Saturday, 7 March 2015

These are a Few of My Favourite Ladies

The 8th of March is International Women's Day and to celebrate here are some of my favourite characters who happen to be women.

1. Eve Harrington, played by Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve
'See anything you like?'
I have already written about my love for this movie (see here) and a large part of that love is for this lady. Eve is smart, funny, a bit devious, sports a great wardrobe, surprisingly romantic, and altogether lovely, despite being a con artist. She is also a women we don't see in films any more: she makes fun of her man, teaches him a lesson about women, and still gets him in the end. Eve knows what she likes (money and 'Hopsy'), but isn't above getting revenge for slights against her. She may be considered a 'bad girl' by some, but really, she can do no wrong! 

2. Nora Charles, played by Myrna Loy in The Thin Man series
As one half crime-busting husband and wife duo the Charles, Nora sees her fair share of adventure and excitement. She has been knocked out (by her own loving husband!), held hostage (several times), hosted a dinner of suspects, had a baby, has the baby stolen, and of course, helped solve many crimes. While dealing with all this death and devilry, Nora trades witty one-liners with her husband 'Nicky,' and matches him drink for drink (though sometimes suffering from the results). Courageous, clever, gorgeous and incredibly funny, Nora shares in one of the most equal and happy marriages ever portrayed on screen.

3. Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien films
When people think of strong female characters, Ripley is often top of the list, and it is easy to see why. Faced with an alien running rampant on her ship in Alien, Ripley watches the whole crew of the Nostromo killed trying to destroy the creature. She comes into her own in Aliens when she must face the alien again, still time seeking it out. Though she has her authority usurped in Alien and her story viewed with disbelief in Aliens, Ripley stays true to what she think is right. She also cares about other people, spending much of her time in Aliens being a mother for 'Newt,' a mother in the lioness-protecting-her-cub way.

4. Julie de Courcy, played by Juliette Binoche in Trois Coleurs: Bleu
Julie spends the majority of Bleu caring the burden of her grief after the death of husband and daughter in a car crash. She leaves everything about her old life behind and enters a period of reclusivity, interacting with almost no one, even herself. Julie's reaction, though arguably selfish,  is completely understandable considering her loss. Julie has strength, and even in her grief reaches out to strangers who she thinks need help. She is freed from this grief by reengaging with the past, learning facts about her husband that, despite changing their relationship, allow her to move on in her life.

5. Wadjda, played by Waad Mohammed in Wadjda
Young girls don't come more ambitious, enterprising or spirited than Wadjda. All she wants is a bike so she can race her friend Abdullah; only problem is she lives in Saudi Arabia, where women are essentially policed for being women. This doesn't stop Wadjda; she decides to raise the money herself to buy the bike, even entering a religious contest for the prize money. Her female teachers and her mother constantly chide her for her wishes, and try to police her behaviour. Thankfully, Wadjda is a brave soul, and remains committed to achieving her goals.

Who are some of your favourite female characters?


  1. How could I possibly dislike this list? You start with my two favorite Golden Age actresses and follow with two of my favorite performances ever.

    The only one I think you missed is Marge Gunderson from Fargo, probably my favorite woman character ever. There's nothing about Marge that I don't think is awesome.

    1. I do like Marge! Aside from Nick and Nora, I would want her to investigate my murder, she has such integrity (and a fabulous accent as well).

      This is not an exhaustive list by any means. I really could have loaded it up with Golden Age characters, but thought I should broaden the scope.

      Side note: I have now seen 'Three Colours: Red' which was great (it's Kieslowski, what's not to love!), but it didn't knock me out as much as 'Blue' did. Julie is not just one of my favourite characters, Binoche's performance is one of the best I have seen.

    2. I agree. Most people seem to like Red better than Blue, but I think Blue is a knockout.

      I also probably shouldn't have qualified my love for Marge Gunderson. She's a top-5 movie character for me regardless of gender, and depending on the day, she might well vie with Indiana Jones and Roger Thornhill for the top position.