Category: Movies

When a tale is told to us, we often automatically choose one of the characters to sympathize with and see things strictly from their point of view. The nature of tales and legends come from norms and ideals that were and are smiled upon when they get written down. Yet such things like norms and ideals change in time. Therefore re-tellings and modernizations of old legends have become wildly popular in modern day culture. Another new way of telling a story is by mixing fact with fiction – a person may tell her or his personal tale while mixing old myth and sagas into the real life events, making a connection to experiences in real and fictional people. Nina Paley uses skillfully and stylishly these both story telling methods in her animated film, “Sita Sings the Blues”.

“Sita Sings the Blues” recounts the Indian legend of Sita, the Wife of Rama, which was written by Valmiki in his epic book “The Ramayana”. Nina Paley reboots the legend as told from Sita’s point of view and gives a fresh and humorous feminist slant to this famous tale. Sita is a devoted and loving wife who faces many hardships from her husband and Ms. Paley uses the subtle hints and hidden implications of the Ramayana to embed a simultaneously story of her own break up with her live-in and long term boyfriend Dave giving us (and her) unsullied insights to both of these folds of the world. The animation changes different styles during the film, ranking from highly detailed and elegant, to humorously cartoony, to chunkily amateurish looking.

The film portrays two relationships gone wrong in a richly funny and equally serious tone. Sita is a woman who gets the raw part of the deal. She is a love martyr, constantly putting her husband first and getting little in return. A typical example of the sacrificial behavior that for many years has been the ideal for women. Unconditional love was and is used to portray the most kind and good women in culture, like Andersson’s Mermaid in his fairy tale “The Little Mermaid” and Nancy from Charles Dickenson’s “Oliver Twist”. However, Sita does show some strength eventually (but not spoilers so I will end here, but note Spoilers below!!!!).

Nina, Ms. Paley as herself in the movie, shows similar characteristics to Sita. She wants to be supportive of her boyfriend, but he shows little concern for her feelings or needs. When he breaks up with her, she lingers on him and begs him to take her back. But like Sita, she finds inner strength to carry on and pursue her own ambitions.
“Sita Sings the Blues” depicts the importance of independence and respecting one’s self. Sita lets herself, like Nina, forget about herself to please another person. This does not end well. Even if the film focuses on “break ups” it also makes a point about any phases of relationships and situations in the world. Ms. Paley tones up how passiveness keeps people trapped. With the choice of the recurring upbeat jazz/pop (of the 20’s) songs to describe Sita’s life the film makes a powerful statement on Sita’s life and the dilemma of the feminine in history and contemporary life. Her tale is sad and tragic, full of unfairness. Sita is a tragic and badly-used heroine, and the sound of Annette Hanshaw’s Jazz style (in one of the animated “style sequences”) is the both playfully expressive and popularly depressing becoming a perfect counterpoint for telling of both tales.

The men in the film or often portrayed as the ones who abandon. The depiction of Rama is very unflattering; he thinks mainly of himself and constantly doubts for little reason. He is a victim of the masculine expectations shown in the film, such as a man must have a pure wife to keep his pride. Since he is also royalty, he is taught to view himself in a vastly elevated manner regardless of his actual actions. This is mirrored in Dave, the boyfriend of Nina, who, after getting a promotion becomes suddenly distant and aloof without course or reason. “Sita Sings the Blues” however isn’t about men being betrayers, but tries to portray men who become brainwashed by social expectations and unrealistic and overly contained notions of masculinity.

“Sita Sings the Blues” is a sophisticated, surprisingly positive film about not letting a bad relationship ruining one’s life. The film tutors and advices one to live life without hanging onto the events which constrain and limit. The simple message is – with life we can do so much good by ourselves.

Nina Paley is a strong believer that all form of culture belongs to all people, and because of this she has made it possible for anyone to watch the film for free on her site. Here is the link to the her homepage where you can watch the film, download I, or a number of options to many to recount:

Ruthless realism and complex characters is the two main, strong points in the Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s films, “Ratcatcher” (1999) and “Movern Callar” (2002). The everyday life and anguish of lower class people is her core theme. Both films are great, but it is “Ratcatcher” I will review.

Lynne Ramsay

In the recent decades, the subject of poverty has been dealt with masterfully in many films. Courtney Hunts “Frozen River” (2008), Andrea Arnolds “Fish Tank” (2009) and Debra Granik’s “Winter’s Bone” (2010) to mention the very best ones. Even if all of these films deal with people of lower classes, every film has told their story differently and adding different elements to their story. “Fish Tank” for example also deals with troublesome relations between minors and adults and “Frozen River” deals with illegal human smuggling. “Ratcatcher” also, like these other films, focuses on the plight and difficulties inherent in the devastations of poverty. It is also about death, guilt, dreams and desolation.

“Ratcatcher” has one of the bleakest openings found in modern cinema. It introduces Ryan, a young 12-year old boy, only to drown him moments later. The story then follows James, a boy of a like age, who accidentally kills Ryan in the midst of aggressive play. James refuses to tell anyone that he killed his playmate, which results in him developing a terrible and deep-seated fear of water. He lives with his alcoholic father (Tommy Flanagan), his mother and two sisters. He hangs out with his friend Kenny, who has a huge interest and love for animals but is slightly dim. He also starts a platonic relationship with an older teenage girl, who is the local sexual punch bag for the town bullies. James dreams of moving away from the slums, away from the small dirty apartment he currently lives in, and moving into a beautiful big house he sees in suburban neighborhoods. But dreams defer and old secrets come back to haunt James.

The film “Ratcatcher” gives the viewer a slice-of-life experience while watching James trying to find happiness despite his situation. He is in deep conflict with his father and has almost no relationship with his mother. The mother tries her best to keep her children happy and cheerful when the father is out at the pubs, which at times works and at times doesn’t. James is unimpressed by his mother’s efforts. He tries to be friends with Kenny, but finds him annoying. Anne Marie, his “girlfriend”, is the only person he loves. A major current theme in the film is James dreams of moving to bigger, cleaner house in the suburbs. His lust for a better life is similar to that of “Fish Tanks” major protagonist Mia, who lives in the dead end corner of a lower class suburb but dreams of taking off and finding something better. Both films capture the desire and hope of a better life masterfully. However, Andrea Arnold “Fish Tank” is more subtle in this regard, using Mia’s obsession with freeing a horse as compound allegory of her own will to escape from her current life and using the song “California Dreaming” as a constant symbol of dreaming of a “warmer” home. In “Ratcathcer”, James’ dreams are depicted by him straight out asking his father if they have any chances of getting the opportunity to move to a new house far from the squalor of urban projects and crushed spirits. The film also uses a beautifully shot scene where James wonders around the project of under-construction semi-rural houses in a far-off (end of the line bus trip) “richer” neighborhood, were he pretends his occupation of the unfinished houses. James, being younger than 15-year old Mia, has the narrative conceive of his character as open and playful about his wishes. He wants what he wants. When he realizes he probably never will get to live in the kind of houses he longs after, he loses all hope in life. Being so young and powerless, he has no chance for happiness.

