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International Women’s Day: Badass Bitches On Film

Sunday 08 March 2015

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Words Ailis Mara

It’s International Women’s Day! To celebrate, we’re taking a timely look at some of the most kick-ass women in film. Timely, because awards season recently shone a light on the pressures women in Hollywood face. From the revelations that Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were paid less than their male co-stars on ‘American Hustle’, to the backlash against Patricia Arquette’s Oscars speech in which she called for wage equality, International Women’s Day is a good time to think about the women in Hollywood who strive to this day for something different. So, from bad bitches to wicked women, let’s take a look at women fighting Hollywood’s endemic sexism:

Sigourney Weaver

Her High School yearbook quote was “Please, God, please, don’t let me be normal”, and it seems God answered her prayers. She shot to fame as the sole survivor of the Nostromo in ‘Alien’, the role that set the tone for the rest of her career: she’s battled ghosts, aliens and Melanie Griffith with steely determination, breaking the mold for female actors in movies. Normal she certainly ain’t.

Essential viewing: ‘Alien’/’Aliens’

Jane Fonda

Fo is as fearless onscreen as she is off. Anyone that can produce and star in Oscar-winning movies about multiplex-unfriendly fare such as war, prostitution and nuclear meltdown, while simultaneously being burgled and phone-tapped by the FBI, counts as virtually indestructible in my book.

Essential viewing: ‘Coming Home’

Mia Wasikowska

A relative newcomer to movies, but surely one of the most exciting of the younger crop of stars. Her choices are never predictable, favouring edgy, darker projects over anything inside the Hollywood machine, which means we’ve been treated to the site of her bludgeoning, stabbing and shooting an alarming number of co-stars. Delightful!

Essential viewing: ‘Maps to the Stars’

Glenn Close

Whereas Meryl Streep always tried to get to the sympathetic heart of the difficult characters she played, sympathy never bothered Glenn Close; no, her characters were downright deranged and she committed to playing them with terrifying authenticity.The RSPCA won’t thank her for inventing bunny boiling or starting a trend for dalmatian fur, but we’ve loved watching every second of her gallery of psychotic performances.

Essential viewing: ‘Fatal Attraction’

Bette Davis

The grand dame of bad bitches on film, Bette re-invented the wheel with her succession of indelible portrayals in the 30s and 40s, a time when women in movies were only meant to be pretty, passive and secondary to the men. Indeed, in ‘The Letter’ her lover spurns her so she guns him down in the opening seconds of the movie: Bette was secondary to no man, and inspired actresses for generations to come.

Essential viewing: ‘The Letter’