Weekly Movie Review: ‘She’s the Man’ makes a good effort in discussing a societal idea about breaking gender stereotypes


Ayaana Pradhan

Gender stereotypes have existed for a long time, and gender stereotypes must be broken for society as a whole to move forward. “She’s the Man” makes a good effort in presenting a film about breaking gender stereotypes through a teenage romantic comedy sports film.

Warning: Spoilers ahead. 

“She’s the Man,” an American sports comedy flick from 2006, makes a good effort in showing a movie about breaking gender stereotypes. The movie’s central theme is a good idea, but the writers overshadow the theme with lots of comedy, which is not effective in presenting their concept of breaking sexist stereotypes and tropes.

The story follows the main character, a teenager named Viola, who loves soccer. She is part of her school’s girl’s soccer team, but unfortunately, Cornwall’s school’s girls soccer team gets cut in order to finance the boy’s soccer team. Viola and her teammates then try to convince the coach to bring back the team, but the coach refuses, stating that the girls are simply not as strong or as athletic as the boys. Meanwhile, Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, secretly decides to travel to London with his bandmates instead of enrolling in Illyria, the elite boarding school that he is a student in. Viola chooses to take this opportunity to prove to her old coach and everyone who doubted her team by disguising herself as her brother and playing on her brother’s school’s soccer team. The rest of the movie follows her adventures in disguise and finally ends with Viola winning against Cornwall and proving to the coach that girls are as strong and as athletic as boys are. 

The plot definitely represents the genre of the movie, which is a romantic comedy sports film. Still, in regards to the idea of breaking gender stereotypes, the plot does not illustrate that idea very well. The writers do a good job in presenting the theme at the end, but they miss the opportunity to develop the theme throughout the plot. For example, the scenes where Viola disguises herself and attends her brother’s school do not hammer home the theme. Instead of displaying a meaningful message, the writers just added more comedy. The writers could have added some more dialogue about breaking gender stereotypes, as they did in the end. If the writers more evenly sprinkled the main idea throughout the movie, the movie might have been able to resonate more with teenagers. 

Gender stereotypes have existed for many centuries. In medieval times, peasant women were left to do domestic work like taking care of the children, taking care of livestock, and making food and clothes. Their female rich counterparts would not have to do domestic chores, but they would not be given equal status to a man. Aristocrat women did not get many opportunities to play a role in politics during the medieval era. Even if the aristocrat women had a strong background, they still would not be given a huge role in politics throughout most of the medieval era. In the other part of the world, more specifically China due to its rich history in 600 BCE and 600CE, women had very little power compared to men. Men dominated the political and social structures of Han China. As time went on, gender stereotypes have evolved to be different from before, but the idea that the male sex is superior is still shown in modern workplaces, where the pay for a man and women in the same profession is different. Either way, the fact that the movie did not give enough attention to its thematic resonance is a shame. Basing a movie on a major societal theme, but then adding comedy instead of expanding on the issue, feels as though it is not a proper solution.

Though the writers do not display the movie’s main idea of breaking gender stereotypes very well, the writers and the crew and cast do a good job in being true to the film genre. The cast of the movie presents the romantic comedy genre and the plot of the film very well. Amanda Bynes, the actress portraying Viola, does an excellent job presenting a sports-loving character. During some scenes, Bynes had to change her voice to sound more like a man because of the plot, and she presents those scenes very well. Even Bynes’ co-stars, such as Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, and many others, do a fantastic job presenting their characters, even if they are not teens themselves. Channing Tatum presented his role as a teen soccer player well, which could partly be because he played soccer, football, and other sports while growing up. Since the cast members have experienced teenage life before, they were able to play their teenage roles properly even when they are not a teenager during the filming. Overall, the cast does a good job in presenting the writers, producers, and the director’s vision. 

“She’s the Man” is a good movie in terms of connecting to the teenage audience and following the film’s genre. Unfortunately, the central idea is not well developed enough to leave a lasting impression on the audience. The writers had a good idea, but the execution left one wanting more. I would give “She’s the Man” a three-star on a scale of one to five because the film stayed true to the genre as well as the good performance the cast gave us and for the theme of the film.  “She’s the Man” is a good movie to watch right now to get the nostalgic feeling of being back in school. Though the school life shown in the movie is not exactly accurate to every student, it still provides a view of the normalcy that we could go back to once the pandemic is over. If you are a comedy lover, you would enjoy watching “She’s the Man” in comparison to a person who enjoys watching movies that have strong societal themes such as breaking gender, racial, and even cultural stereotypes.


This clip highlights the movie “She’s the Man,” because it shows the there should be no discrimination based on gender stereotypes. Stereotypes are never usually correct because many stereotypes are assumptions made on a group without facts or proof. People should not judge another person’s ability based on stereotypes because stereotypes are almost always broken because they are not true. “She’s the Man,” makes a good effort in showing a movie about breaking stereotypes, and the clip shown is the proof.