At a time of massive cultural shifts in an industry that is not considered the most female-forward, movie portrayals of women as problem solvers, warriors, and complex, independent individuals have never felt more relevant. For an antidote to the doting female sidekick trope, look no further than sci-fi, fantasy, action, and adventure, where strong female protagonists and empowering themes dominate on both sides of the camera.
To celebrate the latest addition to the canon — Disney's upcoming take on the classic novel
A Wrinkle in Time — we've rounded up the reasons female-centered movies like this make us feel a little bit more awesome by the time the credits roll. If you need any further incentive to go see the new film in theaters on March 9, consider that it's directed by Ava DuVernay, it's written by Jennifer Lee, and the female-led cast includes Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Storm Reid, and someone you may have heard of named Oprah Winfrey!
Intricate Plot Twists Driven by Female Intuition and Serious Skills
Protagonists of action, sci-fi, fantasy and adventure movies have a lot to talk about in therapy. If it's not bad parents or no parents, you can bet there's some childhood trauma or a missing family member to explain why they do not appreciate being told to smile more. It's all motivation for the job at hand, be it saving the world, gathering supplies in some dystopian future, or, if she has
real problems, making it back to earth or this dimension. As if high school wasn't challenging enough, A Wrinkle in Time's Meg Murry's father is being held prisoner by evil forces on another planet and she has to travel through a "wrinkle" in the space-time continuum to get to him. That's two badass points right there.
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Diverse Protagonists Who Always Look the Part
When the stakes are this high, our heroine's appearance is another tool in her arsenal. This girl dresses for the task at hand, whether that means combat boots and tank tops for tackling rope swings and caves, camouflage, on-point makeup, a mohawk, a spacesuit, or whatever works for hanging out at the library and doing math homework, like Meg. If she's seriously sculpted, she got it from trying to staying alive; if she's not, it's because she has other things to do. The three Mrs's who lead Meg on her journey are each other-worldly in their own way, from Mrs. Which's regal robes and bejeweled eyebrows to Mrs. Who's love of color and Mrs. Whatsit's red hair and ethereal gaze. Regardless, her look is always #goals — her goals.
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Depictions of Surmounting Fatal Flaws
No matter what the surface says, stars of action, adventure, and sci-fi are usually nine-tenths superhuman abilities and one-tenth a twisted knot of vulnerability (who can't relate to Meg's frustrations with school?). You can bet that their adversaries know their soft spots, whether it's threatening something that they love or are trying to save, exploiting a weakness or an inability, or using traits like temper, curiosity, or stubbornness to lure them into traps. Just like the rest of us, these characters tend to give themselves a hard time for not being perfect, despite all the amazing things they've just accomplished. "Oh, so you just survived a brutal, deadly reality show game? Yeah, but your love life is a mess." There's a lesson for all of us here: go easy on yourself, girl.
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They Teach Us to Follow Our Passions, No Matter What
As you might expect, extra special women are drawn to unorthodox career and study paths — unless, of course, that humdrum 9-to-5 is actually a cover story for fighting crime or aliens on nights and weekends. You can bet that whatever their passions are, they rock them — but not without some bumps in the road. Meg's extraordinary math and science abilities don't translate at school, but she's a role model for thinking outside the box, turning your liabilities into assets, and, most of all, believing in yourself. On that last point, we're betting that hanging out with Oprah helps tremendously.
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More from Disney's A Wrinkle In Time
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