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Painted Woman by James Cotten

Painted Woman surprises and delights with a complex, strong heroine that defies tried and true tropes.

The Western genre is generally a fairly difficult genre of film to break ground in. There are certain tried and true tropes associated with the Western genre that just can’t be shirked off. One of the tropes associated with the genre is that of the “soiled dove”. This trope was what I first thought of when I saw the title of this film, Painted Woman. However, this Western film turns the trope on its head and develops the main character past that of a downtrodden saloon girl.

The official synopsis of the film is below:

Based on the acclaimed novel, The Mustanger and The Lady from prolific western writer Dusty Richards, Painted Woman is a western romance about Julie Richards, a young woman who finds the courage to escape her captive lifestyle after being forcefully held against her will as a prostitute. As she travels through the dangerous landscape of the American West, Julie encounters a carefree Mustanger who may be the key to her survival if she can outwit the vengeful mercenary trailing her.

Throughout the course of the film, it is hard not to get taken in by Stef Dawson’s Julie. We’re immediately introduced to her backstory and, initially, you begin to assume that Julie is going to personify the “spoiled dove” trope that we’ve come to expect from prostitute characters in fiction. However, as the film slowly develops, we are taken through Julie’s journey as circumstances force her to determine whether or not she will accept what has been beaten into her throughout life. Or if she will start fighting back and taking life by the reins. Needless to say, many will be content with the outcome of her journey.

Although this film does have a romantic element within the story, that is not the main focus.

The main focus is on the themes of empowerment and independence. Even more so, change is a predominant theme for Julie. Unless she changes and adapts to the situations around her, she will be unable to push forward. After Julie makes the decision to live and keep fighting, that is when the movie finds its voice. That is, ultimately, what sells the film.

The film is directed by James Cotten. Painted Woman stars Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY), Kiowa Gordon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), and David Thomas Jenkins (Return to the Hiding Place).

For more information on the film’s release, go to paintedwomanfilm.comPainted Woman is now available on DVD and Video-on-Demand.


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Sarah Musnicky

Sarah is a freelance writer and self-described workaholic. She loves fantasy and sci fi and will admit having dual loyalties between Star Trek and Star Wars as well as Marvel and DC. When she's not being socially awkward, she is in a corner obsessing over dragons, cute things, and a need to master all languages on the planet. She would like to be a professional blanket burrito when she reaches the peak of maturation.