film, no one seems to care about this plot point. I guess the message is, what's one more scene of a woman being raped when there are click-baity headlines to be made about Leonardo DiCaprio and a bear?
Advertisement

More from Movies

We need to talk about Amanda Knox’s eyes. Knox is 29 now, nine years removed from “Foxy Knoxy," from her Italian study abroad trip, from that time she ...
We may not get to see live-action Beauty and The Beast until 2017, but we have been getting a ton of teasers lately. First, there was a trailer. Then, ...
In 1998, two young actors and best friends named Matt Damon and Ben Affleck took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. The movie was Good Will ...
A few months ago, I found myself riveted by an appearance Melissa Harris-Perry made on Real Time With Bill Maher. Harris-Perry had recently left her show...
Toward the end of Mean Girls, Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) encounters her final Mathlete opponent, Caroline Krafft. Cady describes her as such: "Her outfit...
On September 30, Netflix released a documentary about Amanda Knox's trial and the events surrounding it, aptly titled Amanda Knox. To refresh your memory: ...
Most young actresses work for years trying to break into Hollywood by way of L.A. casting couches. Sasha Lane was dancing with the sand between her toes...
In the middle of American Honey, there's a stirring Mazzy Star moment. The dirty, rat-tailed, but still handsome Jake (Shia LaBeouf in his best role in ...
In July of 2013, a horror movie called The Conjuring hit theaters and made away with $42 million in its first weekend — the box office record for an ...
In May of 2016, Amber Heard and Johnny Depp announced their divorce after being married for 15 months. The 53-year-old actor and 30-year-old actress did ...
Hey dudes and dudettes. As they say in stoner movies: It’s 4:20 somewhere — a.k.a. the unofficial official time of day to spark a blunt, hit the bong, toke...
Filmmaker Tim Burton is known for his fantastically weird movies — The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street...
It’s pretty obvious that movie and television characters don’t look the way most of us do, and that it's a problem. But rarely do we actually talk about ...
Dear fans of the book The Girl on the Train: I have good news for you. Director Tate Taylor, the book's author Paula Hawkins, and screenwriter Erin ...