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People share 10 of the finest films that have brilliantly depicted 'strong female' character trope

Explore 10 films that successfully showcased authentic strength in female characters, empowering women everywhere.

People share 10 of the finest films that have brilliantly depicted 'strong female' character trope
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Donald Tong; Reddit | u/mmart482

Strong female leads done right.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kyle Loftus
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Kyle Loftus

Everybody loves to see strong female characters on the big screen. The sad reality, however, is that their portrayal often falls prey to misinterpretation by filmmakers. While some succeed in authentically showcasing empowered women, many perpetuate stereotypes or reduce strength to physical prowess. There are many aspects to strength, but filmmakers often rely on more superficial ones and give weightage to male actors. There are, however, a few films that break the mold when it comes to strong female characters. u/carlories asked the community, "What movie did the 'strong female' trope right?" Here are 10 of the best films that people shared. 

1. Frances McDormand in Fargo

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

"Fargo." u/AdOk1965. Not sexy, not crazy. Just methodical, competent and right. u/CompleteDisplay7141. 100%. She's not a supersleuth like on CSI or Criminal Minds. Fargo is the original "competence p***." Her relationship with Norm is one of my favorite parts of the movie. Her genuine joy when she finds out he got his duck on the stamp is incredible. u/afriendincanada. A while back on Twitter, someone asked to name movies that feature a female protagonist who is competent at her job, in an established relationship with a man (the relationship does not start during the events of the film) and her partner does not criticize her work or encourage her to give up. The only movie people could name that fully satisfied these requirements was Fargo. u/Mr_Saturn1

2. Jodie Foster in The Silence Of The Lambs

Representative Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

The Silence of the Lambs. u/artpayne. Yes. There is so much Clarice has to deal with men not taking her seriously all through the storyline. Then she figures it out with her bestie. u/ColorfulEgg. Her bestie Hannibal Lecter. u/pawg730. It's funny how, in his own sick way, he was supportive of her and believed in her. He's a monster but not a sexist. Then he somehow talks to that disgusting guy in the jail cell next to him who assaulted her into eating his own tongue. Also, love the part at the end where they tell her that he escaped and ask if she wants to go into hiding and she says, "I don't think he will come after me. He would consider it rude." u/ClutchReverie

3. Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2

Representative Image Source: IMDb
 Image Source: IMDb

Terminator 2. u/devil652_. I love that Arnold has said that she's the star of the movie, not him. Linda reached out to him to help her work out, apparently, so she could be a totally different Sarah Connor in the sequel. For that reason, watching those movies back to back is always a great experience! Her voice changes at the end of the first movie as she begins the most insane mission ever, but you can tell she's just getting started. In Terminator 2, she is such a bad-a**, but also mentally broken. It's hard to make all of that believable in a single character, but Linda did it! u/YossiTheWizard. This might sound weird but the scene where she breaks out of her cell and is in the broom closet, when she knocks out the guard and picks up his nightstick, she does this sort of jump and rolls the nightstick under her arm. It's such a random small move, but completely shows how in control of her body she is and how aware she is of her surroundings. That break-out scene is hands down one of the best in film history. u/cannotaccessorize

4. Sigourney Weaver in Alien 

 Image Source: IMDb
 Image Source: IMDb

Alien. u/Wandering_butnotlost. I love the meme from this. "So, I have been writing reviews for about ten years. My wife's review of Alien puts everything I have ever written to shame. 'Alien is a movie where nobody listens to the smart woman, and then they all die except for the smart woman and her cat. Four stars.'" u/Jmen4Ever. Sigourney Weaver nailed it at every turn. Today's 'strong females' just don't induce suspension of disbelief for me. Weaver had me utterly convinced that every single thing she did was one hundred percent possible and logical. u/NickDanger3di. The only true answer. Interestingly, the role of Ripley was written without a gender. Just so happens her actor was f****** awesome. u/Mr_Jackabin

