Monday, June 11, 2007

The Non-Action Heroine

This post is for The Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon over at Film Experience Blog.

For The Action Heroine Blog-A-Thon, I ask this question. Does a woman need to be in an action movie to be a heroine?

The answer is no.

Case in point: Laura (Iben Hjejle) from the movie High Fidelity.

Sure Laura's got the body of a fighter. A buck o five, toned arms, tight ass. But she does not wield guns or swords. Instead, she carries with her the will of 50 men. A will strong enough to see Rob (John Cusak) through every short-coming he suffers from (and it's a lot). The will to love him and help him grow up and make something of his life.

Case in point: Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts) from the movie Erin Brockovich.

Erin is tough as nails. She talks tough and says things like "did they teach you how to apologize in lawyer school? 'Cause you suck at it." She raised three children on her own. She did it with a job here, a job there and sometimes unemployed. She changed perceptions of herself when she brought down a major company and helped save a town.

Case in point: Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep) from the movie Silkwood.

Armed with one-heck of a mullet, Karen Silkwood fell into a role she never intended on taking: blowing the whistle on an Oklahoma Nuclear plant with dangerous business practices. It would have been easier to go about her way in the male-dominated career she chose, but she did what was right and possibly died for it.

Case in point: Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) from the movie Working Girl.

Not bitchy or brassy, Tess quietly rose above her Jersey accent and blond hair to take the stock market market world by storm. Battling perceptions and one nasty boss in Sigourney Weaver, she beat the system that was pitted against her and won the heart of Harrison Ford in the process.

Case in point: Edna 'E' Mode (voice of Brad Bird) from the movie The Incredibles.

Edna is not a super hero, she just dresses them. Small in size, but big in presence, Edna does not mince with small-talk. She is all business when it comes to finding the perfect outfit for the perfect super hero. Only a few minutes of screen time, she was as super as Mr. Incredible himself.

Case in point: Molly McGrath (Goldie Hawn) from the movie Wildcats.

Molly is cute and petite and she loves football. Early in her childhood she took the path less traveled, trading in her dollies for footballs. And while she grew up in a society that had no female football players, she made her own way coaching the Wildcats, a high school football team you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. But she turned them into winners and all of us into believers.

All of these women are heroes. Superwomen without the spandex. They faced insurmountable odds and overcame incredible feats without fists or guns or swords or fancy karate moves. There are more. But in truth, not enough. Not enough tough women in movies. In action, drama, comedy, horror, or whatever. Too often they're supporting or supportive and more often than not dismissed all together. So it's important that we celebrate them. Hold them high. Praise them. And most importantly, cry for more, more and more.


Anonymous said...

Loved Wildcats. I still get the song at the end of the movie stuck in my head sometimes...

It's the sport of kings
Better than diamond rings

Garrett Sorrels said...

Pat, pat, pat.
You left out Diane Keaton in "Because I said so". The meddling mother who tries to set her daughter up with the right man so her kid won't follow in her footsteps.

PIPER said...

Actually Diane Keaton is a great choice for lots of other movies other than Because I Said So.

Garrett Sorrels said...

just wait til you see it.


this is fun. I applaud the unusual approach and of course I giggled to see Edna on there