What is a good strong female lead? To me, a strong female led film is a film where the woman (or women) fix their own struggles, they don’t wait on a man in a horse and carriage to do it for them. Many films paint the picture that a woman can only be strong if a man encourages her to do so, well not anymore. The past few years females in the film industry have been unapologetically open about their demands to be in the forefront of movies. Without men. All these women land on my #WomenCrushWednesday list due to their powerful moves in the industry. Here is to them and their incredible films.
The Black Swan
Natalie Portman ? Mila Kunis? Yes please. Two of the strongest women in Hollywood join forces to execute Darren Aronofsky’s twisted tale. This psychological horror film brings the actress’ to new heights, as they compete for the role of the black swan. While Nina (Natalie Portman) embodies the white swan, she fights for the role of the black swan in the production. Things take an unexpected twist as she meets Lilly (Mila Kunis) who gains the role as the black swans’ alternate after an interesting ecstasy filled night. These women are accompanied by Barbara Hershey and Winona Ryder in this compelling, breathtaking movie.
What would this list be without some of the strongest women in film? The Help depicts a trying time in America, where slavery has been abolished but many still hold the values that people of colour are lesser than them. From this we see a group of white women who lean on their African American maids/nannies for support in their home and with their children. Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with the hopes of being a writer. She comes back into town and stirs things up by choosing to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of white families. Only Aibileen (Viola Davis), the housekeeper of Skeeter’s best friend, will talk at first. But as they continue to dive into this secret world of racism, verbal abuse and pain, many more of Aibileen’s friends come to tell their stories.
Let me tell you about one the greatest films I have seen, Tully. This movie was truly a hidden gem of 2018, not getting the complete recognition it deserves. Charlize Theron gives us one of her absolute best roles in this movie, tapping into her motherly instincts she brings a new side of herself out for us to see. While many know of Charlize Theron the actor, not many know of her constant work with mothers and children abroad, her deep rooted connection to dealing with postpartum depression and families is what makes this movie work so well. With two kids, one with a developmental disorder, and another on the way, Marlo (Theron) is in a slump in her life ; unhappy, overwhelmed, exhausted. Marlo’s brother gives her an out : a night nanny, after refusing once, Marlo decides to give it a try… and it’s a whirlwind. This movie takes unexpected turns but in the end it comes full circle as an incredible film that I truly believes depicts a truth to motherhood that is often unexplored.
Hidden Figures is one of those movies you will show to your daughter as she is deciding what to do in life, the perseverance of these women make this film an incredible watch. The brilliant African American best friends at NASA, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit. As you watch these women claim their place in the world of science at NASA, you fall for their wit and charm along with their intelligence. While they are all trying to climb the ladder and gain more respect from their peers, you notice a huge change in the way others treat them as they begin to notice more than just their skin colour. The beauty behind this movie is truly how inspiring it is, you leave the theater in awe of their performances and how touching the story is.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2
This movie series is number one as Uma Thurman is the epitome of a strong female lead. These movies combine some of the greatest scenes in film history, let alone women in film history. Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman are a match made in heaven, he brings out the best in her through his writing and directorial skills, but Uma steals the show as “Bride” seeking revenge. After almost being killed, she sets out to make the assassins who tried to harm her and her unborn baby pay. Her determination takes her to Japan to battle the Tokyo Yakuza. This movie is an ode to martial arts films from the past, it shows you the true power of a woman and how much they can truly do. This movie stuns from not just its writing but the incredible cinema work and Uma Thurman in all her glory.
Female leads come in all shapes and sizes, while these are only a few films that make my top 5 list here are some honorable mentions ;
The Edge Of Seventeen, Precious, Girls Trip, Basic Instinct , Mother! , Winter’s Bone , Clueless, Legally Blonde