James’ friend, Kenny, is portrayed as the young man with a huge love and fascination for animals. Unfortunately, Kenny is stuck in the slums and has no chances of doing anything with his interest. He tries to fish pets out of a lifeless river bordering the back of the projects but, just as the social gives the tenants of this area, he can catching nothing from its dead waters.. He’s naivety is constantly taken advantage of and when he finally acquires a live specimen to love The town bullies manipulate Kenny and make him believe strange things, with tragic results. Kenny’s narrative portrait encompasses, for Ramsay, the stock of children who due to their background have no chances to develop their interest into something productive for either themselves or the society in which they live. Kenny is stuck with unfilled ambition and becomes the harbinger of waste.

Anne Marie, who is the girlfriend of James in the “Ratcatcher” dreams of something better. She starts a relationship with James because he is the only male around who is gentle towards her and in many ways mirrors her own outsider status. The town bullies more or less bully her into sexual favors, which Anne Marie partly hates and partly just accepts as natural in the mechanisms of survival of her urban lower class milieu. James becomes her havoc in a hopeless storm.

“Ratcatcher” is a film about an accidental murder that doesn’t dwell in the theme of guilt, but recognizes the traps and containments of poverty from which the act springs. James does feel guilt for his friends death, but has already so many and varied (and unsolvable) problems in his life he forces himself to forget the incident. Instead, he creates a fear of the tepid and stagnant river where his friend met his death. This projection of fear and guilt is rather symbolic. James keeps his secret well kept, which is easily done since the adults in his world have little, to no actual contact with the youngsters. Ramsay cleverly gives us a believable portrayal of a case when a child has accidentally killed another child. James, being so young and full of despair already from being poor, can’t handle anymore misery. He’s young mind blames the water. The harsh environment has taught him to ignore troublesome feelings and detach himself from the things happening around him.

“Ratcatcher” is honest, giving a view into an unkind life that gives no happy endings. Ramsay is merciless to her characters and merciless to the audience. Her debut movie offers nothing but reality.

Update: Ms. Ramsey has won a major award at the London film festival! Read about it here.

Terrorism has become one of the most discussed of all social disasters in the recent years, and this is especially true of suicide bombing. Numerous films have been made on this subject, such as “Four Lions” (2009) and “Paradise Now” (2005). However the majority of these films have centered young men, and it usually made clear in the films narratives that the young men are killing themselves as a hideous gesture for others and misbegotten ideologies.  Julia Loktev’s intense drama film “Day Night Day Night” (2006), however, tells about suicide bombing from a 19-year old girl’s perspective, and the storyline never details what others, thoughts or broken ideas have propelled her to the terrible decision to become a suicide bomber.  A vacancy is left in explanation of causes and nationalities and the act and its trajectory is what is left open for a terrible contemplation.  The  only thing the viewers is given as a certainty is that this bemused young girl believes in something so strongly  that she is willing to kill herself and others for its sake.

When the film begins, we hear the girl praying. She mumbles, making it impossible to hear what she is saying. Later on, she meets up with an anonymous driver who takes her to a hotel. At the hotel, she begins her training for “the mission”. She, as well as the audience, will never see her trainer’s faces. Loktev, the director, uses the scenes of the training to give us a hint of what kind of person the girl is and how the “trainers” threaten the “volunteers for death” with a subtle but definitive intimidation. The girl is obviously compulsive: when she bathes and washes, she scrubs herself violently and brutally. She also brushes her teeth roughly and with a single-mindedness which speaks of a dreadful compulsion. Her neurotic washing, which she does directly before her mind numbing training begins, reminded me of a similar scene from one of Shirin Neshat’s films, “Zarin”, where a prostitute disgusted with herself, and the appalling acts her body has been witness too, washes herself till she bleeds. The girl in “Day Night Day Night” doesn’t quite bleed, but the way she washes herself is incredibly obsessive, hinting at a form of self-hatred.  The girls trainers, who make sure to not reveal their faces to the girl but freely go through her things, demand her to blindfold herself and forbid her from opening the curtains in her hotel room, portrays a clear and lopsided power-relationship between the one who’s going to blow themselves up and the ones that give the orders to do so. The trainers, in all conversations and the trainings, use the mind tricks of power relations to brainwash and devalue the young girl with the intention to make sure there can be no reflection or change of mind while executing the ghastly and misguided mission. Loktev, who also wrote the screenplay, made an excellent choice in making the suicide bomber female and the trainer’s male: it makes her message of the training being a harsh power-relationship clearer and exploring the dynamics of the hierarchy of power. (This could have been made quite clear with a male suicide bomber as well, of course. It’s just that men’s mistreatment of women is such a common, global and major issue that the brainwashed one being female while the brainwashers are male makes the point more obvious). After the girl has completed her training, she receives a bomb in a backpack and goes out to full and raucous Time Square to complete her mission.

The film takes it’s time telling the story. It gives us details after details, grasping the viewer into an uncomfortable world of fanatics and fundamentalist thinking. Some may experience the film to be slow paced, when in my opinion it is just a clever and realistic way to show the creeping violence that lingers in our society.

The leading actress, Luisa Williams, does an unbelievably fantastic job as the girl. She speaks clearly, but sometimes in a weak voice. There are scenes where the girl is supposedly frighten out of her mind; in these scenes, Williams is able to get her hands to shake intensely and breathe alarmingly. This is handled perfectly, never feeling over dramatic. The girl is also portrayed with a disturbed look in her eyes, given perfectly through Williams’s performance. The casting of the girl suits the film perfectly, and Williams carries the films ghastly atmosphere brilliantly. The girl has a personality which is hard to understand, but the characters actions keep the viewer glued to the screen, petrified and perplexed. Luisa Williams acting is nothing else than pure gold!

