Top ten female film characters

Inspiring change on-screen…

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To coincide with International Women’s Day this Saturday 8, March, we here at ELLE are celebrating strong and powerful women. We take a look at our favourite inspirational female film characters…

Thelma and Louise in Thelma & Louise

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The film follows two unassuming and downtrodden women - Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Saradon as Louise - who exceed the expectations of everyone around them, and challenge the sexist values of the Deep South in America. An inspirational point has to when the pair ‘discipline’ a trucker for his repulsive and derogatory heckling. You’ve got to love feminists with force.

Ellen Ripley in Alien

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The original on-screen heroine, Sigourney Weaver plays a stern Ellen Ripley in the timeless sci-fi saga, Alien. Confident, empowered and determined – both mentally and physically – Sigourney’s character has been lauded for helping change gender stereotypes in film; in other words Ripley is one female lead not to be reckoned with.

Patsey in Twelve Years A Slave

Unless you’ve been hidden under a rock for the last year, there’s no escaping the acclaim that accompanied ELLE Woman of the week Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in 12 Year’s A Slave (especially now she’s an Oscar winner). Lupita plays Patsey, a female slave savagely targeted by her master. Despite undergoing unbearable hardships and prejudices, Patsey manages to maintain her dignity as well as her fighting spirit.

Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

An unexpected contender, Reese Witherspoon’s character Elle Woods initially caught our eye with her bend-and-snap, but on closer observation, her legal savvy ways and can-do attitude turn out to be a winning factor.

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games

Has anyone ever looked so good – and simultaneously – been so kickass whilst wielding a bow and arrow as Katniss Everdeen (played by Jennifer Lawrence)? Bravely protecting her younger sister by volunteering to fight, Katniss still manages to maintain a level of empathy.

Mulan in Mulan

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Animated or not, Mulan will always be a poster-girl for strong, self-sacrificing women everywhere. She cuts her hair off, joins the army in place of her father, and gets rid of the bad guy; efficient and courageous.

Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby

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A film that will never fail to make us bawl our eyes out, Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby is an inspirational and fearless character. Played by Hilary Swank, Maggie is a persistent amateur boxer that goes on to win the respect of those who doubt her, and also – physically - dominate the ring.

Erin Brockovich in Erin Brockovich

Julia Roberts plays the eponymous hero in a dramatization of the real story of self-taught Erin Brockovich. A legal crusader – who despite not having formal legal education – went on to fight a huge energy corporation; here’s one ingenious and inspiring lady.

Leigh Ann Tuohy in The Blind Side

Based on a true story, Sandra Bullock won both our hearts and an Oscar with her sassy and determined portrayal of Leigh Ann Tuohy. The touching film centres on Leigh who – against the judgement of her friends and community - takes in downtrodden teenager Michael Oher, and transforms his life. You don’t get any more inspirational than that…

Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass

Don’t be fooled by Chloë Moretz’s angelic face and slight stature in . Foiling gangs, and ridding the world of villains, she scorns the fickle interests expected of girls her age; and aspires to a greater worldly cause. Confident, strong – if not slightly rigorous with her use of expletives - this is one female character that could hold her own in almost any situation.

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