This made me look back, back at my film watching past and who could make the Netflix list. Strong women like Mary Poppins - she took no nonsense and at the top of her career game. I guess that's not so dark but London's not at its best in that movie. The Witches of Eastwick also was a childhood favorite of mine.Three friend hanging out, fighting and making magic - the sexual allure of Jack Nicholson was not on and has not ever been on my radar, making for a great buddy movie.
By the late 80s 'Strong Women' and 'Crazy Women' were all interchangeable and what Glenn Close had started on a low not so low heat in Fatal Attraction, well by the mid-90s, was on full 'Bunny Boiler' form.
We had a cinematic epidemic of insanely hot insane women.
And literally on the edge of that is Thelma and Louise, although that was more a case of a series of unfortunate events. I'm glad I wasn't a teenager at this point or I may have been under the impression all women were allowed to be was crazy. Crazy and crazy sexy that is!
Thank god while all this was going on at least we had Sarah Connor helping the Terminator save the planet! An interesting later take on this collection of leading ladies is Freeway. If you don't watch it with the director's commentary (he fetishes violent young women and has a thing for white panties and bunches which may make you cringe a hell of a lot). I know I've put you off completely but the performances are excellent and the
female characters are interesting as they struggle with their mental health in a way where they have a moral compass and depth. It has Orange is the New Black prison thing going on too.
However Netflix of the 21st were talking about the strength inside ourselves rather than the kind that brandishes knives, ice picks and stiletto heels. Hmm, I still don't think we need to be including the 'strong' though. Female in contrast to male, yes but strong in contrast to what? I guess using it in that way also makes it seem like it's unusual for women to be strong.
Anyway if we are going for dark films and strong female characters let's list a few you may have missed. I leave you with an odd collection of my favourites:
Helen Lyle - Candyman
My horror heroine shout out goes to the timelessly hypnotic and fearless Helen. She won't let social constructs or her husband get in the way of her academic career even when it takes her to hell and back! Men are the
obstacle throughout this film and alive or dead, Helen isn't taking their shit.
Little Edie - Grey Gardens
This beautiful and absorbing documentary is dark in its bittersweet nature. Little Edie is a character and has the energy of an 8 year old rather than a lady over 50. Living with her mother in their dilapidated grand old house, it would be easy to pity Edie, but she just doesnât seem to need it. It very rare you seen a film about older women, especially those who have not followed the conventions of an ordinary life.
Christiane F. - Christiane F.
This film is based on a true account of a girl from Berlin who got into way too much way to young. I spent most of the film screaming at her not to do things and then almost cried when her mother brought in her birthday cake and there were NOT as many candles as I was hoping to see. To go through all that and come out the other side is incredible. David Bowie thinks so too.
Dawn Weiner - Welcome to the Dollhouse
I love Dawn Weiner. The director killed her off in Life During Wartime but in my head Dawn grew up to be somewhat like myself. Ok and definitely a better person for all the shit she put up with in secondary school, or in this case junior high. She always has a come back and is herself.
Frances - Frances Ha
It's like Frances went through the recession too! While this is not a dark film it does show you how unrelenting life can be and in the most mundane way. Frances has a goal and she tried all the sensible, small step ways to get to it but things never add up and thereâs always another hassle round the corner but she's smiling and living. I think the phrase that this character sums up is 'keep on truckin'