This week, I’m posting lists of my favorite stories that have female protagonists or POVs. Today I’m featuring movies. Leave your recommendations in the comments, especially if they’re nothing like these, and check back Friday for open discussion on strong female characters!
Albert Nobbs – This is an odd example because the title character, played by Glenn Close, is undeniably a man. I don’t wish to misgender him, so I’m breaking my POV requirement in the very first example, I just think the movie as a whole is an affecting look into how women on the fringes might have lived in 18th-century Ireland. It’s worth a watch especially if you’re interested in gender as performance.
Disney – Frozen and Brave, by all means! But also Sleeping Beauty, and The Princess and the Frog, and The Little Mermaid, and every one of the other princess movies, because not all girls are alike. Watch all of them and talk about how every princess is different. And don’t forget Tinker Bell!
Gravity – The relative strength of the female character in this movie is debated. It does contain one of the tropes I hate, “My name is ____ because my father wanted a boy,” but I enjoyed the movie for its artistic value and for the real sensation of spacewalking it gave me. The fact that it’s an entire movie held down by one character, who is female, is also noteworthy.
The Hogfather – I’m pretty sure I’d marry Susan if she’d let me. This three-hour movie thing is based on a book by the same name by Terry Pratchett about Discworld’s version of Christmas, and Susan is the no-nonsense granddaughter of the Grim Reaper, currently working as a governess for two young children.
The Hunger Games – Another duh, but its fame is well-deserved.
The Last Unicorn – The last unicorn in the world goes searching for her lost siblings. In my opinion, this movie says everything that needs to be said about unicorn stories, and anything else is but an echo.
Pacific Rim – Mako Mori has given her name to the Mako Mori Test for a reason!
Paradise Recovered – The story of a young woman in a cultish fundamentalist religion, and her journey out of it to a more healthy religious experience. I really liked this movie because it dealt with the issue from her point of view, as a member of the group being introduced to a new way of thinking. It didn’t offer a simple answer at the end, so it didn’t come off preachy.
The Terminator – People tend to think about Arnold Schwarzenegger and forget the movie’s about Sarah Connor…
Wit – Emma Thompson stars in a movie based on a play of the same name (written by a lesbian playwright) about a professor of John Donne’s poetry dying of cancer. She sees Donne’s poems about life and death in a visceral new way. I sobbed all the way through reading the play for personal reasons, then borrowed the movie from my literature professor and sobbed all the way through that too, but I don’t think it was just me.
Tomorrow: Book recommendations!