“If you want something to be said, ask a man. If you want something to be done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher. The year was 2009, and the 15-year old babyfaced me had decided to delve into world cinema beyond the mainstream franchise blockbusters which were my only exposure to Hollywood till then. I chanced upon the name of some guy named Quentin Tarantino (Or something like that!) who all the cinema connoisseurs around me kept raving about and sat down to check out this two-part film called “Kill Bill”. Boy, did it blow my mind to bits! I relished its bare, raw violence, its stylised rendering, but most of all, its supremely badass protagonist of a kind I had never seen before. My used-to-Bollywood psyche was liberated.
Time and time again, such brilliant women have bowled us over by breaking moulds and essaying bold roles against the dated archetypes like “naive object of desire” or “femme fatale”. This list strives to recognise the finest of these characters. The sheer multitude of iconic and famous female movie characters over the ages makes choosing 10 characters a Herculean task, and thus necessitates a few honourable mentions of great characters who missed the main list by a hair’s breadth: Amy Dunne (Gone Girl), Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series), Lizbeth Salander (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Dorothy Gale (The Wizard Of Oz), Juno MacGuff (Juno). Now for the main event. Here is the list of top female movie characters ever.
10. Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd)
Played By: Gloria Swanson
Profile: A faded silent film actress of yore, who obsessively dreams of making a triumphant comeback into films and draws a failing screenwriter into her maniacal fantasies. An unstable, eccentric rendition of Norman Desmond by Swanson makes this “movie about movies”, which shows the dark side of Tinseltown, all too real. The climax, wherein Norma kills the screenwriter and believes the newsreel cameras sent to cover the murder are there to film her, is spine-chilling, when Norma coos “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up”.
9. Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Played By: Charlize Theron