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

1.  Shuzuku Tsukishima, Whisper of the Heart:
Subcategory: emotional

Shizuku is an ordinary student who doesn’t have much of a goal in life. She mainly loves to read, and doesn’t know what else she would like to do. But through encounters with a young, ambitious violin maker, a cat statue, an antique shop owner, a cat that likes to ride trains, and simply ordinary life, she discovers her passion is to write. She even sets up a goal to finish her first novel by the time a friend/ sort of boyfriend returns home after pursuing one of his passions. Shizuku earned her spot on this list for her stubborn determination in meeting her goals. Writing a book in two months is hard, and yet she persists anyway, even while dealing with the stress of daily life and writer’s block.

2. Coraline Jones, Coraline:

Subcategory: emotional

Coraline starts off as being a little bratty and whiny. But as her life turns upside down and she encounters truly frightening things, she discovers the bravery, kindness, and smarts she never knew she had. When she ends up stuck in a game between her and the Other Mother, she uses her wits and fast thinking to survive. Coraline’s journey is similar to Chihiro’s from Spirited Away; they start off as petty and bratty, but discover the hidden virtues that come out during life changing circumstances.  She manages to outwit the dangers of the Other World, and confronts The Other Mother despite her fears. She even manages to outwit her at her own game! 

3. M, James Bond franchise

Subcategory: emotional

M is the director of MI6, which is really not an easy job. She has to make tough calls and rarely rely on her own feelings. She may seem overly cold and detached, but she is in charge of several missions and spywork, which calls for objective reasoning. I haven’t rewatched the movies in a while, so this will be short; basically, she makes tough calls and sacrifices when no one else can, and she can still often hold her own. 

4. Mattie Ross, True Grit:

Subcategory: physical

Dang, I wanted to put her on the book section so bad, but realized that she was still in a movie. So Mattie is much more independent, capable, and shrewd at the age of 14 than most older heroines are nowadays. She’s chasing the coward Tom Chaney, who shot and killed  her father over really stupid reasons. Mattie has been known to barter and get just about anything she wants, is able to hire a ranger called Rooster Cogburn to help her find Chaney, and has some obvious tough skin, even in life threatening circumstances. Barely anything makes her lose her cool, and she is single minded in her pursuit. 

5. Michelle, 10 Cloverfield Lane:
Subcategory: physical

Michelle is a heroine who managed to balance the three types of strength flawlessly and without feeling overpowered. After a car accident, she wakes up to find herself kidnapped and hidden in a bunker. A man called Howard claims that the world is ending outside, and that she, him, and another man called Emmett are the only safe ones. After many attempted escapes, Michelle faces a dark possibility, and remains in the bunker. However, when her suspicions about Howard reach a point, she and Emmett attempt a final escape. Michelle proves to be physically capable even while injured, resilient, and incredibly intelligent.

Next week is my last installment in this series: mental  strength in Webtoons. I hope you liked this, and that you check it out! Also, I’ve been wondering..should I replace some old images in older Analyzing Women’s Strength series with GIFs? Just wondering. Please give me responses in the comments section! 

16 thoughts on “Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Mental Strength in Movies

  1. Love this! ❤
    I couldn't agree more about Shuzuku. She reminds me of myself when I was a bit younger (still does, on occasion). At first, you don't really think too much of her, but as the movie progresses, you really get a sense of her true strength.
    Mattie is the most badass heroine of existence and you're right, at only 14 she tops a lot of women twice her age. Very, very impressive. She was probably my favorite thing about the whole movie!
    I'll be watching/reading Coraline soon but I'm glad she made the list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG you saw Whisper of the Heart? (Screams) I love that movie! She’s really strong emotionally and mentally, and she’s one of my most relatable characters, haha. And you’ve seen True Grit? I didn’t know that! Mattie is such an underrated heroine; she gets more stuff done at the age of 14 than most heroines older. She’s awesome, and I recommend the book!
      Ooh, Coraline is also pretty good. I haven’t read the book (yet) but in the movie, she was way more capable than I would be.

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      1. Yes!!! It was so simple but so honest and real and definitely one of those movies I can relate to at a deeper level ^^ There’s not a complex plot going on or anything, but it’s so sweet. I went in with super low expectations as it was so underrated and no one talked about it much. But I really liked it!
        I watched True Grit without knowing there was a book at the time. But it got me super curious!
        I refused to watch Coraline until I read the book hahaha I’m not sure if that was a good decision or not. But apparently both are super creepy and awesome. I’ll have to give them both a try soon as well! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know! And it’s also based on a manga! I watched it when I was really little, and it still has a special place in my heart. I rewatched it last year, and my dad walked in and even said I remind him of Shizuku. (Although I am less of a romantic, haha).
        You should totally read True Grit! It’s awesome!
        Yeah, I saw Coraline in eighth grade because of a class where we actually made a stop motion short film. It scared everybody in there. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hahaha, that was one part I certainly didn’t identify with in the movie, but it was kind of cute. A bit instalovey but adorable so I didn’t complain much.
        And what’s up with teachers showing traumatizing material to their students? Of all the motion stop movies they could have picked! XD I mean, I know some grown people who are terrified of Coraline, so I’m not sure how age appropriate it truly is. The general rating seems to be +9 but I’ve seen way too many parent reviews saying that is an inaccurate rating, as the movie terrified their older kids! So yeah, I think it might be a bit too disturbing for some teenagers, let alone children. I guess it really depends on the person’s maturity level. I hate scary stuff so I’m a bit hesitant to watch it but I will, as long as I have some company XD

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, it was a little insta-love, but not quite (I.e, not love at first sight. They didn’t start off on the right foot, after all). And besides, most insta-love couples don’t have good chemistry, but these two do, so I’m cool with it. Haha, most stop-motion movies are kinda creepy, and he probably didn’t want to show us Nightmare Before Christmas (everyone’s seen that). Yeah, I’m not scared of it now, but eight grade me was definitely creeped out. It depends on maturity. I have a young friend who didn’t get creeped out at all. (Sometimes I’m like, are you human?)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah, true. But it was still a little like she looked at him and he looked at her and there were sparks flying away hahaha But yeah, didn’t bother me too much.
        It was sooooo cute when they played/singed together! And when he first started to tease her about the song hahaha I would laugh so hard every time!
        I love stop-motion movies 🙂 But I think you either get super adorable or super creepy with them hahaha
        Oh I know the kind. I’m always so jealous of that type of people XD

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think Wallace and Gromit totally counts, and I love it! I also love Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run. Though Chicken Run was both hilarious AND creepy XD
        The Lego movies were awesome as well but they’re a mix of stop motion and CGI so I might be cheating here hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I was quite skeptical because I’m not even a Lego fan and thought it would be really childish and silly. Quite the opposite!
        The Batman one does have a lot more personality, though. Funnily enough, he was a really minor character in the first Lego movie, but I think he stood out so much and people loved him so much, they decided to make him star on his own.
        I really hope you enjoy them! The humor is quite on point 🙂 Oh, and it’s definitely *not* for kids. There are waaayyy too many adult jokes in there hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

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