“Day Night Day Night” is Julia Loktevs first fictional work. She has previously made a documentary, “Moment of Impact” (1998) and is now working on a second film. Loktev is originally from Russia, but lives currently in the U.S.A.  Loktev really impresses as a director and writer in her debut film, and I am waiting for her next film with great eagerness.

“Day Night Day Night” is a much unknown film, but worth watching. It shows suicide bombers as well as any terrorism as a problem that emerges when people are convinced and believe too strongly in something. The films hints at things, but ultimately leaves the viewer to decide why the girl is doing what she’s doing. I, for instance, am pretty sure she has religious motives, but it is impossible to figure out if that truly is the real motive or not. Loktevs films gives you a rare, forceful experience that makes you think. “Day Night Day Night” is a cinematic gem.

Watch the trailer:

(Note: I am deeply, deepl sorry for this post, and nowadays very ashamed of it. I have become to realize how stigmatizing it is, even if I did not mean it. I would delete it, but decided to just have this note. I am sorry, and I have just recently began to understand my privilege as a able-bodied person with who does not struggle with mental health. I realize I was being insensitive and I apologize).

Like with the previous post, I will list some of the most memorable crazies shown in films, but this time they are male. The men are all insane, but some innocent minded, others vicious and some cruelly mad. Some have political power while others are “normal” citizens. As a head note, I would like to warn that some of my writing will contain spoilers for the movies featured.

Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is the main antagonist in the horror film “The Shining” (1980). Jack and his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) are the parents of the psychic little boy Danny, who can read minds and learns things about the past and the future through an imaginary friend. Danny keeps his abilities a secret, fearing his parents would react badly if they knew about his gift. One fateful winter day, Jack gets a job to take care of an infamous, isolated hotel. He moves there with his family. Jack plans on writing a play while keeping the hotel in great shape. Unfortunately, the Hotel is not a normal house; it is filled with evil spirits who are able to convince Jack to tap into his more dark and violent side.

Jack Torrance is a man who lets his obsessive ambitions and anger get the best of him. He is not too keen on being a father, leaving his wife to take care of Danny. He’s great love is not his family, but the hotel. He lingers on small incidents that have happened long time ago, not being able to let go of the past and is convinced that his wife has not forgiven him for things he has done. He talks to the ghosts in the hotel as if they were old friends, even if they clearly aren’t. The ghosts too easily manipulate Jack into trying to kill his family. The scariest part is that they don’t have to try very hard. Nicholson is brilliant as the out-of-control mad man; he is frightening and scary while also just a tiny bit funny. The character makes a few funny lines, but never lets the viewer forget the great danger he is to his family. Jack Torrance loves the hotel more than he loves his family. Nicholson completely gives into the role, giving an eerie portrayal of a man who engulfs himself in a new passion (the hotel) and lets it consume him to the point of complete insanity.

“The Shining” is a classic horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, who masterfully deals with the issues of domestic violence, obsession, secrets and the troubles of feeling different from others. Visually brilliant and emotionally engaging, “The Shining” is a horror masterpiece that is hard to forget.

Alfred Hitchcock made movie history with “Psycho” (1960) by not only fooling the audience by killing off the films “main character” in the beginning of the film, but by also making the antagonist and tragic man into a character who you can’t help but feel sorry for, even if he does horrible things. The tragic villain, who surprisingly becomes the films main lead is Norman Bates, played by Anthony Perkins. Norman Bates has a strange and disturbing relationship with his mother. His mother is overly protecting and a dominant person. Bates had no friends while growing up, and hasn’t found some later on either. When asked about friends, Bates just smiles and states: “Well, a boys best friends is his mother!”.

When a woman is murdered at the hotel Bates owns, he is convinced that his mother is the murderer. He tries to get rid of the body and kills the detective in charge of the murder investigation. Obviously Bates is deeply in love with his mother while he fears and hates her as well. The twist ending is one of the most discussed in the history of cinema, for it unfolds the truth of how psychotic and tragically insane Norman Bates is. Despite of Bates craziness and his dangerous personality, the audience can’t help but to pity him. Bates´ relationship with his mother has damaged him beyond prepare, making him suffer as well as he makes others suffer.

“Psycho” is classic and has still today a major influence in movie making. Worth checking out.

Joaquin Phoenix’s role as the evil Roman Emperor Commodus in Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” (2000) must be one of best bad guys ever seen in modern day film. Commodus is the insecure son of the emperor Marcus Arelius. Marcus chooses Maximus (Russell Crowe), a noble general to become the next Emperor, however only for a short time, hoping Maximus will be able to return the political power to the Roman state. Maximus wants nothing more but to go home to his family and is not interested in Marcus plans. Commodus hears about his father’s plans and becomes extremely jealous. He confronts his father on this matter, weeping over his experiences of being unloved and not respected by him. Marcus tries to explain that even if he doesn’t see Commodus as a born leader, he still loves him. But Commodus blinded by his bitterness kills his father. Once Emperor, he sends troops to butcher Maximus´ family, hoping that Maximus will die as well. Maximus survives and even if he is enslaved and forced to compete in mortal combats as a gladiator, he starts plotting his revenge against Commodus.

Phoenix´ performance is by far the most amazing and convincing one. Commodus as a villain and madman does every despicable thing imaginable: he kills, betrays and tries to force his sister to become his lover. Commodus feels unloved by everyone, dwelling in his misery. He’s obsessive lust and hostility towards his sister and his inability to sympathize with anyone hint that Commodus´ behavior is indeed partly caused by mental instability. Commodus´ insanity is portrayed in a subtle, undertone way, which is a clever and fresh way to portray a mentally ill person. Commodus is a character you pity and despise. A horrible man with a complex psyche, a delightful mad antagonist.
“Gladiator” is an epic film with intelligent dialogue, spectacular fight scenes, great visuals and memorable characters. The film isn’t always historically accurate; Gladiators for instance very rarely were forced to fight to the death. Some of the fascinating characters had too little of screen time. Like Lucilla (Connie Nielson), Commodus´ sister. Besides those minor flaws, “Gladiator” is a real solid and touching movie that I recommend.

