Top Ten Kick Ass Female Film Characters

Kick-Ass Female Characters.
Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens



Ten of the most watchable film heroines.

The role of women in film is constantly evolving. It seems that we are living in the age of the ‘strong-female character’ but what exactly is a ‘strong-female character? The phrase is over-used to the point that it has become its own stereotype. Some female characters are ‘strong’ but lack personality, making them dull and unwatchable. Listed below are ten of the best, kick-ass, female characters who are also fascinating individuals.

1) Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Series)

The Hunger Games (4/12) Move Clip- Shooting the Apple (2012) HD

Katniss Everdeen’s story is set in Panem, a dystopian universe in which young people are offered up as tributes to take part in brutal televised fights to the death. When Katniss’ sister, Prim, is chosen to take part in the games, she immediately volunteers as a tribute to spare her sister. Throughout The Hunger Games films (and books) Katniss constantly shows that she can put the needs of others before her own, even ignoring her own feelings when necessary. During the games Katniss demonstrates great survival skills which, combined with her abilities as an archer, make her a dangerous opponent. She is also more than willing to stand up for herself. When she was being tested, to asses her skills before the games began, the judges ignored her display of skill with a bow and arrow. In defiant response Katniss shot an apple on the judge’s platform (as shown in the clip above). Katniss is a great character though not always a likeable character, because she often needs to be cold and calculating to survive, but she is always fascinating to watch. 

Katniss Preparing to Shoot.

2) Fanny Brawne (Bright Star)

Bright Star- A room of Butterflies

Jane Campion’s masterpiece Bright Star tells the tale of the real-life romance that existed between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Fanny is a character who displays a great deal of strength, despite being constrained by the social rules of the nineteenth century. She falls in love with Keats and will not leave him despite parental disapproval and, later, despite the fact that she knows that he is dying.

John Keats was a famously mercurial man. Towards the end of his life he was suspicious of Fanny and plagued with jealousy. Bright Star touches upon this most poignantly when Keats’ friend, Charles Brown, sends Fanny a valentine’s card. Keats flies into a rage, accusing them both, but Fanny is not cowed and responds with angry sarcasm. This was bold behavior indeed for a nineteenth century woman. There are other ways in which Fanny is not a typical nineteenth century woman, for example she has no interest in marrying for money. When her mother tells her that she should not marry Keats because he is poor she replies “You taught me to love. You never said only the rich, only a thimbleful”. Fanny is a great character because she has a quite inner strength and the self-confidence to always follow her heart.

Fanny speaks with her younger sister, Toots.

3) Clare Abshire (The Time Travelers Wife)

The Time Travelers Wife (9/9) Movie Clip- Henry Returns (2009)

Clare Abshire met her husband, Henry, when she was only six years old although he had already known her for eight years. Henry deTamble is a time traveler who randomly slips through time, whether or not he wants to. The Time Travelers Wife is about his wife, Clare, and about what it is like to be the one who is left behind. Clare is an admirable character because of her independence. She reacts bravely to Henry’s long periods of absence, despite her fears about what might be happening to him in another time. While Henry is ‘away’ Clare cultivates her own life, focusing on her friends and family and working on her art. She is an immensely talented artist.

Clare can be soft, kind and sweet but when she wants something she knows how to fight for it. She wants a baby and after several miscarriages, even after Henry has given up, she continues to fight until little Alba is born. Clare is a great character because, even though she is in the most complicated relationship ever, she manages to retain her independence and sense-of-self. Clare creates a fulfilling life for herself whether Henry is present or not.

Clare holds her missing husband’s wedding ring.

4) Erin Brockovich (Erin Brockovich)

A Lame-Ass Offer- Erin Brockovich (6/10) Movie Clip (2000) HD

Erin Brockovich tells the true story of a single mother who blagged herself an administrative job in a law firm. Her first job involves organizing the suing of PG&E, a company who have been contaminating the water in a town called Hinkley with chromium that makes the town’s residents ill. Like many of the character’s in this list Erin is selfless. As a single mother she always puts her children first, particularly in one poignant scene where her children eat in a diner even though she can’t afford to buy any food for herself. Erin is a straight-talking and sarcastic woman who simply isn’t willing to take no for an answer but she also isn’t afraid of using her feminine wiles to get what she wants, when necessary. Erin Brockovich is a great character because she prevails through sheer force of will even when all the odds are stacked against her.

       Erin poses with her children.

