The ideas are unimpeachable but the execution a tad didactic in “Miss Representation,” a hard-hitting documentary study of rampant sexism in U.S. media and society. With mixed results, actor-turned-filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom periodically turns the camera on herself in a bid to lighten the pic’s heavy load, which includes a useful barrage of stats that speak to the shameful objectification and disempowerment of American females on- and offscreen. An admirable work of media literacy education that may well preach to the converted at fests, “Miss Representation” stands to have its greatest impact in classrooms and via cablecast.
Only 7% of mainstream film directors and 17% of U.S. Congresspersons are women, the docu points out. Interviewees augment these and other statistics with personal stories of struggling to break a glass ceiling too many think no longer exists. Pic is impressively unsparing in holding the heads of media congloms to account, and its points are well annotated through grueling montages of misogynistic American film and TV. Alas, Newsom’s relentlessness runs the risk of alienating some of those who could be swayed by the film’s forceful arguments.