In the past, women often played supporting roles in major films. It’s only in recent decades that we have had many different female leads across genres. With this growing trend, we’ve seen the rise of many powerful women with actual development arcs. These characters have built new franchises, and changed the face and tone of older ones. Here are some inspiring female characters from modern Hollywood films. 

Wonder Woman

Of course, you have to start off with one of the most iconic representations of a powerful female lead. Wonder Woman has been a popular figure in both comic books and superhero films for decades. As the female version of Superman, she has enormous strength, speed, and resistance to injury, while having an intriguing history that keeps the viewer engaged. She may not be grounded in reality, but as a strong female character that has remained endearing for decades, she will always deserve a nod. 

Molly’s Game

If you are looking for a true story of a powerful woman with a fascinating backstory, the 2017 film Molly’s Game may be perfect. In this recent film, we experience the dramatic retelling of the life of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier who became one of the most powerful figures in underground poker. This is a real-life character who was cunning and brave enough to strike her own path outside of the realm of normality. 

Throughout the film, we see Molly’s evolution into a capable and confident person who is able to use her charm and network to build these prestigious poker events. She has many admirable qualities, and it’s clear that her players are drawn to her magnetic personality. One of her most inspiring traits is her inner strength that she must draw on for many of the film’s most challenging moments. 

Kill Bill 

The character of “The Bride” (Uma Thurman) is the very definition of a “femme fatale”. She is beautiful and confident, with elite skills that make her a ferocious opponent. At almost 20 years old, this film may be dated compared to others on this list, but Uma Thurman’s character is the best example of the dynamic female lead that has become so popular in modern films. Throughout the two-picture series, we see many different sides to The Bride’s personality as she conquers numerous challenges. While her mission may be one-dimensional, she clearly has more going on inside her than just revenge. The recurring theme of motherhood is prevalent throughout. 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Star Wars franchise has had its share of strong female characters and in recent years, it has taken this characteristic to a new level. In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the character Jyn Erso is far from a damsel in distress. She has spent her life developing skills and a hardened mindset through her work as a criminal and a soldier and in this Star Wars story, she has decided to fight for The Rebellion. 

The character of Jyn Erso has become an important one in the franchise. She is a symbol of the rest of the Star Wars world that doesn’t revolve around Jedis and Sith Lords. For so long the franchise has been obsessed with this massive interplanetary war, and yet has overlooked many of the smaller beings that inhabit this universe. Erso is a symbol of the many people in this fantasy world that while seemingly insignificant, can actually have a big impact. 

The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen of the blockbuster franchise The Hunger Games has been embedded in the subconscious of millions of people around the world. Her honest story of a young girl against an overwhelming force and rising to the occasion has become a relatable theme in the world today. 

Unlike other characters on this list, Katniss is not the type of character that eliminates enemies in a single strike and has unshakeable confidence. She is vulnerable, and growing with every film. Katniss and the world she lives in is in no way glamorous, yet she manages to lift the spirits of herself and those around her and never loses faith. She is relatable to many people because she is an imperfect character who does the best she can in every situation and has emotional strength over physical strength. 


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