OnlyOnAOL: Why women will relish Leo DiCaprio's 'The Revenant'

BY DONNA FREYDKIN

"The Revenant" is a movie about survival, about vengeance, about the all-consuming drive of one man (Leonardo DiCaprio) to punish the miscreant (Tom Hardy) who killed his son.

It very deservedly earned DiCaprio Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations, and he's a front-runner this year to finally win the Oscar for playing Hugh Glass in the drama, opening Dec. 25.

But what's being lost in the narrative about the film – which features snowstorms, gruesome battles and one unforgettable bear attack – is that the film is really book-ended by two women. There's Glass' dead wife (Grace Dove), the mother of his son, a woman who comes to him in visions of happier times. And there's the Native American daughter, kidnapped by French explorers, and rescued by Glass. The latter lady (Melaw Nakehk'o) plays a crucial part in the end of the film, saving his life with one icy look.

"You think it won't end well. But it's one of my favorite shots in the movie. You see the integrity and the honor and the quid pro quo. She's got this strength and this nobility and she found her way home," says producer Mary Parent.

It's why, says Parent, "'The Revenant' is a completely universal film, a universal experience. It's inspirational and poetic and spiritual. It works on so many different layers. For me, this whole notion of who we are and the power of the human spirit are relatable and universal."

And those writing that women won't want to see the film – well, think before you type. The themes it explores aren't limited by gender. It was shot in sequence, using only natural light, resulting in an experience that's immersive.

"After seeing it, I felt enlivened. You're breathing that air. It's impacting you emotionally. There was a purity to it. This was a unique experience. It's very immersive. The film connects on a primal level," says Parent.

"The Revenant" has already earned its share of bizarre tales, including the one about the bear raping DiCaprio. In no universe, in no interpretation, is that accurate. Parent finds the whole thing puzzling and weird.

"It was unbelievable. High-profile things sometimes have that. People are interested. I don't know. We live in a world where things take off very quickly, but this was as head-scratcher," says Parent.