Friday, 14 September 2012

Top Ten Female Film Characters

Sisters unite! It's time to celebrate our favourite celluloid women. This list was, naturally enough, difficult. There are plenty of female characters I enjoy but who are, well, a bit wet when it comes down to it. Tracy Lord in High Society is a good example. Grace Kelly is at her most glorious, has some wonderful lines and she's a likeable character but she's all about the men in her life. I wanted my list to be a bit more kick-ass, a bit more feminist, a bit more fierce if you will. There is no order to this list and so we start with the fiercest of them all.

Sarah Connor: Terminator 2

This changed everything. I remember everyone in the cinema gasping when she came on screen; pretty little Linda got some muscles! And she got hard because she had to. Her breaking out of the mental institution is one of my all-time favourite scenes in cinema. Nobody understands that we're all about to die! Looking at a list of some of my favourite films, it's depressing to realise there are few female characters to emulate. Women are usually there to simper, look pretty and be rescued. Sarah Connor was a breath of fresh air. She strides around this film like she owns it.

Susan: Desperately Seeking Susan

Played to perfection by Madonna, every teenage girl of the 80s wanted to be Susan. She was so cool. Her clothes, her attitude, her living out of that suitcase, her swapping her jacket for the rhinestone boots, her wit: "this has to be a cover-up, nobody's life could be this boring!" She didn't need men, she knew what to do with them but she didn't need them. Sometimes I still wish I could dress like Susan.

Marie: When Harry Met Sally

Rob Reiner hit gold with this casting, who wouldn't want Carrie Fisher in their rom com? I adore Carrie Fisher, I want to be friends with her, I know we'd get on just darlin'. As Marie, she gets all the truly great lines in this movie. My favourite is "somebody is staring at you in Personal Growth!" The best scene is the lunch with the girls when Marie goes through her cards of men for Sally and folds one over saying 'married!" I am breaking my own rules a little here as she is a bit desperate for a man but only because of the stupid married man she's been having an affair with, "he's never going to leave her!" However, I am going to make an exception because once she meets Bruno Kirby, it's all wonderful.

Baby: Dirty Dancing

Baby was an activist, a detective (she worked out who was stealing the money!) and she stood up for her beliefs. Most of all Baby learned how to dance and deep down I believe if Patrick Swayze was teaching me, I could dance like that too. She gives as good as she gets with Johnny ("spaghetti arms!") and Jennifer Grey has never been better. I like to imagine that Baby would have married a human rights lawyer and lived in Greenwich Village. No, I don't think her and Johnny would have lasted, it's a classic summer romance!

Mia: Pulp Fiction

It's fair to say that Mia is no role model but man alive, is she cool. From the moment she talks into that microphone and Dusty Springfield is playing, you know she's going to be awesome. Uma Thurman oozes sex appeal in this and just looks so classy. No plunging short dresses for her, just a simple white shirt and black trousers but has anyone ever worn an outfit so well? She has some wonderful lines: "why do we feel it necessary to yak about bullshit in order to feel comfortable?" and she dances a dream. Ok, ok, she overdoses on drugs but I am willing to overlook that. She isn't afraid to stand up to Vincent and therefore she makes my list.

Rizzo: Grease

I am not sure an explanation is even necessary however to avoid any doubt, here goes. She dates Keneckie, she rules the school, she wears tight black clothes to school and a crazy red dress to the prom, she chucks milkshakes around, she thinks Sandy's summer romance sounds like a drag, she feels like a defective typewriter, she knows there are worst things she could do than go with a boy or two and she sings Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee with gusto. No character in a high school film has ever been better than Rizzo. And nobody could have played her better than Stockard.

Vickie: Reality Bites

While Lelaina drips around the movie being angsty about her work, her love life, Troy etc, Vickie works at The Gap and steals all the good lines. She's hilarious, just looking at her face makes me giggle. "He's so cheesy, I can't watch him without crackers" "I'm late for a jean-folding seminar, let's locomote!" Because of this movie, I will watch anything Janeane Garofalo is in. She's fabulous and so is Vickie.

Trinity: The Matrix and Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix is just a fabulous film from start to finish. Everyone in it is on top form but nobody is quite as cool as Trinity. She is icily efficient and totally on top of everything. She's also good in the sequel but gets a teeny bit drippy however she is with Keanu so she's forgiven.

Thelma: Thelma and Louise

It's very hard to pick Thelma over Louise. Obviously both of them are great but for me, Thelma's journey is more interesting. She starts as a rather pathetic, downtrodden housewife and ends up robbing a store at gunpoint. "My husband wasn't nice to me and look what happened!" She discovers that actually she's hot, she's funny and she's got a talent for being on the run. And she gets to have sex with Brad Pitt.

Scarlett: Gone with the Wind

If I had to pick one favourite from this list, it would be Scarlett O'Hara. Scarlett isn't always very nice, in fact often she's downright mean and nasty but she's such a survivor. She keeps her promises, she loves her mother and she provides for her pretty hopeless family after the war and yes, she has to make some tough decisions to do it but it's do or die in this land. She marries a man she doesn't love to ensure she has a roof over her head and that Tara can survive. She delivers Melanie's baby with a war raging around her. So I won't hear a word against Miss Katie Scarlett. She is the original feisty woman and much as we love Melanie, we'd all rather be Scarlett surely?

Who have I missed? Tell me.


  1. Is this just a movie celluloid list or tv too? If great tv characters can be included then I vote for CJ from The West Wing.

  2. Princess Leia
    She knows how to use a blaster
    She stands up to Vadar at the beginning of Star Wars (no mean feat when we've just seen him suffocate someone with mind control)
    Rescues Luke at the end of Empire
    Disguises herself as a bounty hunter to go Into Jabba the Hutt's lair to rescue Han
    Kills Jabba the Hutt by using the chain that imprisons her

    And she's played by Carrie Fisher - who could ask for more?

  3. Lucy Honeychurch (A Room With a View)

    She is feisty and challenges the ideas that she has been brought up with but is still polite to her elders.
    She struggles with the idea of doing what is proper in the eyes of Edwardian society and eventually decides to lead with her heart rather head ....... by breaking off her engagement with the priggish Cecil and marrying George.

    And she does this despite becoming peevish when playing Beethoven!

  4. It's film as the title says :o)

    Yes to Princess Leia although I am not a huge Star Wars fan.

    Yes to Lucy although she takes a bit long to challenge society in my opinion. How can she resist George for as long as she does?!


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