Recently, there have been a couple of movies (not naming any names) that caused a lot of debate over female characters, and what the difference is between a truly strong female character and one that appears strong at first, but doesnâ€™t hold up to scrutiny. And, what criteria do we use? Iâ€™ve decided to pick a few of my favorites. This list is by no means all inclusive, one could write hundreds of pages on great women in cinema. However, in the interest of not spending my whole life writing one article, Iâ€™ve narrowed it down to few of my top picks. Some of the women on my list kick ass literally, some do it verbally. Sometimes, words can hurt more than actions. Sure, a Lara Croft could break your arm, but a Margo Channing could reduce you to a quivering puddle of tears in a heartbeat. Sometimes, hurt feelings can be worse than hurt body parts.
Princess Leia (Star Wars) – Yeah, yeah, I know. This one is as obvious as a moon-sized battle station. But, I have to give some love to the character that influenced my attitude to the point where my father affectionately nicknamed me â€œsmart ass.â€ Â Â With the ability to look tough even while sporting a stupid hairdo, she isnâ€™t afraid to stare down military commanders, Sith Lords, and roguishly handsome cargo smugglers. Always ready with a one-liner and a laser pistol, sheâ€™s not afraid to jump into the battle or the garbage pit. Iâ€™m glad Carrie Fisher had made a sort of peace with this character, because this is one of my all time favorites.
Margo Channing (All About Eve) â€“ Another fairly obvious choice, and hereâ€™s why: Margo, played by the fabulous Bette Davis, dispels the notion that strong women want weak, puny men they can henpeck to death. Margoâ€™s lover, Bill, not only wouldnâ€™t take orders from her (not that she ever issued them), he is not afraid to call her on her bullshit. And she loves that quality in him. Margo and Bill are my idea of a perfect relationship. She is a great combination, sheâ€™s as tough as nails, flawed and often hard to live with, but sheâ€™s also that friend who has your back no matter what happens.
Wing Chun (Wing Chung) â€“ Based on a real life historical figure, played by Michelle Yeoh. When bandits arrive to loot the town and kidnap a young woman, it falls to Wing Chun to save everyone. More than just a humble tofu vendor, sheâ€™s also a martial arts expert, and handily dispatches the bandits with gracefulness and strength. After the head bandit challenges her to a fight, she discovers a way to defeat his impenetrable â€œcotton bellyâ€ and wins the challenge. In an interesting reversal of gender roles, she gets the climactic final big battle all to herself, while her boyfriend waits anxiously outside for her to return. No one has to rush in and â€œsaveâ€ her, she takes care of herself.
Debi Newberry (Grosse Pointe Blank) â€“ Debi (Minnie Driver) gets to live out a lot of womenâ€™s fantasies: the guy who ditched her on prom night shows up out of the blue and desperately wants her back. However, she doesnâ€™t yell and get hysterical. Quick witted and headstrong, she merely demands an explanation, and a damn good one. In one of the filmâ€™s funniest scenes, Martin Blank pops into the radio station where she works, and she makes him explain himself live on the air while watching him uncomfortably squirm in his chair. I love that itâ€™s not enough that Martin wants her to make her go running back to him, she makes him earn her trust and respect again.
Jackie Brown (Jackie Brown) – It takes a real badass to get the drop on Samuel Jackson, and Pam Grierâ€™s Jackie Brown does just that, several times over. Most people, male or female, would mess themselves if Jacksonâ€™s Ordell Robbie showed up at their door in the middle of the night with sinister intentions. Jackie very calmly aims a gun at his groin and dares him to try something, earning not only Ordellâ€™s respect, but the audienceâ€™s as well. Jackie cleverly pits Ordell against the ATF, and the ATF against Ordell, all the while making each side think they are using her to dupe the other. Since other people are trying to use her for their own gains, she reasons that she ought be able to use them as well. Jackie never loses her cool, and when it all eventually hits the fan, she manages to come out on top.
I could go on forever making this list, there are so many more great females characters like the ones listed here. Iâ€™m interested to know who you would pick. Who are your favorite tough movie chicks? Discuss your choices in the comments section.