I love watching films about strong women. I think they’re so important to see and to celebrate, so when I found out that Martin of Martin Teller’s Movie Reviews passed the baton to me in this most excellent of relay blogathons, I was really excited! Any chance to highlight the diversity, strength, and iconic status of certain women in film is very important indeed.
A list of 10 iconic female movie characters has been made. That list will be assigned to another blogger who can then change it by removing one character (describing why they think she should not be on the list) and replacing it with another one (also with motivation) and hand over the baton to another blogger. Once assigned, that blogger will have to put his/her post up within a week. If this is not the case the blogger who assigned it has to reassign it to another blogger.
With those rules all clear and out of the way, the ten iconic female characters that Martin passed on to me are all pretty awesome in their own way. He had just swapped out Uma Thurman’s character The Bride from Kill Bill 1 & 2 (2003; 2004), in favour of the enigmatic Catherine, played by Jeanne Moreau, from Truffaut’s classic film Jules et Jim (1962). Which I think was a very inspired choice! I really love every lady on this list so I’ll certainly have some trouble and angst in swapping one of them out. Here are the ten most iconic female movie characters I’ve been assigned:
As expected, I had some trouble with this. I can appreciate all of these female characters as being iconic in their own way. But when it came to swapping out one for another, I had to take into account what the word ‘iconic’ means to me. For the purposes of this post, I define ‘iconic’ as instantly recognisable and representative of an entire concept; you see this character and think of not just the film and its story, but what the film represents, and the accompanying issues as well. To me, ‘iconic’ means something that has had an impact on culture (both cinematic and beyond) not only in the short term, but into the future, and something that will continue to inspire. When I had a good think about it, one particular character came to mind.
I have chosen to swap out Sarah Connor (I do love her though) for Rosemary Woodhouse from Roman Polanski’s horror classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
Readers of this blog might remember that I really, really love this film and are probably pretty sick of hearing me wax lyrical about it! But it’s not just my biased view towards the film that has led me to this conclusion (I swear, although the film is pretty much perfect).
The character of Rosemary Woodhouse, played by the amazing Mia Farrow, can sometimes be read as a feminist’s nightmare as it brings up and never conclusively answers several questions about the right for women to the control and management of their own body, forced pregnancies, and the general playing-down of domestic/sexual violence and suppression of womens’ rights. But despite these very problematic themes indeed, Rosemary herself is iconic to me. Rosemary Woodhouse is the representative of Rosemary’s Baby; it is her actions, her sticking up for her own body and health, and her tenacious decisions and search for information, that represent her fight for her rights – even though (spoiler alert) this is generally to no avail. Mia Farrow’s performance is so powerful and memorable, and the progression of her character from someone with rose-coloured glasses about being a wife and mother, to someone who is living in their own personal nightmare, is simultaneously heartbreaking and incredibly stressful to watch.
On a more shallow note, the imagery associated with this film is absolutely iconic – for example, Rosemary withering away as her pregnancy progresses, her trendy Vidal Sassoon haircut, the disturbingly occult conception scene, and the final moments as Rosemary faces the horror that she sustained within her own body. Rosemary’s Baby is such an effective and scary horror film, and since it is led by such an iconic female character, it is sure to have an impact on the making of horror films for many, many years to come.
Thank you to Martin again for passing the baton to me in this most wonderful of blogathon relays. I pass the baton to… Alex of Alex Raphael! Can’t wait to see what you come up with for the next iconic female character!