Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Emotional Strength in Movies

1. Sophie Hatter, Howl’s Moving Castle

Subcategory: mental

Sophie is from one of Ghibli’s most famous movies, and rightly so. This film was gorgeous with its animation, writing, and characters. Anyway, Sophie dealt with low self-esteem from the start. She always compared herself to her younger sister, Lettie, who was obviously pretty and very popular. And then, to make matters worse, she was cursed to become a ninety year old woman. But it is through this curse and her new life with the wizard Howl, his apprentice Markl, the fire demon Calcifer, and other characters that boost her esteem and show how resilient and tough she is. Sophie is one of the most famous and popular Ghibli heroines, and it’s no wonder why; she doesn’t allow her curse to break her. She shows her tough skinned, stubborn nature and resilience. She also saves a wizard, a prince, and herself from curses while becoming more confident.

2. Nani Pelekai,  Lilo and Stitch 

Subcategory: mental

Nani is a nineteen year old who has to raise her five year old sister, Lilo, all by herself. And Lilo is definitely a handful by herself, but when Stitch enters their family, things become even more stressful and chaotic. And while Nani does lose her temper a lot, she is nineteen, and handles things better than most teenagers would. To top it off, she also has to find a steady job and keep Lilo from being taken and put into foster care. Nani is an incredibly underrated Disney heroine; she tackles mature things that most of the princesses don’t have to deal with. She also becomes stronger and more capable as the movie goes on.

3. Mia, La La Land

Subcategory: mental

Mia has a dream that seems almost impossible; become an actress for a living. And she’s in L.A, probably the spot where most actresses go to try to make it big, so she has a lot of competition. And while she does become frustrated with auditions and her dream seeming impossible, she doesn’t give up and keeps going. Also, her relationship with Sebastian is also hard, as he has a difficult dream as well. Mia seems to be a positively liked character, which makes sense. Her talent, hard work, and determination are all inspiring traits.

4. Chihiro Ogino, Spirited Away

Subcategory: mental

Chihiro starts off as being a whiny, bratty, and spoiled ten year old. Yet when her parents are taken from her and she has to work in a spirit’s bath house, she exhibits the determination, bravery, and smarts that she wasn’t aware she had. The story is not about her suddenly developing these virtues to adapt to her situation; it’s about her finding these traits that already existed in her that she didn’t have a reason to use before. Chihiro has some of the best development in a heroine I’ve ever seen. Her character journey is beautifully portrayed and seems very realistic, especially for a ten year old.  It’s no wonder she’s such a famous Ghibli lead; she’s definitely someone to look up to.

5. Scarlet Witch, Avengers universe

Subcategory: physical

No, I have not seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet. So I can’t talk about that, really. But I can talk about her strength in Captain America: Civil War. Scarlet Witch is still grieving over the loss of her brother (no, I have ‘t seen Ultron. Yes, this has been spoiled.), and she also feels guilt over an accident that happened at the start of the film. And she still remains powerful and unbroken. Many people would be crushed over such things happening to them in a short period of time, yet Scarlet Witch can still bring herself to smile over small things. I am not well aquatinted with the fan base, yet I’ll be surprised if she’s a disliked character; I think that she’s powerful and resilient.

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