Although women have been essential features in films since the start, the lack of cool female characters has been a constant trend. A trait often associated with men, coolness has seldom been seen in women until recent years, with the fortunate rise of female representation in film. Here are the five of the coolest women to hit the big screen:
Starting off the list is one of the greatest actresses of all time, Meryl Streep’s Katharine Graham in “The Post.” Streep continues to wow audiences, showing that there is no age limit to cool with her performance as the publisher of The Washington Post, as she shows the struggles Graham faced making it in a male-dominated field while experiencing pressure from the government to keep her from publishing confidential documents. Although she is told by everyone to stop the release of the sensitive material that incriminates past presidents and reprimands them for their involvement in the Vietnam War, Graham finds that sharing the truth with the American people is more important, as lives are being lost for the sake of covering up past administrations. Even at the risk of incarceration and of losing her newspaper, Graham fails to succumb to the pressure, doing what she thinks she is right and putting those against her in their place.
While the actress Salma Hayek is debatably cooler than any character she has ever played, if one had to choose, perhaps her portrayal as feminist and Mexican icon Frida Kahlo is as close as it gets. In the biopic movie “Frida,” the audience learns how the painter managed to overcome many hurdles to become the iconic artist she is today. Suffering from a crippling accident and a tumultuous marriage with artist Diego Rivera, Kahlo used painting as her outlet. Nonetheless, Kahlo somehow managed to transcend her art, becoming a cultural and political revolutionary through her bold and outspoken personality. Befitting of the actress who plays her, Kahlo shows how she refused to let norms or customs stop her from being herself and from sharing her identity with the whole world.
Next on the list is Ramona Flowers from “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Flowers does what she wants, cares for those around her and has an amazing music taste. Not only is this enough for Scott Pilgrim to fight off her evil exes in order to be with her, Flowers helps him fight them off as well. While Flowers is confident and unapologetically herself, she looks for what is best for the people who matter to her, putting aside her own well-being to see others happy. This makes her one of the coolest characters, regardless of gender, in movie history.
Hermione Granger is next on the list from the “Harry Potter” saga. Not only is Granger’s problem-solving and cunning essential for saving Harry several times, it is her intellect combined with her loyalty and kindness that make her truly cool. Granger is not afraid to speak up and defend her loved ones. She is always confident and determined to do what is right. Her straight-forwardness, along with her deep compassion for others, have made Granger a key character to one of the most beloved series of all time and a paragon for young women around the world.
Uma Thurman’s The Bride from “Kill Bill” has to finish off this list as the coolest female character ever. Although it can be debated that director Quentin Tarantino has created two of the best female movie personalities, with Mia Wallace from “Pulp Fiction” and The Bride from “Kill Bill,” both coincidentally portrayed by Uma Thurman, it is hard to deny that The Bride has to reign over any other character in this category. In an extremely violent fashion, The Bride only uses her amazing martial arts knowledge to exact revenge on the team that left her for dead.
Nonetheless, The Bride always avoids any possible collateral damage, only killing those who are guilty for stealing her daughter and showing her true kind self to those who actually help her. Ultimately, while she gains some satisfaction from killing most of the people in her former clan, the Bride — even while corrupted from all the suffering she has endured — shows visible pain from killing those she used to care for the most.
Evidently, while being cool is usually not a trait attributed to female characters, many women have earned the title fair and square. Unfortunately, while this superlative is often assigned to men for a suave demeanor, being cool or bad–s is mostly given to women with more violent tendencies. Nonetheless, there have been some instances where a new cool is defined with women who are both determined and compassionate, inspiring women of all ages.