Terry Gillian’s “12 Monkeys” (1995) is a brilliant, heartbreaking science fiction film. The story takes place in a future world devastated by disease. In hopes of changing the past, a convict (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population. There he meets Jeffrey Goines who is probably the funniest character I mention in this post. Jeffrey Goines is the son of a wealthy man, but due to his mental problems he is locked in an asylum. He is hyper active and slightly paranoid, always rambling and talking nonsense that no one can quite understand. He also is compulsive, randomly yelling at people. Jeffrey is portrayed by Brad Pitt, who does an unusually fantastic job for him. Frankly, I have not believed in Pitts abilities as an actor. But in “12 Monkeys” he really convinces me with his performance that he’s a total nut ball. Unlike the previous men I’ve mentioned Jeffrey only seems to be evil. They are hints that Jeffrey may wipe out the entire humanity, but at the end he is only passionate about “freeing” animals. Which he also does, but by releasing animals from the Zoo without harming any humans. This twist is interesting, since it makes us view Jeffrey as a naïve, strange young man instead of a deadly mass murderer. Jeffrey is completely crazy, but in a very innocent way.

The last madman I will present is General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, from Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb” (1964). This satire film takes place during the cold war time. General Ripper orders an atomic bomb to be dropped in Russia, which will cause a nuclear war if the mission won’t be stopped. While Captain Mandrake (Peter Sellers) tries to get the right code to stop the order of bombing, the world leaders keep discussing on how to handle this stressful situation.

General Ripper is paranoid, delusional and dangerous. He babbles about the Russians putting poison into the American waters and reveals that he discovered this problem while making love. Eventually he kills himself, thinking that he will be captured and forced to confess “what he knows”. Mandrake, the sane one, tries his best to communicate with the general who has lost it all. If Ripper was just a common man, his insanity could have caused a lot less damage. But since he is a General and a very powerful one too, he threatens the entire world. The name is a references to the famous serial killer, but this Ripper is guilty of the destruction of the whole world. He never realizes the consequences of his actions; he is sure that the Russians were going to destroy Americans by poisoning their “precious body fluids”. Ripper is perhaps one of the craziest men presented in the history of screenplay writing.

General Ripper (the one with the cigar) explaining about "precious body fluids" to Cap. Mandrake

“Dr. Strangelove” is in my opinion the funniest and one of of the greatest movies throughout time. It has timeless social commentary, great gags, and a great cast. Everything in this movie works perfectly, especially the directing and writing. A must see film!

So here are my picks of insane men cinema has to offer. What do you think? Any madmen I forgot to mention?

A legendary musical, loved by nearly everyone, the film “The Wizard of Oz” (1939) was directed by Victor Fleming and starred Judy Garland. It was based on the novel with the same title by L. Frank Baum. The novel “Wizard of Oz” was followed by thirteen more books, all about the Land of Oz.

Dorothy is a young girl who lives in Kansas with her aunt Emily (nicknamed “Aunty Em”) and her uncle Henry, who own their own farm. After Dorothy’s dog, Toto, has caused a stir with the mean but powerful townswoman Miss Glutch Dorothy is at risk of losing her beloved pet. To protect Toto from being put down, Dorothy runs away from home. However, she quickly decides to return home since she worries that her aunt might become sick with worry. Unfortunately, as Dorothy heads home, a tornado heads towards her home. Dorothy’s aunt and uncle must go into their storm shelter without knowledge of Dorothy’s return. Dorothy arrives to the home to the farm, runs into the house just as the tornado reaches the farm. After getting a hit on the head, Dorothy passes out for a short while. When she wakes up she realizes that her house has been lifted into the air by the tornado. It lands, and when Dorothy steps outside of her house, she discovers that she is in a whole new world, Oz. Much to her bad luck, her house also landed on an evil witch, killing her. This causes Dorothy to make a dangerous enemy, The Wicked Witch of the West, who was sisters with the dead witch. But Dorothy also is promised protection from Glinda, the Good witch of the North. Glinda is also the one who advices Dorothy to go and see the Wizard of Oz if she wants to get back home to Kansas. Dorothy sets out on a grand adventure, finding loyal friends in a talking scarecrow looking for a brain, a tin man looking for a heart and a lion hoping to gain courage.

Oz, as any fictional fantasy land, has a lot of interesting political and social issues that could be analyzed and interoperated in different ways. Especially regarding the witches in Oz. Glinda as well as the Wicked Witch of the West seems to be matriarchal leaders. The same goes for the other witch that never shows up in the film. The witches seem to be the most powerful beings in Oz and most followed and worshipped than any of the males in Oz.

As matriarchs, just like with any leaders, the witches can be good or bad leaders. The witch who gets killed in the beginning, The Wicked Witch of the East, is told to have ruled mercilessly over Munchkin land. When Dorothy accidently kills her, the Munchkins (little people dressed in bright colors) celebrate by singing and dancing and making sure “she’s really, sincerely dead”. This could be seen as an oppressed nation celebrating the death of a cruel dictator. The Wicked Witch of the East was clearly a powerful ruler, which is illustrated by the major party which is thrown by the Munchkins after they are finally freed from her reign of terror. The Munchkins however never really tell Dorothy of what the witch did that was so terrible, which makes their celebration of a person’s death seems a little bit strange and creepy. But if we consider that the Wicked Witch of the East was a malevolent dictator and that the munchkins had live in fear, their behavior becomes somewhat understandable. The Wicked witch of the East was clearly the matriarch of Munchkin Land. The ones in charge of Munchkin land after the Witch, however, are all men. So when the evil matriarch is overthrown, patriarchs take over. This raises the question if the Munchkins were just unhappy a woman was in charged or not. It is a possibility, even if unlikely, since the male leaders of Munchkin land has no problems listening to Glindas advice.

As for The Wicked Witch of the West, she controls a whole army of flying monkeys and green men. It is revealed at the end of the film, after the Wicked Witch of the West is accidently killed by Dorothy. The men serving under the Wicked Witch are overjoyed by her death, just like the Munchkins. The matriarch they were under is gone, so they automatically hail the person who overthrew their previous leader: Dorothy. Dorothy would become the next matriarch if she wished, but prefers to go home to Kansas. Unlike with the munchkins, the audience can easily understand why the men are happy that the Wicked Witch is dead. The audience sees the Witch order them around, trying to kill other people, and threatening innocent people. Considering the fact that the men had to serve under her, it is understandable why they would be happy she’s gone. The fact that they “hail” Dorothy, meaning that they see her as a possible leader, erases the idea that they wanted a male leader instead. These men don’t care if the leader is a man or a woman, they just don’t want to be bossed around to do crummy jobs.

