#4 – Manuela, Todo Sobre Mi Madre (1999)
Spanish Director Pedro Almodovar’s story of a mourning mother who, after reading the last entry in her dead son’s journal about how he wishes to meet his father for the first time, decides to travel to Barcelona in search of the boy’s father is dominated by female characters; a transvestite prostitute, a pregnant nun, and a lesbian actress to name a few. But it’s Manuela, the mother who travels to Barcelona, who is the strongest of them all, as she positively impacts each of their lives and puts their issues first whilst still coping with the devastation of losing her son. Translated, the title means All About My Mother, and the film has received the most accolades and awards in Spanish motion picture history, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.
#3 – Ellen Ripley, Alien series (1979-1997)
Frequently topping many lists of powerful females, Ripley deserves every bit of acclaim that she gets. First appearing in Ridley Scott’s 1979 Sci Fi classic Alien, the character has been credited with being the first to challenge the role of females in movies. But it was in the sequel Aliens that she really showed us what she was made of, and subsequently Sigourney Weaver was nominated for an Academy Award that year. A true heroine and an unforgettable woman, Ripley will never be surpassed in terms of female badassery.
#2 – Maggie Fitzgerald, Million Dollar Baby (2004)
The second entry by Hilary Swank, and another Oscar winning performance by her, Million Dollar Baby tells the story of Maggie Fitzgerald, a penniless waitress who decides to take up boxing. The film chronicles her rise, through her determination and support of her trainer, but she learns the hard way just how fragile life is. Watching her come from nothing to a force to be reckoned with in the boxing world is a joy, but it’s the final act where her real strength shows through.
#1 – Thelma & Louise, Thelma & Louise (1991)
The story of two women, named Thelma and Louise, who decide to break away from their mundane lives and their men only to find themselves wanted for murder of a rapist was a critical and financial success, earning both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis Oscar nods. They lost to Jodie Foster in The Silence of The Lambs, but their roles are still praised to this day. What’s interesting about these characters is that they seem to epitomize the stereotypes of a ‘traditional’ woman, which is then juxtaposed with the more modern, headstrong mould for a woman. Ultimately though, yes there’s crime in the plot but the film is much more about the strong bond of friendship and in fact it’s a much more important film than was probably ever intended.
Do you agree with these selections? Is there any others we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.