Last month I talked about some of my favorite sexy cinema heroes. This month, I’d like to introduce you to some of my all-time favorite film heroines.
When I was researching this story, I was disappointed to find that nearly all search engine hits on “film heroine” came up with long lists of female action heroes. Now I love me a good kick-ass Ellen Ripley (Aliens) and Sarah Connor (The Terminator) as much as the next gal, but honestly, I was surprised I couldn’t find a single list that talked about the kind of heroine I consider the strongest, and the type that is the best match (in my opinion) for someone a real-life hero can fall – and stay – in love with.
If you’ve never seen the movies All About Eve (1950), My Fair Lady (1964), or A Very Long Engagement (2004), then I suggest you flip on Netflix or run to your library as soon as possible.
As far as I’m concerned, All About Eve is the crown jewel of Bette Davis’ career. Margo, a famous yet aging actress, takes in a (young woman she believes is a) struggling war widow, Eve (played by Anne Baxter). Eve ultimately manipulates the people around her, making her own mark on the theater world. Fascinating how the characters are set up and the betrayals portrayed.
In the end, Davis/Margo sits quietly at an awards banquet honoring Eve, surrounded by her friends and fiancé. They are cool and sophisticated in their group rebuff of Eve, but more importantly, they are united. Margo earned her stardom and her reputation, and clearly, she is a person they will stand by. Eve? Well, let’s just say that Eve rather earns her just desserts. Mesmerizing, and a fabulous character study.
Next, let’s take a peek at Eliza Doolittle of My Fair Lady, the wonderful musical based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (played in the movie version by Audrey Hepburn). The writing is sharp, the music is catchy, and the characters are stellar. But Eliza. The lowly flower girl who has the gumption to show up at Henry Higgins’ home and ask him to give her lessons. The spirited woman who stands up to him for treating her the way he ‘hears’ her – basically, beneath his notice. Eliza, intelligent and courageous, not afraid of hard work, wanting more from her life. This a heroine worthy of her own love story, and we root for her every step of the way.
Finally, one of my favorite movies too few people have seen is A Very Long Engagement, a French movie starring Audrey Tatou. Based in France just after WWI, A Very Long Engagement follows the journey of Mathilde, the fiancée of a young soldier who was sent to near-certain death in No Man’s Land, the area between two countries’ trenches on the battlefield. Yet Mathilde is convinced her sweetheart is alive, and picks and picks at the threads of the official story until they unravel. Part mystery, part historical drama, part sweet romance, part underdog-triumphs-in-the-end journey, this is a movie with moments of humor, tenderness, revenge and a full spectrum of human emotions. You will laugh, cry, grieve and celebrate with Mathilde and the handful of other eclectic women you meet in the film (because after all, so few men survived the Great War, especially the wives and girlfriends of men sent to No Man’s Land). Definitely worth watching!
Each of these movies is a great film experience in its own right, with great writing, dialogue, characterization and plot. You can learn a lot from them on any level. But the women’s roles shine, helped along, of course, by great actresses. Let yourself be inspired by these characters’ wit, their determination, and their capacity to love. You won’t regret it.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/bobbiColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Bobbi Dumas loves good writing. Of all kinds. She also loves romance, a mesmerizing story and the company of friends. When she’s not in the virtual world or one of her own making, she can usually be found in Madison, WI with her husband, two boys, and a clan of great writers she feels grateful and honored to know (some of whom you get to meet here, too). Lucky you![/author_info] [/author]