With similarities to Million Dollar Baby, The Homesman is a film about an old man who has regrets but no character arc after meeting a young woman in desperate circumstances. The 2014 Homesman film is closely based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout, first published 1988. Glendon Swarthout died just four years after this novel was published.
Hilary Swank has a tendency to wind up ‘starring’ in films which are ostensibly about her — the film might even be named after her character — but in which she exists to assist the character arc of the old man who she chooses (sort of) to come into her life due to desperate circumstances. In Million Dollar Baby it was Clint Eastwood (director); in this film it’s Tommy Lee Jones (also director). So if you’re wondering why Tommy Lee Jones stands front and centre in the movie poster looking contrite while Hilary Swank is literally on her knees looking desperate, we can at least say that it’s an honest representation of the character arc within, even though what we see at the beginning indicates these two should switch positions.
I do wonder if these old men of Hollywood even realise that they haven’t made a film about a woman — that it’s still all about them.