I’ve seen three movies so far during the holiday season and each has a strong and capable woman at its heart.
The lead character in the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens is the courageous, independent Rey. Unlike the Adam and Eve story where the woman is seduced by evil, in The Force Awakens it is a man who aligns himself with the dark side, and it is a woman who manages to defeat that negative power. Rey doesn’t care how she looks. She is loyal, skillful, resourceful and smart. A positive thing about the fact that this film is set to be a gigantic, global, commercial success is that girls everywhere are going to be introduced to this strong young woman who fights for herself and has a good heart. Sadly there are still many places in the world where females’ bodies and minds are not their own to control and in Rey, the female Jedi, they will find a powerful role model, a fearless survivor.
The lead character in the movie Brooklyn, is Eilis(pronounced Eye-lish) an immigrant to America in the early 1950s. Eilis has a powerful role model in her strong older sister Rose who supports their family financially and emotionally in a small Irish community. Rose is determined however that Eilis will have a different life and facilitates her travel to Brooklyn New York. Here Eilis survives homesickness, develops independence, and adapts to her foreign surroundings. Unlike Rey in The Force Awakens Eilis does care how she looks and her beautiful clothes make her stand out, but so does her developing personal integrity, her willingness to try new things, and her ultimate decision to break away from her past and her Irish family and friends to start a new life for herself.
The lead character in the movie Joy is gutsy and determined Joy Mangano. Joy is an inventor and no matter what obstacles are thrown in her way she never gives up. She takes risks and looks for a way out of despair when none seems possible. She is a dreamer but her feet are firmly planted in the reality of her tough life. Joy is the financial and emotional anchor of her highly dysfunctional family and unlike Eilis in Brooklyn who eventually chooses her own fulfillment over family loyalty, Joy remains committed to, and supportive of her critical father, mentally unstable mother, unemployed ex-husband and jealous step sister even when they doubt her, betray her and take advantage of her. Joy is an inventor and using her bravado and brains she invents a new life for herself and her family.
Three strong heroines. Three very different movies. Three very different women. Three films I enjoyed.