Every year around this time, I get a little down in the dumps. I’m sure it’s a combination of the cold weather sweeping in, my kids inevitably picking up some illness from school, and holiday dread.
But then I’ll watch a movie that features a woman so kick-butt that I instantly feel better and inspired. Hey, if SHE can battle a villain across the space-time continuum, then surely I can survive dueling runny noses for week!
So here’s some motivation for others out there who might be starting to feel that familiar fall funk. I’ve got 5 female movie characters for you who all kick butt and take names.
- The Wasp in Ant-Man and the Wasp – Evangeline Lilly has made a career out of playing women who are not to be messed with, from Kate Austen on LOST to Tauriel in The Hobbit trilogy. As the Wasp, she supplies both the brains and the brawn required to save the day when baddies are trying to steal her father’s high-tech lab (yes, they’re actually trying to steal the entire lab… you’ll get it when you watch it). Sure, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) helps, but it’s pretty clear who’s really in charge.
- Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) in Hidden Figures – Right now, the movie First Man is in theaters, and it stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. But if you see Hidden Figures then you’ll know more about the unsung heroes of NASA: the African-American women who supplied the extraordinarily complex calculations to make the United States’ space missions, including Armstrong’s, possible and successful. Johnson was the lead mathematician responsible for helping our country win the Space Race and ushering in the use of computers.
- Shuri (Letitia Wright) in Black Panther – Move over, Tony Stark. There’s a new genius in town, and her name’s Shuri. She’s Black Panther’s little sis, and she develops all of the amazing tech in Wakanda, including her brother’s energy-redirecting suit. She was my favorite character in the film, and I know I’m not the only Marvel fan who can’t wait for the inevitable tech-off (yeah, I think that’s gonna be a thing) between her and Stark.
- Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) in Mad Max: Fury Road – Recently I’ve found myself wishing that Furiosa was a real person. But alas, she’s confined to a post-apocalyptic desert landscape, where she rebels against the cruel dictator Immortan Joe, makes off with his five (!) wives, and attempts to bring down the patriarchy with the help of a loner named Max (Tom Hardy). I’ve still never seen anything like this movie, which was my favorite of 2015.
- Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) in Life of the Party – I’d say that perhaps even more impressive than physically kicking butt is being able to kick butt at life in general. Deanna had not been doing that — in fact, it was more like the opposite: she’d dropped out of college and given up on her dreams because of her husband, who proceeded to ask for a divorce the second their teenage daughter left the nest. Now, as a middle-aged mom with no identity of her own, Deanna decides to reclaim her life and starts by enrolling at the same university as her daughter. Yes, this movie is a comedy, but there’s also an important and heartwarming message buried in there, and it’ll be clear by the end that Deanna definitely kicks butt.
Which female movie characters inspire you?