A Girl and a Gun is a Stereotype-Dismantling Documentary


With a title riffing on Jean-Luc Godard’s immortal two-item checklist for making movies, director Cathryne Czubek’s stereotype-dismantling doc about women and gun culture recognizes there’s more to that uneasy relationship than Annie Oakley or Hollywood’s femme fatales and lady terminators. Largely made up of standalone portrait segments, the film rarely circles back to its suburban soccer moms, nurses, tai chi instructors, and one former San Francisco Chronicle sex columnist, all of whom own firearms—most proudly, some ambivalently. It’s a diverse sampling, though not all of the stories are as affecting as that of the convicted murderer who killed her girlfriend because pulling a trigger was too easy, or as profound as the mother who became an activist after the accidental shooting of her daughter who, in turn, now wants to protect herself with a gun. The commercial industry itself is softly scolded for targeting women through fear-mongering and condescendingly sexist marketing (how cute, Barbie-pink hand-cannons!), and talking-head academics trace some pertinent sociopolitical histories (i.e. flower children opposing the war while Black Panther women empower themselves by packing heat), but where’s the smoking you-know-what? Since the conversation is unfocused and there’s no real thesis, we get a girl and a gun but not really a movie.

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