The Ten Most Iconic Female Movie Characters

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.

That little intro was all the info needed to understand this awesome blogathon, which was started by Dell on Movies, where you can follow the list’s path. I’m honored to have been nominated by Dev Nic Smith’s awesome blog, Movies n’ Stuff. ADDENDUM (11/27/14): As of when I wrote this a couple days ago, I hadn’t nominated anyone yet but I’m pleased to announce that I’ve nominated Natalie of Writer Loves Movies and she accepted! She’ll have hers up sometime in the second week of December. She’s a fantastic writer who I’m happy to work with over at Audiences Everywhere.

Anyway, the list stands as this:

1

2

3

4

6

7

8

MIAa

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First of all, I agree with Dev’s overall line of reasoning, right down to why she eliminated Elsa from Frozen. I love Uma Thurman’s Tarantino characters and, of course, I’m partial to the horror movie heroines and sci-fi supergirls found on this list, as well. I would, however, feel an immense amount of guilt if I took someone like Scarlett O’Hara off the list, merely as a matter of preference. I mean, she’s pretty important. But it was her or Elle Woods (who was Dev’s pick).

Ultimately, I had to eliminate Elle Woods. I think Witherspoon is a great comedienne in Legally Blonde (2001), and Elle is a pretty fantastic character when you think about it– embodying gender stereotypes while also balancing and maintaining her intellect and independence, thus defying those stereotypes and pointing out their limitations, just as Dev said. But, the film never made a huge impact on me personally and so I’ve got to make room for my favorite movie female: Clementine Kruczynski of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

I am biased only in that this is also my favorite movie of all time, but part of why it’s my favorite movie has always been the character of Clementine, played by Kate Winslet. Clem is, for me, simultaneously the most quirky, eccentric female character but she’s somehow also terribly relatable, both because of and despite those quirks. She is brutish at times– so, you’d think, “strong female character,” but the two are not necessarily synonymous; she is a strong female character in the sense that she is complex, and she’s allowed to be confident and obnoxious one moment and be completely emotionally wrecked in the next. She is moody, insecure, and impulsive– with her brightly colored hair and equally inconsistent personality, she actually fills up and fluctuates within the gray area between “strong” and “weak” female dichotomies.

Clem isn’t the best role model, per se, but she proves that a female character can come along every once in a while whose personality is as fluid as real women’s personalities can be– she has sexual agency and exercises her choice by, well, choosing perhaps too impulsively (as she does to erase Joel from her memory). I always related to Clementine on an emotional level, and maybe that’s embarrassing to admit– but all her brashness paired with her underlying uncertainty about her looks, love and life always struck me as unique as far as film history is concerned, and it always made me feel like complicated women do have a place on screen. And for that, I think Clementine is well deserving of a place on this list.

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Thanks again to Dev for the nomination and good luck to all the future participants! I will announce who I’ve nominated ASAP and will wish them luck in particular!

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5 thoughts on “The Ten Most Iconic Female Movie Characters

  1. Great choice. Clementine may be the opposite of Joel but she is equally as flawed, and it’s clever how the writers make her virtues her greatest weaknesses. Kate Winslet plays the part perfectly.
    One of the most interesting things I noticed about this character is how her hair colour changes are a mark in time, and it’s quite possible to draw a straight narrative from Joel dreams observing Clementine’s hair.

    The hair is also emotionally colour coded:

    Green (their first meeting – green for start)
    Red (happy times during the relationship – red for passion)
    Orange (the relationship falters – orange for stalling)
    Blue (after the break-up – blue for sorrow or cooling off)

    Or then again, I might be reading things completely wrong!

    • Wow that’s amazing analysis! No such thing as reading things wrong in a situation like this. I agree that her flaws are likewise what make her so fascinating and unique and distinct as a character. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I was going to shed a tear when I saw you eliminated Elle…. until I saw you replaced her with Clementine! Can’t be mad at that. What a great choice. Thanks again for doing this!

    • Hi! So so so sorry for such a delayed response, I took a month off blogging without formally deciding/announcing that I was, it just sort of happened. Anyway, thanks very much I’m glad you liked it and I was happy to keep it rolling. I nominated Natalie from Writer Loves Movies, I haven’t had a chance to check if she’d posted hers yet but she said she definitely would be doing it 🙂

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