A wonderful year for female movie icons.
This year has been a really strong year for the development of female film roles in Hollywood. We are quickly moving away from gender stereotypes and incorporating qualities of real life everyday women, as well as real life once-in-while-women whose impact on human history are becoming more and more prevalent.
Here are our favourite female film characters from 2016:
1. Wonder Woman ('Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice')
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in 'Batman v Superman'
Finally, the main superheroine of the comic book world returned to us in live action with a stunning performance from Gal Gadot, who we'll be seeing a lot more of in 2017's 'Wonder Woman' and 'Justice League' films. The reason why she's an inspiring character doesn't really need spelling out; she's a beautiful warrior with skills that can end wars, and she's never had to answer to a man in her life.
2. Mildred ('Loving')
Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in 'Loving'
We go from the supernatural to the super real with Ruth Negga's character who is very much a real-life historical role model for young black women everywhere. The film follows Mildred Loving's struggles to be allowed to stay legally married to her white husband Richard in the late 50s, during a time where their home state of Virginia forbids interracial marriage. Anyone who fights tooth and nail for love and equal opportunities deserve an Oscar-worthy film written about them.
3. Jyn Erso ('Rogue One: A Star Wars Story')
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
If 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' wasn't proof enough that the franchise was turning things around by putting women in leading roles and not just as romantic interests, then 'Rogue One' ought to do it. Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso leads the cast of this story, following the Rebel Alliance's plans to prevent the construction of the Death Star. She's resourceful, she can take care of herself and she's the voice of hope in the movie, but she's by no means glamorous or in need of the love of a man.
4. Phiona Mutesi ('Queen of Katwe')
Madina Nalwanga and Lupita Nyong'o in 'Queen of Katwe'
Another real life female icon, this film explores the chess prowess of a Ugandan school girl who rose to fame as a champion in the game when she was barely a teen. It marks the acting debut of Madina Nalwanga whose own journey mirrored that of her character's in many ways. She's an important figure for girls everywhere because she proves that no matter where you come from, you can become anything you want to be with perseverance and determination.
5. Nancy ('The Shallows')
Blake Lively in 'The Shallows'
Blake Lively's character in this movie makes the cast of 'Jaws' look like a bunch of babies. This is about one woman's determination to survive after she becomes stranded in the ocean 600 feet away from the shore with a hungry great white shark circling the water. She is stuck clinging to a rock with few resources to aid her in either killing the shark, helping her get to shore or raising the alarm. And yet she lives because of just how resourceful she is.
6. Porpentina Goldstein ('Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them')
Katherine Waterston and Eddie Redmayne in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'
It would've been so easy to give Newt Scamander a glamorous love interest, like that of Tina's sister Queenie, but instead we focus on a plain but career-driven woman played by Katherine Waterston whose beguilling moral code is an example to all people, not just women. By making Tina ordinary and ambitious, we can take her more seriously as a hero in the story.
7. Bridget Jones ('Bridget Jones's Baby')
Renee Zellweger in 'Bridget Jones's Baby'
Proving that it's ok to be over 29-years-old, over 90 pounds, sexually active and a woman all at the same time is Bridget Jones since 1995. When 'Bridget Jones's Diary' was first adapted to screen in 2001 with Renee Zellweger, the film was praised for having such a likable and funny character for women to relate to. None of that was lost by the time she was forced to navigate middle-age and motherhood in this year's installment.
8. Moana ('Moana')
'Moana' is voiced by Auli'i Cravalho
Finally, a Disney 'princess' film that completely omits romance. This is simply a coming-of-age story about a girl trying to find her own path and indeed her own quest in the world, without the distractions of boys and men. She might have demi-God Maui helping her along, but ultimately it's her power, her courage and her self-belief that saves her island in the end. A brilliant film for teaching young people of all genders that it's okay to take the path less travelled by.
9. Dory ('Finding Dory')
Ellen DeGeneres voices Dory in 'Finding Dory'
Similarly, this long-awaited sequel to 'Finding Nemo' teaches kids that it's okay to be different. Many people who saw this movie commented that it resonated strongly with parents raising children with disabilities, given that Dory's short-term memory loss poses challenges for her in her everyday fish life. And yet this character, voiced by a real life hero Ellen DeGeneres, manages to maintain a positive attitude throughout her journey.
10. The Entire Ghostbusters Crew
Ghostbusters stars Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones
We can't just pick one character from this feminine re-imagining of the 1984 movie of the same name. All the characters - Melissa McCarthy's Abby Yates, Kristen Wiig's Erin Gilbert, Kate McKinnon's Jillian Holtzmann and Leslie Jones' Patty Tolan - are badass to the Nth degree and a perfect demonstration of the vast female comedic talent that has taken over showbiz in the last few years. In many ways, this version is way funnier than the male-dominated original.
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