Here are the rules:
- The female character in question should have qualities that make her strong. That doesn't necessarily mean better than the guys, just well-written; we're trying to promote equality here, not reverse misogyny.
- Unlike my previous blogathon, I'm going to be a bit stricter here and say that each entry should only focus on one character. However, if you like you can write multiple entries examining different characters.
- If you can, do try to find less obvious choices. There are a few that I can expect are likely to get picked: Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, etc. If you decide to write about any the "obvious" choices, I encourage you to at least try and find something new to say about them.
- You are allowed to pick characters from any film from genre or time period you like.
So when it comes to fierce female characters in movies I decided to go with one character I don't think I wrote a great deal about, as some of the strong female characters where featured on my favorite characters list and she was not there. It's Elizabeth Shaw from Prometheus, played by Noomi Rapace who was my choice for best female performance back in 2013.
While Elizabeth shares some qualities with Ellen Ripley, she is sufficiently different from her while at the same time being a worthy successor to the legendary heroine. Elizabeth has the best kind of strength - one that comes from overcoming her weaknesses. She is not some superhuman entity that doesn't experience fear or sadness. She feels deeply and she keeps going in spite of being frightened, hurt or discouraged.
Elizabeth is an idealist and scientist, determined to find those who created us - the Engineers - she is fascinated with the origins of life and a very interesting aspect of all of this is the fact she herself cannot have children. Scott throws in a cruel twist in which Elizabeth is impregnated by aliens and is forced to perform self operation to extract the fetus. It's the movie's best moment, one that is equally horrific and impressive. Many would be tempted to throw in crazy twist in which Elizabeth cares for her 'baby' (as it was in the film's original script) but the film wisely chose the different path, showing that Elizabeth knows right from wrong even in the face of inexplicable.
What adds to the whole quest of the character is Elizabeth's spirituality - she believes, yet she is a scientist. She thinks there is still some supernatural force out there. In spite of everything she sees, not only does she not lose her faith, she also doesn't lose her hope. She keeps going, even after everything that has happened to her.
Shaw is given the film's best scenes and these are the moments when we see just how strong this woman is - the moment in which she is trying to put herself together after what happened while shaking is incredible. We also get to see her vulnerability when she talks about her infertility and her joy when she discovers the cave paintings in the beginning of the movie. Her character is such human, such interesting mixture of courage and weakness, fear and hope, persistence and exhaustion.
While the film have been criticized for its characters - Theron playing a 'dull' person or the biologists being stupid - I felt the character of Elizabeth was just fascinating. She is human, but she is extraordinary because of her qualities - curiosity, bravery, persistence. She doesn't give up, she continues to go after what she wants. With each month I find it less and less likely that we will see the sequel to the movie, but I'm hoping it gets made and Rapace yet again brings Elizabeth to life.