Glinda the good witch is an absolute matriarch. She is the first to talk to Dorothy in Munchkin Land, showing political power over the mayor of Munchkin Land. When she appears in Emerald City, everyone bows down to her as if she were a god. While the Wizard as admired and respected, when he was in public no one in Emerald City bowed to him. But as soon as Glinda arrives, the people of Emerald City become completely silent and drop to their knees. Glinda is worshipped, while the Wizard was just strongly admired and respected. Glinda is the true leader of Emerald City, even if she rarely makes an appearance.

The last interesting thing about Oz, in the terms whether it is a matriarchal land or not, is the Wizard. As it turns out in the end, the Wizard does not poses any real magic powers, but by visual effects fools the people of Emerald City that he does. The three witches of Oz, though, all have real powers, which makes them the most powerful rulers of Oz. So the people with the most power in Oz are the witches, and therefore run the show, are women. The men in Oz may have political power to a certain degree, but in the end it is the witches that are the all powerful ones.

The ending of “The Wizard of Oz” suggests that Oz was all just a dream that Dorothy had after getting a hit on the head. This is an interesting aspect regarding how Dorothy sees the world. It is shown at the beginning of the film that Aunty Em seems to be the one giving orders at the farm, advicing the men working there what to do. When Miss Glutch appears, she mostly talks to Dorothy’s aunt. The two women are obviously used to making the important decisions. This translates into Dorothy’s dream as one good, powerful witch and one bad, powerful witch. Dorothy is accustomed to a matriarchal life, so she dreams of a matriarchal land.

My theory of Oz would be that it is a matriarchal society. What do you guys think?

(Note: I am deeply, deepl sorry for this post, and nowadays very ashamed of it. I have become to realize how stigmatizing it is, even if I did not mean it. I would delete it, but decided to just have this note. I am sorry, and I have just recently began to understand my privilege as a able-bodied person with who does not struggle with mental health. I realize I was being insensitive and I apologize).

Mental illness and madness has been a theme that has continually been fascinating, and so incessantly present, in all forms of fiction. This allure can be no surprise as we cannot help but be enthralled by the abnormal and of things that are rare, yet familiar. Insanity is a permutation on the surface of human psyche which is seen as uncommon, yet is continually lurking on the edge of all mental existence. Throughout cinema history, many excellent films have featured “crazy” people, and some of most memorable characters to be created have happened to be female. These “crazy” women characters have come in many different forms: some are complex, some are pure evil, and some are tragic and misunderstood. In this post I will talk about some of the most insane ladies cinema has offered us.

The film “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), an adaption of Tennessee William’s play with the same title, stars Vivien Leigh as the “southern bell” Blanche. Blanche is a disturbed young woman who, after being fired from her job as a teacher, is forced, due to monetary problems, to move in with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s abusive husband, Stanley. Blanche has a tormented and shadowy past. It is due to the inescapable and haunting memories of the past that she is driven to the darkest depths of psychic fever and delusion. Blanche dreams of a life filled with luxury for her and her sister, and it is the fact that Stella has married a working man which propels and fosters Blanche’s growing disgust for Stanley and the working class in general. Blanche’s relationship with Stanley becomes more and more twisted and hostile and in the end Blanche totally loses touch with reality.

Leigh captures perfectly the insanity and tragedy of Blanche’s character. Whenever Blanche starts one of her non-sense, uncanny ramblings, Leigh widens her eyes and gives the other characters around her a scary, angry, and lastly, uncontrollable look. She also is able to play Blanche’s flirtatious side perfectly, showing a softer, but still extremely creepy, side in Blanche. It is debated among critics and fans of the film (and play) why Blanche has gone mad. The film implies that her husband’s suicide, along with mistreatment from other men in her life, which may be the cause. It is also implied that Blanche expected too much from life, and the reality of her true class and lifestyle drove her over the edge. Or that she snapped after being fired from her teaching job. “A Streetcar Named Desire” is also known for its critique on the passive roles of women in society, which Blanche is a victim of. Whatever the reason is behind her insanity, Blanche is a scary crazy lady that is unforgettable, just like the stunning classic movie she is leads in.

Bette Davis was well-known for often playing roles of unflattering women characters. A good example of such a role is when she took the lead role for the thriller called “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962). In “Baby Jane” Davis plays an aging, alcoholic ex-child star, Jane, who can’t accept that her carrier in the Hollywood Machine is come and gone. Jane lives with, and incessantly plies at and torments her sister, Blanche (Joan Crawford), who was a successful (more flourishing than Jane) actor, but had to quit her career after a driving accident crippled her permanently and put her in the clutches of Jane’s “care”. Jane and Blanche had always had a divisive and dreadful relationship which a prime cause of the tension being the favoring of Jane by the girl’s father which, ultimately leads to a psychopathic jealously in Blanche towards her sister. While Blanche became a star Jane sank into obscurity and became the forgotten actress to Blanche’s monumental career. Jane spiraled further and further into the depths of bitterness and obsessive hatred. When the story of the movie takes place we see Jane’s sister is totally dependent on her, after the accident, and Jane uses and abuses this power to an extreme. One of the most famous and ghastly scenes from the film is when Jane first secretly kills Blanche’s beloved pet and then serves the pet to her a day later for lunch.
“Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” focuses on the two sister’s relationship where envy and bitterness has grown through the mechanisms of family and career and now has become a matter of life and death. Bette Davis is horrifying in the role of the violent, cruel Jane who takes pleasure in crushing her sister’s spirit and mental health. There is also a brilliant twist at the end of the film, which is perfect for this nerve-reacting, dramatic and bizarrely astonishing thriller.

Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie star in the horror movie “Carrie” (1976), which tells the tale of a bullied teenage girl who is also a victim of psychological torture as well as physical violence at home. The abuser at home is her religiously fanatic mother, Margaret White, played by Laurie, who in this film gives one of the finest as well as scariest performances ever put on screen. Spacek is also brilliant as the vulnerable Carrie who discovers that she has psychic powers and is able to move objects with her mind. A power she later, at her classes prom, starts to use against all her tormentors after a humiliating prank is played on her.

Margaret, or better known as Carrie’s mom, is the ultimate nightmare parent. She is always yelling, hitting and placing guilt on Carrie. She beats Carrie after the girl starts her period, believing it is a proof of uncleanness in the female body. In fact, everything that has to do with the human body and sexuality is seen by Margaret as sinful, including sex inside of marriage. She’s ready to do anything to keep Carrie “clean”, and after discovering that Carrie has the power of telekinesis, Margaret becomes convinced that her daughter is a witch, a creature of evil. Piper Laurie’s performance is perfect in every scene; as soon as Margaret as much as appears on screen you can tell that this is one nutty lady that you don’t want to get involved with. Her cruelty, reflected by her religious bigotry, will send cold shivers down anyone’s spine.