5) Rey (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Stars Wars 7 ‘The Force awakens’- Daniel Craig Stormtrooper- Movie Clip #4

At the beginning of Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey is a scavenger living on the desolate planet of Jakku. Jakku is a harsh planet where getting enough food is a daily struggle. Rey’s determination to survive is obvious. She spends all hours of the day scavenging for space-ship parts that she can use to buy food. As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that Rey has been surviving alone, on Jakku, ever since she was abandoned as a child. Rey has an impressive skill set. She is fluent in several languages and able to pilot a variety of ships. Throughout Star Wars: The Force Awakens she also learns how to use a lightsaber well enough to defeat Kylo Ren (the films villain) and how to manipulate others using the force (as shown in the clip above). Rey is a great character because she effortlessly subverts traditional gender roles with her ex-Stormtrooper companion, Finn. This is most noticeable in a moment when they are running away and she grabs his hand to make him run faster. Traditionally, in film, it would be the male dragging the female along but the new Star Wars series clearly has no time for such outdated gender politics.

Rey talks to BB8.

6) Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter Series)

Meeting Luna Lovegood

Luna Lovegood is my favourite character in the Harry Potter series of films (and books). Luna is a girl in the year below Harry who eventually gets involved with his adventures, helping him fight against Voldemort several times. Luna is the ultimate non-conformist. She stays true to herself even when it results in bullying from her peers, who call her ‘Loony Lovegood’ (as shown in the clip above). Luna’s mother died when she was nine but the loss did not make her bitter. Instead it gave her the ability to comfort others experiencing grief. Luna has an air of vagueness about her but she is very intelligent and perceptive. Luna is a great character because her bravery and individuality make her a fantastic role model.

Luna holds a copy of the Quibbler.

7) Natasha Romanoff (The Avengers Franchise)

Iron Man 2: Scarlett Johansson Black Widow in action.

Natasha Romanoff, or the Black Widow, was originally a character in Stan Lee’s Marvel comics. She was first introduced in 1964 and she has gone on to become a vastly important character in The Avengers film series. Natasha is a talented spy and a deadly assassin, capable of taking on numerous opponents at once (as shown in the clip above). Her prowess is a result of the harsh training she received in ‘the Red Room’ throughout her childhood and early teens. In one particularly impressive scene (in Avengers Assemble) she manages to defeat several assailants while tied to a chair. Natasha is not easily intimidated, for example in The Winter Soldier she keeps her cool even though she is being pinned to the wall by Captain America (an augmented human being). Natasha is perhaps the most traditionally kick-ass woman on this list because she is a skilled warrior who fights, physically and verbally, for what she believes is right.

The Black Widow.

8) Lara Croft (Tomb Raider Franchise)

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2 (1/9) Movie Clip (Shark Punch 2003)

Lara Croft was originally a video game character who eventually starred in a series of films. In every version of Lara’s story she is a skilled, and slightly unconventional, archaeologist and adventurer. Lara is a highly independent character. Even though her work is difficult, and often dangerous, she is usually depicted working alone. Also, like many of the woman on this list, she has trained hard to learn how to fight and how to survive. Lara Croft is a great character because she is so courageous. In one scene, she was even brave enough to punch a shark! (as shown in the clip above). 

Lara Croft prepares to shoot.

9) Rose Dawson/DeWitt-Bukater (Titanic)

Titanic Scene- “Dawson, Rose Dawson”

Titanic is about the romance between two fictional characters as they experience the very real, historical event that was the sinking of the Titanic. Rose, like Fanny Brawne, is a woman who strains against the social expectations of her time-period. Rose is being pressured by her mother to marry a man named Cal for financial reasons. She feels so trapped that she contemplates jumping off the end of the boat and committing suicide until Jack Dawson rescues her and shows her a new way of life. With Jack’s encouragement Rose grows braver. She begins to take part in behavior that would have been considered vulgar at the time, such as spitting over the edge of the boat. Eventually Rose gathers the courage to stand up to her fiancé, spitting in his face when he tries to prevent her searching for Jack as the ship sinks. Rose is a great character because she manages to gain independence and autonomy in the face of great obstacles.

Rose talks to Jack

10) Clementine (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (1/11) Movie Clip- Train Ride (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is about the relationship between Clementine and Joel and the heartbreak that ensues when they attempt to erase each other from their memories. Clementine is the first of the pair to go through the memory erasing process, revealing her stubborn strength of will in the lengths she will go to, to move on after a break up. Clementine is a great character because she isn’t perfect. She doesn’t exist to be any mans ‘dream girl’. Clementine is actually a deeply flawed person. Even though she is strong, kind and often funny, she can also be vindictive, reckless and irrational. Clementine acts like a real person and that is what makes her so compelling to watch.

Clementine sits in the forest.

The female characters listed above are all very different. Some of them are good at fighting, some are independent, emotionally strong or stubborn in the best possible way. All of them are truly kick-ass.

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