5. Laura Dern in Jurassic Park

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

Laura Dern, Jurassic Park. Seeing a strong woman in science at such a young age had a profound impact on me, and I truly think it’s one of the reasons I am a scientist today. u/mmart482. "We'll talk later on sexism in survival situations" was one of my favorite quotes when Hammond thought he should go outside to turn the power on. Yeah, let's send the old man, who needs a walking stick over a woman as a man who used to be very sexist, it made me think a little when I heard it. u/Thatpaidshill. She is competent, smart and has an absolute razor-sharp wit. One of my favorite movies and Laura Dern doesn't disappoint. I am realizing my favorite movies have strong female characters as leads. u/ERSTF

6. Gillian Anderson in The X-Files 

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

X files. I can't believe I haven't seen that yet. She was highly intelligent with a strong confidence that couldn't be beaten down by the sexists in the early seasons nor the crushing but invisible power of the Syndicate. u/andrewnormous. She's always one of my first thoughts when someone asks this question. She's smart and doesn't let anyone make her feel less than others, she knows who she is. She's kind and patient with others but takes no bu******. She doesn't let being in a boys' club push her into trying to be "one of the boys" nor will she accept any misogyny. She's dedicated to her job and to her partner. Between her and Mulder, she's actually the trigger-happy one! She also of course influenced a lot of young girls to go into STEM fields (see "The Scully Effect"). u/teddy_vedder

7. Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight 

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source:IMDb

The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) with Geena Davis was great and doesn't seem to get much love. u/CazzaMcSpazza. “You’re going to die screaming. Am I telling the truth?” She was, in fact, telling the truth. u/KevSmileTime. I saw that in 1996 and thought it was great. Samuel Jackson was hot off 'pulp fiction' and Geena Davis was peak hotness too. When I found out she's a pro archer too that impressed me all the more. A real kick a** lady. u/Stained_concrete. In 1999, she came to a small college town. I was living in Ohio to participate in an archery tournament. I was working at a pizza place delivering and I heard she was at one of the uptown bars that was also owned by the same man who owned my restaurant. Apparently, he was too shy to speak to her and I was bummed because I was working at the time and would have loved to tell her how much I loved Long Kiss Goodnight. u/lluewhyn

8. Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny 

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

My Cousin Vinny. u/Houseplantkiller123. You wanna know what I'm nervous about? I'll tell you what I'm nervous about! I am in the dark here with all this legal crap. I have no idea what's going on! All I know is that you're screwing up and I can't help! Oh, Vinny! I'm watching you go down in flames, and you're bringing me with you and I can't do anything about it. Well, I hate to bring it up because I know you have enough pressure on you already. But we agreed to get married as soon as you won your first case. Meanwhile, ten years later, my niece! The daughter of my sister is getting married! My biological clock is tickin' like this and with the way this case is going, I ain't never gettin' married! u/LordCharidarn

9. Rachel Weisz in The Mummy 

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

Rachel Weisz playing Evie in The Mummy. "Take that, Bembridge Scholars!" u/AmoebaGal.  This movie and this character was the first time I felt like I could relate to a female character in an action movie. I felt seen. She needs help, but she's not helpless. And she is the one who really kills the mummy in the end too. The only one who was educated and studied enough to read the correct passage from the book. Love that movie. u/ecstaticegg. My absolute favorite part is when Imhotep has captured her and is doing his whole soliloquy to Ankh-sun-amun with Beni translating and she takes time out to correct Beni's translation. Followed by sword-fighting the mummy of Ankh-sun-Amun while also helping Jonathan with the translation. u/Yrxora

10. Amy Adams in Arrival 

Image Source: IMDb
Image Source: IMDb

Arrival. u/AdOk1965. Oh man, this movie is so good. I still catch myself thinking about it often - totally mind-blowing. u/missilefire. I saw Arrival in the theatre on a first date. I had recently had a miscarriage and left an abusive relationship and I was a mess didn't know what we were going to see, but my Tinder date wanted to go to the movies and we saw this. I got about 15 minutes in before I was bawling my eyes out. He called me weird and left. I had almost a spiritual experience watching that movie alone and in such an emotionally vulnerable state. It was beautiful. u/DreyaNova. I was going to say this. That movie had the female actor battling her anxiety very realistically and coming out on top to be the heroine. u/majani

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