“Carrie” is not only one of the best horror movies ever made, but also in my opinion one of the best movies made dealing with bullying and the psychological impact abuse has on a person. One of my favorites movies of all time; if you haven’t seen this fantastic film yet, go see it now!

Deborah Kerr, who stars in the ghost story movie “The Innocents” (1961) as the governess Miss Giddens, considered her performance in this film as her best one. And it is hard to disagree; Miss Giddens is a complex woman who may or may not be insane, and Kerr’s performance masters every minute she has on screen.
Miss Giddens gets a job as a governess for a rich man’s niece and nephew, who, since his brother’s death, has received custody and care of these orphaned children. However,the rich uncle who has received the children of his brother wants little or nothing to do with them and leaves them in the full care of governesses and servants, asking of these caretakers to leave him out of all the mechanics of their daily life. The previous governess, before Miss Giddens, committed suicide and needed to be replaced quickly. When Miss Giddens arrives to the mansion where the children live, she slowly starts to hear crying in the night, sees people that supposedly aren’t there and the children start to act weirder and weirder. Miss Giddens is convinced that these phenomenons based on the influx of supernatural forces, and that the children are somehow corrupted by these evil powers manifesting themselves in the grounds of the house.
However the viewer can’t be quite sure. Even at the end of the film as the credits role the question of whether the mansion was haunted or not lays open, a Conundrum for the viewer to ponder. Miss Giddens is perhaps driven to madness by the haunting in the house or she may just have always been crazy. What compels the either explication or descent into madness is continually uncertain.
Kerr does an excellent job as a woman who obviously is losing it, no matter what the cause is. Miss Giddens is paranoid and convinced that the children she is signed to take care off are out to get her (through the deceits of the house or its resident spirits), as well as the possible ghost. It is also implied that Miss Giddens is sexually repressed; she can’t allow herself to feel an attraction towards adult men, so she develops a disturbing attraction towards the little pre-teen boy she cares for. Kerr is able to make Miss Giddens unsettling to watch, yet the viewer is drawn into the bizarre characters world and situation, which complexity grows by every minute in the film. “The Innocents” is a great ghost story movie, one of the strongest and most memorable ones in its genre and its influences can to seen in many differing genres including its major inspiration of another excellent ghost story, “The Others” (2001), which starred Nicole Kidman in an equivalent role.

The last female character I’ll talk about is Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) from “Sunset Boulevard” (1950). This movie portrays a struggling writer and a forgotten, silent movie stars oddly twisted relationship which spirals out of control and ends in melancholy tragedy.
The film was ground breaking in its use of narration beyond the grave.
Norma is a woman suffering from a middle-age crisis and the loss of attention and power. She dreams of bringing back silent films, believing she is still loved by fans (due to slew of false fan mail her butler writes and posts to her surreptitiously) and that the “modern age” of color films is a “murder” of the real arts and stars.
Norma has tendencies to cut herself and in many and varied attempts at suicide. This self-inflicted damage done by Norma to herself is one of the major tasks (along with the ego-stroking he needs carry our) which the Butler (Erich Von Stroheim) must consign himself to.
Like Jane and Blanche in “What Ever happened to Baby Jane?” Norma is a depiction of a woman who just can’t accept her time in the sun is gone. Like Jane, she is ready to do anything to become a star again. When she finally cracks, everyone around her suffers the consequences, while Norma continues believing all will be well again soon. “Sunset Boulevard” is a touching and sad movie dealing with the pains of aging and represents a woman who yearns for eternal youth and worship. The film is a true work of the genre and of insightful narrative.

So those are my picks of the best insane women in films. What do you guys think about these ladies? Do you have any favorite insane women from films that I didn’t mention? Feel free to tell me your opinion!

Anita Sarkeesian is a young feminist who specializes on popular culture. Her site, Feminist Frequency, is filled with her videos where she analyzes movies, music, advertisements and other cultural phenomenon. In this video, “Women’s stories, movies and the Oscars”, she talks about how movies centered around men are more valued than female-centered films. She also points out that female-centered films are unfortunately very sexist as well, since they portray women one-dimensionally and shallow. I couldn’t agree more! Marvelous video and commentary, worth a watch!

Sarkeesian has also made a video where she criticizes Kanye West newest video, which is also very good and sharp. Watch it here.

“Black Swan” has gotten a lot of praise and admiration, giving Natalie Portman both a Golden Globe as well as an Oscar for best leading actress. It also made many critics “top 10 movies of 2010”-list, for example Roger Ebert’s list featured it.

Darren Aronofsky is a highly acclaimed director, his most famous movie endeavor, “Requiem for a Dream” (2000), is a depressing cinematic outing dealing with drug abuse. What’s interesting about “Black Swan” is that people seem to either love it or hate it. After watching it I felt entertained, dazzled and seduced by the films dark tones – but like most seductions, afterwards you realize that what you just experienced was pretty meaningless. But fun none the less!

“Black Swan” tells the tale of the determined ballerina Nina, who pushes herself to the point of bleeding toes and swollen feet to be a perfect dancer. She lives with her controlling mother who still helps her undress, patronizes her continually with the degradation of infantilizing her daughter running the gamut of behaviors from innocuously calling her “my sweet girl” to the horror of projecting her own failed career as a dancer onto Nina (the Portman character).
When Nina’s company puts up a new production of “Swan lake” and Nina is cast in the main role, she faces the challenge of having to dance two very different parts. One is the White Swan Queen, an innocent, fragile and vulnerable princess, as well as her evil twin, the lustful, seductive and betraying black swan. Nina can perfectly dance for the role of the white swan, but can’t quite handle the sensuality for the black swan role. As she desperately tries to get in touch with her sensual side, she starts to fear that her alternate, Lily, is out to get her. This leads to a series of paranoid hallucinations, possible caused by stress and eating disorders.

