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  1. #1
    heart on fire
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    Smile Well Developed Female Characters From Movies

    No, that well developed that way!

    I am starting this thread so that we may discuss female characters that hit postive notes within in someway or another. It does not have to be from a "good" movie either. The movie can be bad, but the female character touch you in some positive way. Inspired by Mempy's "Do you want a Damsel?" thread and the discussion therein.

    Here is my list of what in my opinion were well fleshed out female characters who were strong or showed growth towards being personally strong in the course of the movie.

    Please post your own and give some brief (or long depending on your mood) reasons why you feel this way.

    The Snow Walker (2003)
    A critically ill Inuit woman teaches hotheaded bush pilot Charlie Halliday how to survive in the harsh artic winter. This is a great movie!




    The Incredible Journey of Mary Bryant (2005)

    In 1788, penniless young Englishwoman Mary Bryant (Romola Garai) is found guilty of petty theft and shipped to Botany Bay, an Australian penal colony, to serve a seven-year sentence. Facing insurmountable hardships at every turn, Mary escapes and sets out on a perilous journey toward freedom and redemption.


    The White Countess (2005)
    Exiled Russian countess is reduced to accepting sordid jobs to support her family. She bravely accepts her hardship and fights to find a new beginning for herself and her daughter. This is a great movie!




    Horseman on the Roof (1995)

    The main female character braves a cholera epidemic to search for her husband.

    Horseman on the Roof (1995)

    The main female character braves a cholera epidemic to search for her husband.

    Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001)

    The main female character learns to accept deep disappointment and to deal with life as it comes. One of the few movies out there that gives a realistic view into married love and how changes can affect people in a marriage so differently. A great, great movie.



    Steal the sky (1988)

    Helen Mason uses her female charms and cunning to seduce Iraqi pilot Munir Redfa into defecting to Israel in his MiG-21 delta-wing supersonic fighter, but after he does she must use all her intelligence and bravery to aid his wife and children in their attempt to escape Iraq as well. (psst...it is a low budget movie)



    Swept from the Sea (1997)
    Amy Foster is a unique and original person and suffers being an outcast for it. (She seems IxFP for sure)



    Brief Encounter (1945)
    aka "Noel Coward's Brief Encounter" - UK (complete title)

    housewife Laura Jesson meets doctor Alec Harvey and falls in love with him, but she passes up her chance to explore this deeper because of her love for her husband and children.

    (There is a 1974 version with Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, ugh it is awful!)

    Possession (2002)

    Both female characters are well fleshed out, both in the backstory and the main story.


    The Painted Veil (2006)

    Kitty Fane is a frivolous young English woman who longs for romance and excitement. Over the course of the story, she grows up and into a responsible woman who braves cholera infection to save her husband.

    (okay so I might not think Maugham is good at deciding what pleases women but he writes a good story.)

    I'll Be Seeing You (1945)

    Convict Mary Marshall is on home on a Christmas furlough, while there she meets Zachary Morgan a veteran suffering from shell shock. She uses her female strength and affection to help him regain the confidence to face his problems with new spirit and hope.

    Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

    Griet, the young housemaid with a hidden appreciation for art who becomes the muse of Dutch master painter Johannes Vermeer.

    It's My Turn (1980)

    Main female character is a math professor faced with many choices and must find the one best for her.

    Onegin (1999)

    Young Tatiana's character shows both the bravery to open her heart and to have an open and exploring mind despite what is considered appropriate for a young woman in her times. The male lead character by contrast does not have the same bravery to open his jaded heart and eventually suffers deeply for it. She also grows into a woman with strong sense of honor. It is also a beautiful and lush movie. Heartbreaking.


    Vanity Fair (2004)

    Becky Sharp (Reese Witherspoon) is a lower-class girl who uses her considerable wit to climb her way up the precipitous ladder of 1820s London society. On her way there, she grows and transforms as a person to find what is really important in life.


    Washington Square (1997)

    When the men in her life, including her father, let her down and bring her deep emotional pain Catherine turns to her own resources to make her way in the world, finding her true self for the first time. (she seems IxFP)


    Jane Eyre (1996)

    One of the great all time strong female characters.

    Moll Flanders (1995)


    The Joy Luck Club (1993)

    Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)


    Not Without My Daughter (1991)

    An american woman married to an abusive Iranian man must pretend to be loving and submissive while plotting to get herself and her daughter out of Iran safely.

    Rob Roy (1995)


    I thought the wife in this movie was an equal to her husband in strength and intelligence and that Rob Roy treats her that as well.


    The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

    Brave sisters.


    Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

    Chiyo suffers years of hardship, intrigue and hard work to find her way to happiness and success.

    Elizabeth (1998)

    The Color Purple (1985)


    The Affair of the Necklace (2001)

    18th century French countess Jeanne de la Motte Valois plots and schemes to restore her family's good name and privilege.


