282 Views

5 Great Female Characters in Film

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Badger contributor Jack Stockdale recaps some of her favourite female characters in films in the last five years.

Winter’s Bone, dir. Debra Granik

Winter-s-Bone-2010-Blu-ray-screencaptures-jennifer-lawrence-22105995-1920-1080

Set in a remote part of the Ozarks, 17-year-old Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) seeks out her estranged father who has disappeared having used her family home as collateral to secure bail before trial. Walking from house to house across barren, cold terrain, Ree is met with what seems like a coordinated hostility from family and friends alike as she pieces together the whereabouts of her father. With the grim tenacity and maturity of someone who’s had to make their own way in the world, Ree is an accidental heroine out of necessity. As she forges on with her journey, urgency turns to tension, turns to fear, but this doesn’t stop her ignoring the advice to quit her search. Her unwavering resilience is the product of a strong moral compass and sense of duty towards her mentally-ill mother and younger brother and sister. At the same time, Granik refuses to let us draw the conclusion that these traits are only useful within Ree’s isolated community. While visiting an army recruitment fair, Granik draws us into connecting Ree’s intelligence with the potentiality of a successful career, while simultaneously showing that her acute desperation and need thwarts her of the opportunity.


The Maid, dir. Sebastián Silva

THE MAID.preview

In this gripping thriller, Catalina Saavedra plays Raquel, a live-in maid working for an established family in Santiago, Chile. From the outset Raquel occupies an awkward place in the family, that is, always there but not always noticed. Inevitably, the strangeness of her situation leads Raquel to manifest inexplicable passive aggressive hostilities such as fainting spells and bad temperedness. Soon after, with good if not misguided intentions, her employers hire a second maid to assist with the household. What ensues though is the silent declaration of all-out war that Raquel begins in a fit of mysterious jealous rage. Silva is smart to leave Raquel’s behaviour up to interpretation. The choice to stay away from the ‘An Inspector Calls’ type storyline featuring negligent and oblivious employers, suggests that Raquel’s behaviour is more likely a product of structural exploitation, while Saavedra’s nuanced and frightful performance heightens this narrative at every step.

 

Blue Jasmine, dir. Woody Allen

blue-jasmine-cate

Forced to come to terms with her husband’s imprisonment, Jasmine (Cate Blanchett), a self-absorbed New York socialite, moves in with her sister to share her drastically conventional life in San Francisco. In an effort to make the best of the situation, she ploughs herself into a range of bad choices concerning employment, education and relationships, all with the neurotic zeal of a woman suffering a midlife crisis. Using flashbacks, Allen traces this mania back to the wilful ignorance of her extravagant former life, complimented by her dismissive attitude to anyone below her social status. Blanchett’s performance is intense, dramatic and exhausting. However, the rest of the cast is far more than background colour. Sally Hawkins brings a dynamism to the narrative in playing the easy going but struggling sister, preventing either character from becoming a two-dimensional stereotype. Blue Jasmine may be an unrelenting, depressing satire, but that doesn’t stop it from also being a complex account of the female spirit. Especially if it’s for an event where forgetting about yourself is mandatory, as well as emptying the contents of your purse, all in the aid of organised once-in-a-life-time fun.

 

Bridesmaids, dir. Paul Feig

KRISTEN_WIIG_BRIDESMAIDS_CLOSE_UP

Turning all the familiar trappings of the chick-flick on its head, Bridesmaids boasts an ensemble cast led by spectacularly funny Kristen Wiig. Somewhere in her 30’s, Annie (Wiig) finds herself with a failed business, demeaning ‘no-strings’ relationship and knee deep in the bridesmaid politics of her best friend Lillian’s (Maya Rudolph) wedding. Rolling from one embarrassment to the next, Annie finds herself pitted against Lillian’s other, newer, more sophisticated friend, Helen (Rose Byrne). Each character tries to outdo the other for the place of Lillian’s most capable and worthy maid of honour. Although this film essentially plays off comedy stereotypes, there is something in its portrayal of that fraught feeling of inadequacy when a large group of old friends come together. Especially if it’s for an event where forgetting about yourself is mandatory, as well as emptying the contents of your purse, all in the aid of organised once-in-a-life-time fun.

 

Under the Skin, dir. Jonathan Glazer

under-the-skin-scarlett-johansson-movie-2013-jonathan-glazer

 

Starring as a nameless alien serial-killer in human form, Scarlett Johansson travels Scotland in a transit van picking up unassuming men. Maintaining a blank stare and stoic demeanour, her interactions with potential victims is kept short but not without interpersonal skill. While cruising around Glasgow, we see a brief animation in her face as she stops passers-by on the pretext of needing directions. Duped by her sexual appeal, victims are invited into the car and then to a dilapidated house where they are drawn to their death. Despite the sparse dialogue and narrative, the crux of this slick horror is the reversal of gender dynamics. Glazer puts us in the position of Johansson, coolly regarding the unwitting men walking the streets outside the van. At every step we are invited to take up the alien perspective, until finally after so much emotionless horror, we see the beginnings of empathetic feeling when Johansson is driven to let one of her victims go. As the film continues, Johansson steadily begins to experiment in embodying her humanity and the position of a human female, but Glazer is quick to show that this transforms her position from hunter to hunted.

Jack Stockdale

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
12 views
Film & Theatre
12 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
25 views
Sports
25 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
24 views
Arts
24 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
51 views
Arts
51 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1123 views1
Campus News
1123 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
53 views1
News
53 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
58 views
Campus News
58 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
49 views
Opinion
49 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
381 views
Arts
381 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
386 views
Arts
386 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
358 views
Arts
358 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
424 views
Arts
424 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
440 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
379 views
Arts
379 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
357 views
Arts
357 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
540 views
Campus News
540 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
307 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
899 views
Arts
899 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
365 views
Arts
365 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
447 views
Artist Focus
447 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
381 views
Interview
381 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…