Firstly, I would like to confess that I have a soft spot for Natalie Portman. I think she’s a fine actress, and unusually ambitious. Even if I haven’t liked any of the films she has been in (“Leon”, “Star Wars”- prequels, “Garden State” to name a few) I was strongly hoping this would be the great film she finally makes. She tries so hard to make good movies, but never seems to pick just the right kind of scripts. However, her acting was convincing and good in “Black Swan”. Portman is able to pull off the innocent, crazed role pretty well. There are times when Portman does not quite convince me that she is actually going nuts, but otherwise Portman’s acting is alright. Nina’s character is not very interesting though, and not very well explained. The movie hints too little of the daily events and artistic demands that might cause her to hallucinate, like eating too little or being overly pressured by the director of the ballet and her mother. She is also your typical “pure” woman who lives with her parents, has no friends, doesn’t understand her own sexuality, only thinks about her “job” and this set of strains and forces her character over the edge of sanity.
I wonder, also, why the advertisement for “Black Swan” implied that Nina would be innocent and kind while Lily, her “rival”, would be slutty and perhaps mean. My interpretation was a bit of the opposite.

Lily, played by Mila Kunis, was actually an empathic and pleasant person and tried on many important occasions, through-out the film, to befriend Nina. In the beginnings of the film Nina is show in the balerina’s locker room with a number of other gossiping ballerinas, where we also come to see the other dancers are, as a group, laughing at Nina and seem to find her person and actions just plainly weird. Nina is isolated from them, not once having any of her co-workers approach or even attempt to engage her in conversation. When Lily, the newest dancer from LA appears, finds Nina ambitious and talented and attempts to approach and talk to Nina striving to forge a bond with her by asking how her practice is proceeding. Lily shows her heart-felt support for Nina in her new role with the touching proclamation: “I can’t wait to see you perform. You’re going to be amazing”. When Lily spies Nina crying, she confronts the director ballet telling him in no uncertain terms that she thinks Nina is brilliant and demands that he respect her as a person and dancer. Quite late in the narrative we see Lily appearing at Nina’s apartment where she gives Nina an invitation to dinner and some drinks. Nina’s reaction to this offer suggests that Lily is the first person who has actually attempted to reach out to Nina and who wishes to establish the fundamentals of a friendship. The only questionable and utterly horrible thing Lily does is that she puts small portion of a drug in Nina’s drink in order to make her relax. Lily admits to this gross mistaken action later and apologizes.

Frankly, Lily was being so nice to Nina (except for the appalling act of drugging Nina’s drink, which is NEVER okay!) I never understood why she thought Lily was out to get her in the Narrative of the Film. Perhaps the point, here, is to indicate Nina is overly paranoid, not able to gauge and evaluate correctly other peoples actions and so comes to read all small kindness as threats. We come to feel a sort of sorrow for Lily wishes to support and befriend Nina, but comes to be seen by Nina as the penultimate “the bad guy”. Kunis played her part very well, coming off as sympathetic and straight-forward; and it is doubly kind to see a Hollywood film portray a secure, blunt woman as somewhat likable.

But one of the most interesting characters was Thomas Leroy as the director of the ballet. Vincent Cassel’s character in the film can only be described as an insane asshole. Leroy keeps telling Nina to lose herself in her role to be able to express raw emotion in her dancing. He also glamorizes the destructive behavior of his former prima ballerina, Beth, who according to him is perhaps such a great dancer because her yielding to the “dark impulses”. Leroy also forces sexual acts on Nina, demanding her to respond to his “touch”. It was no surprise that both Beth and Nina, his two ballerina stars, lose control and demeanor after his outlandish encouragement towards destructive behavior calling for this that the two dancers may transcend the ordinary in order to become great artists. Leroy basically assaults these women’s vulnerable and unstable mental states which yield catastrophic results for the women, but seemingly good results to the selfish director.

Nina’s relationship to her mother, in the narrative arc of “Black Swan”, felt like a rip off from Elfriede Jelinek’s novel, “The Piano Teacher”. Almost all elements in their relationship were similar, so I was not impressed, or swayed by its emotional trajectory, in the film.

I don’t see why “Black Swan” has become so loved by critics and viewers. Aronofsky delivers a film which has plenty of good elements and storylines, but fails to explore these subjects in a clear, meaningful, or even clever way. Nina’s hallucinations, which are a major part of the film, start coming out of nowhere without reason. There are scenes which imply that Nina may be bulimic or anorexic and all the pressure she gets from her mother and director is becoming too much. Even if these explanations exist, I can’t believe that someone would actually start to hallucinate so often and strongly. Unless Nina has gone insane from being so lonely, but unfortunately this possibility is not presented as a major reason. “Black Swan” is a film that suffers from lacking a real identity. It is not high art or a deep film, since the subjects that could have made this a great film are dealt with shallowly. It is not a non-sense feel good movie in any way, for the storyline is too depressing and sad to be that. Perhaps it could have worked as a trash film with a simple social commentary, but then it should have been clearer with what the message was.

What Aronofsky wants to say in “Black Swan” is totally unclear to me, and if you make a light film with a message, you must make it clear to the audience what you want to say. Most critics say that “Black Swan” is an attack on perfectionist culture, even if frankly Nina’s perfectionism seemed very unlikely and hard for me to relate into real life.
“Black Swan” does suck the audience into the story. I understand why many believe the film is a great film with a deep story, since it is made in such a professional and stylish way. The actors are very good, the music is great (even if almost all of it is from the ballet “Swan Lake”, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky) and the choreography is nice. “Black Swan” is decent, but in all honesty is not a very serious film nor a light entertaining film, which leaves “Black Swan” to be a more than decent film, but without any purpose.

Here is the brand new trailer for Zack Snyder’s fresh film, “Sucker Punch”. It looks totally awesome, oozing with girl power. I love the idea of a young woman using her imagination and mental strength to free herself from abuse and oppression, fighting against the wrong treatment she receives. Hopefully Snyder won’t disappoint!

What do you guys think? Look good or bad? 🙂

This post is a follow up to my previous two posts, “Cool heroines in children’s animated movies” and “Cool female side characters in children’s animated movies” Being the third part of the series, it will also be the last.
The Importance of a good, entertaining villain in movies is pointless to explain. Villains provide a challenge for the main characters to overcome and excitement to the evolving conflicts. Naturally, not all films need villains, but it is expected in animations. There are many widely famous villainesses, some so famous they have become icons for evil. For instance the Wicked Witch of the West, Cinderella’s wicked stepmother and (of course) the Wicked Queen from Snow White.

I’m going to mention some villainesses that I love. Some which are very well known and some that are not.

