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lip top 10: awesome female characters in film

This fortnight it’s another instalment of awesome characters. I’m hitting up film, and just like the TV version, this could have been 100 names long. I’ve tried to cover a few genres, so hopefully at least one name on here will tickle your fancy.

1. Vivian Sternwood Rutledge (The Big Sleep, 1946)
There was no pushing her aside while the men did men’s work. It’s quite a complex tale, but to try and boil it down, Vivian’s father hires a private investigator because his other daughter is being blackmailed. That makes the film sound ordinary, but it’s not. Vivian makes a point of inserting herself into the investigation because her need to protect her family is far more important than any archaic gender roles. I’m doing a really terrible job of explaining this, so just go watch the film. It will all make sense.

2. God (Dogma, 1999)
It’s God. Played by Alanis Morissette. That is all.

3. Clarice Starling (Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
Psychoanalyse a serial killer in order to catch another. Relive childhood trauma in order to be able to psychoanalyse. Find serial killer. Kill serial killer. Save his would-be victim. She goes alright, methinks.

4. Deloris van Cartier (Sister Act, 1992)
For a would-be professional singer with a mobster boyfriend and zero interest in God, she did a pretty good job of binding nuns together and saving not only a convent, but an entire parish. After witnessing a mob hit, Deloris is put into witness protection and, despite much objection, hidden in a convent. She hates the lifestyle, but turns the situation around after finding out the archdiocese wants to close the parish due to poor attendance. She uses her musical skills to retrain the off-key choir of nuns and turn them into a real choir. She then modernises their repertoire, brings in new parishioners and saves the church. Plus, it’s Whoopi Goldberg.

5. Sarah Connor (Terminator, 1984)
Oh you know, she only bears and then teaches her son how to save the world while being pursued by a killer cyborg. No biggie.

6. Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride (Kill Bill, 2003)
There were many ladies from action films I could have included on this list, but when it came down to this Uma Thurman film and every Angelina Jolie film ever made, Uma wins. Not because I’m a fan of Uma’s, but because I get a bit sick of seeing Angelina’s mug everywhere. And this film is pretty rad. What do you do when someone massacres everyone at your wedding rehearsal and leaves you in a coma for four years? Exact revenge of course. Easy when you’re a trained assassin. Not so easy when your enemy is a trained assassin. Even harder when along the way you are being pursued by other trained assassins. Tough, smart and strong. Love it.

7. Matilda Wormwood (Matilda, 1996)
A little girl develops telekinetic powers and uses them to keep her parents out of jail and drive the abusive headmistress out of their school. She is super intelligent and kicks some super arse. Plus, this was one of my favourite films as a kid

8. Ellen Ripley (Alien, 1979)
The actual quote escapes me at the moment, but why she is on the list is summed up best by Walter Hill and David Giler (from the production company) who said that they intentionally made the kick arse lead of the film female because the genre at the time was dominated by men. Oh yeah.

9. Louise (Thelma and Louise, 1991)
A girl’s night away takes an unexpected turn when Louise accidentally kills the man who attempted to rape Thelma. From there they turn into fugitives, on the run from law and along the way rob a convenience store, steal a gun, lock a cop in the trunk of his car and blow up a fuel tanker. Rather than go to gaol, they drive their car off a cliff. My girl’s weekends seem rather tame by comparison.

10. Thelma (Thelma and Louise, 1991)
I can’t have Louise on this list and not Thelma!

(Image credit)

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