The Bikeriders, a Motorcycle Club Film, Highlights a Positive Woman’s Role posted to Roger Ebert’s Website

Blending comedy, violence, and moments of tenderness while exploring the biker code of loyalty, Nichols creates an intriguing modern story of a gangster film told uniquely from a woman’s perspective in “The Bikeriders.” There’s so much to appreciate here. Kathy’s role as a strong woman and a role model is a reason to champion the film. The screenplay allows her to stand up for what she believes is right, making her own decisions, while solving her own problems without a male savior.

Clearly, this is a guy’s story focusing on a club or brotherhood that protects each other at all costs. The women in that era had very different roles; they usually rode on the backs of the bikes, prepared meals, and cared for the children, as they were not involved in the inner circle of the boys’ club or the decision-making. And they were less likely to be involved in violence. Kathy is written as a strong female character, one who serves as a role model for writing a progressive women’s character as self-sufficient.

During my Zoom interview with Jeff Nichols, I asked him why he wanted to tell this story from a woman’s point of view. He said that the ultimate truth is Kathy is the most interesting person in the book. He fell in love with the way she talked about herself, her relationship with Benny, and her relation to the club, including the biker guys. She was funny but also shockingly honest. There was no filter. It could be who she was then or because she talked into Danny Lyon’s reel to-reel tape recorder. Another reason she’s the perfect person to view this club and these people is that she is both an outsider by the benefit of being a woman and an insider because she is intimately involved in this club. So, with hindsight, only a woman could have this special kind of access.

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