Maleficent from “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) – A classic villain and perhaps one of the most adored one by cartoon lovers, Maleficent was based on the character of the evil fairy godmother in the original Grimm’s fairytale with the same title. Frankly, having her in this post is a bit of a cliché. However, there are some interesting aspects of Maleficent character I think are worthy of pointing out here.
Maleficents main motivation in the film “Sleeping Beauty” is to get revenge on the Kingdom for not inviting her to the crown princesses name-giving party. It all starts with that she shows up to the party, expressing distress for not getting an invitation. When one of the good fairies says to her: “You were not invited”, Maleficent pretends that she has just misunderstood the situation and prepares to leave. But not before cursing the new born baby with a curse which will lead to her death at sixteen. One of the good fairies, Merrywhether, has to then weaken the curse with her own magic. This scene is interesting in that it shows how Maleficent gives the King and Queen a chance to change their minds and tell her she is welcome to stay at the party, an opportunity which is neglected. It is never really explained why Maleficent didn’t get invited to the party. My guess was always that the King and Queen had made this tremendously vengeful person angry because they were stupid and bored. Later in the movie, as the princess falls into an eternal slumber due to the weakened curse and a handsome prince comes to the rescue, Maleficent captures him. Instead of killing him, she chains him up in a dungeon and explains that she will not let him go until he has grown old. He will only then be able to go to the princess and wake her from her sleep. Maleficent has laid out a spectacular and cruel revenge that relies mostly on psychological torture. Few villains in cinema today are written with this much wit. Maleficent is truly smart, sadistic and powerful. Besides her fascinating personality, Maleficent has a great look with green skin, horns as hair and stunning clothing.

Maleficent is one of the main reasons “Sleeping Beauty” has become so famous and talked about. However, the good fairy godmothers are interesting characters as well, though not as interesting as Maleficent. “Sleeping Beauty” is an interesting film in that the main conflicts and battles are between Maleficent, the evil fairy, and Flora, Fauna and Merrywhether, the good fairies. All four of these women are ladies with major powers. They fight over the fate of the Kingdom, where most humans are passive, including the prince. For it is only with the help of the good fairy godmothers he is able to do anything. “Sleeping Beauty” is a masterpiece in animated film history. The only downside to the movie is the so-called love scene between the princess and prince which is tedious and boring. Otherwise a true classic piece of animation.

The Other Mother from “Coraline” (2009) – Even if the film version does not match the book version, the design of Other Mother looked great. Teri Hatcher, the voice talent, was also able to create a creepy touch to her character whenever she spoke. It is hard to not actually be afraid of this obsessive woman who lures children into her world by first offering them treats before killing them. The Other Mother is a kid’s ultimate worst nightmare, capturing in animation the horrors of a bad parent.
“Coraline” is a gothic, exciting film which tells the tale of a young girl who finds a secret passage to new world. She is first enchanted by the world, only to later realize staying there may cost her life.

Mad Madam Mim from “Sword in the Stone” (1963) – Some villains are just supposed to be funny and silly. Mad Madam Mim is one of those kinds of villains. Mim is also not the main villain of the film; actually, her screen time is about a quarter of the film. Her role is to play the crazy lady who’s incredibly immature and mean. The prototype of an old cranky lady who’s mean to kids.
Mad Madam Mim appears in the film after Arthur, a young apprentice of Merlin’s, has been turned into a bird. Arthur had longed to know what it was like to fly, and after being turned into a bird was flying about, got lost in the woods and stumbled into Mim’s house through her chimney. Arthur explains the situation to Mim, who after hearing from him that Merlin is the most powerful wizard in the world, starts showing of her dark magic to prove she’s better. She then decides to kill Arthur since Merlin “sees something good in him”. Merlin shows up to stop her, only to get lured into a duel where Mim first makes the rules, only to immediately break them. The whole ten minutes Mad Madam Mim gets are hilarious, right from the beginning to the end.
“Sword in the Stone” centers on Arthur, who Merlin, through prophecy, decides to take as a pupil. As the lessons create many adventurous, both of the main protagonists are unaware that Arthur will soon become king of England. An underrated fun movie which features memorable characters.

Zira from “The Lion King 2: Simba’s pride” (1998) – One of my all time favorite female psychos, Zira is the supposed former mate of Scar, the antagonist of the previous film. Zira is hysterically obsessed with Scar and avenging his death. She is fanatically loyal to the dead lion as she trains her son, Kovu, to kill Simba, who in her eyes is responsible for Scar’s death. Zira let’s her hate eat her from inside and never forgives anyone for anything. Her facial expressions are always scary, showing her insanity. She also has one of the best villain songs ever, “My Lullaby” where she explains her motives and plans. This song was based on “Be Prepared” from the first “Lion King” film, but stands strongly by itself in beat, lyrics and melody. Suzanne Pleshette does amazing voice acting as Zira, and her brilliant voice shines through in “My Lullaby”.
Another interesting aspect in Zira is her relationships with her two sons, Kovu and Nuka. Kovu is her favorite, since Scar chose him to be king after him, and therefore is overbearing to Kovu, forcing him to become her assassin, even if Kovu is unsure if he wants to go along his mothers plans or not. Her other son, Nuka, is neglected and somewhat abused by his mother. So Nuka is always striving for Zira’s acceptance. It is only after an unfortunate accident happens to Nuka that Zira realizes she loved and cared for him, but it is too late, and in her rage she projects her guilt and anger onto Kovu, driving her to even more madness than before. Zira is a frightening, yet pitiful lion. She blinds herself even from her own emotions to her sons. Portraying her relationship to her sons in this way made Zira’s character complex and interesting. She is evil, but part of her meanness might actually be caused by mental instability, which makes the viewer feel sorry for Zira a little.
“The Lion King 2” centers Simba’s daughter, Kiara, who is destined to become queen after Simba even if she does not want to. She befriends Kovu, another Lion cub who lives in forbidden outlands. Since their parents are bitter rivals, their friendship as cubs is short. Years later, when Kiara and Kovu have grown up, Kovu has been brainwashed by his mum to befriend Simba and Kiara, only to betray them and kill them. Kiara at the other hand is struggling to deal with Simbas overprotective parenting. As Kovu strikes up a friendship with Kiara, the two start to fall in love, making Kovu question his mission as Kiara finally finds courage to stand up to her father. Even if this film is by no means better than the first film, it is still an entertaining and stunning film. One of the few sequels made where actual effort was put into the storyline!

So this concludes my series of cool female characters in children’s animated films. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as well as the other posts! If any of you come to think of a villainesses that you like, or if you have something to say about the ones I mentioned here, don’t feel shy to comment!