    The Man Who Cried (2000)

    Suzie, a Russian Jew adrift in the world after her father leaves the family to make a fresh start in America struggles to find her way. (Has Johnny Depp in it)



    O Pioneers! (1992)

    Alexandra Bergson inherits the family farm and struggles to carve a home and a fortune from the windswept prairie at great personal sacrifice to her own happiness.


    Persuasion (1995)

    Literature critic Harold Bloom considers Anne Elliot to be one of the most complex characters ever created.


    A Room with a View (1986)



    Giant (1956)

    Independent-minded Leslie Lynnton fights for the cause of those less fortunate than she is and fights her husband for a sense of independence in her marriage.
    Last edited by heart; 01-15-2008 at 02:10 AM.

  2. #2
    heart on fire
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    I already remembered more:


    The Black Velvet Gown (1991)

    In a time when education for the lower classes, especially women is frowned on, Biddy grows up, and becomes a laundress in a large house, where her education keeps her from fitting in and makes her a target. She endures suffering and abuse with bravery. Her intelligence and education eventually bring her to the kind of life she longs for, freedom of both mind and heart.

    Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

    I thought the wife in this movie was a well developed character, never perfect but strong and intelligent and eventually accepting what seemed unacceptable at first with grace, forgiveness and compassion.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    There are few that could exceed Jane Eyre...as written.
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

  4. #4
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Yesterday (2004) After falling ill, Yesterday (Khumalo) learns that she is HIV positive. With her husband in denial and young daughter to tend to, Yesterday's one goal is to live long enough to see her child go to school.

    I'm starting to tear up just remembering it.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hirsch63's Avatar
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    Have you seen My Life Without Mewith Sarah Polley?
    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings...Steal a little and they throw you in jail, steal a lot and they make you a king

  6. #6
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    Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds are Forever.

  7. #7
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    Character names:
    Emma Greenway Horton from Terms of Endearment
    cancer patient, mom, dealing with intrusive mother

    Emily Wang in Clean
    Recovering drug addict trying to maintain her life and get back her son

    Paulina Escobar in Death and the Maiden
    a former prisoner under a fascist regime believes she's found one of her torturers

  8. #8

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    There are three that I can think of off the top of my head. All are well-written roles for women that allow them to be strong and at the same time feminine...a combination that unfortunately strikes many as a paradox. It's also no coincidence that all three are in the realm of science fiction. That genre, while often maligned (especially by me) has consistently had complex female characters.

    One is right in Cafe's avatar...Helen Parr/Elastigirl from The Incredibles. Yeah, it's animated, but it has more depth than 90% of the live action movies I can think of. She's strong and self-reliant, but love of her family and devotion to her husband and children are what bring out those traits in her.

    Second is Sarah Connor in The Terminator. Again, a strong and self-reliant woman who defends her child with ferocity.

    Third is Ripley from the Alien movies. In the first one she's mostly just a badass man-clone. But in the second one her femininity comes to the fore when she takes guardianship of a young girl. Ripley shows maternal instincts, but displays no softening of her resolve.

  9. #9
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    Man, I need to watch more movies! The only ones I've seen from those mentioned are Memoirs of a Geisha, Not Without My Daughter, and The Incredibles.

    I would say that Chiyo from Memoirs of a Geisha wasn't all that for me. It seemed like all the evidence in her world, especially shown through the character of Hatsumomo- is that being a geisha kind of sucks- the things you give up to be a bitchy bread winner for the house. But Chiyo instead idealizes the whole thing, and becomes a sucessful geisha through some luck and lots of hard work. Which isn't to begrudge her sucess, but I found it very disheartening that she still clung to the ideal of a romance with the Chairman, instead of taking the lumps with the benefits of her sucessful geisha-hood. Not to mention the movie romanticizing her whole "live in the past" attitude (or was that the book).

    I mean, we're supposed to see Pumpkin (that's the fellow servant girl, right?) as dumb, dowdy, and silly. But you know what? She knew what she wanted and she got it, basically. And when the times changed she changed to survive.

  10. #10
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    A lot of the movies I like were based on books first... SO, I'll just post a couple. But I really do enjoy watching strong women portrayed in film.

    Sophie's Choice - Sophie (played by Meryl Streep)
    Takes place during the Holocaust. In the end she is forced to choose between her little boy and girl by the Nazis; one to live and one to die.

    Hanging Up - Eve Mozell Marks (Meg Ryan)
    She is so brave to take care of her father with Alzheimer's (Walter Matthau, this being his last movie before his death) while her older (Diane Keaton) and younger (Lisa Kudrow) sisters are pursuing their more appealing careers. Meg Ryan is just a charming actress in general, and the many flashbacks her character has shows the audience how much she really does love her dad.
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