No matter how low your expectations may be for a film, nothing is worse than having to endure one dimensional female characters in movies. You know the kind I mean. They might be there just to progress the storyline of the main male character or they might have only two full lines of dialogue, but five full scenes of nudity. Well, it gets stupidly tedious. Thankfully, there are tons of movies that feature complex female characters to remind you that, hey, women can be portrayed as the complicated, fascinating humans we are in real life too.
The comforting thing to know is that, in recent years, there's actually been something of an influx of movies featuring multifaceted female characters. Slowly, but surely, the movie industry seems to be changing for the better. But until the day comes when complex female characters are the norm, then at the very least we have films like these in the following list, that we can enjoy when it feels like most filmmakers aren't portraying women properly. From horrors to comedies and animated classics to action blockbusters, these are all movies that provide relatable, complicated, and satisfying portrayals of female characters who are way more than one dimensional.
1'Mad Max: Fury Road'
I mean, this is basically a movie entirely led by revolutionary, complex, and rebellious women. It's a breath of fresh air to enjoy with every rewatch.
2The 'Before Sunrise' Trilogy
Celine, who is played with formidable charm and power by Julie Delpy, is as complex and smart a female character as you could ever wish for from such a romantic set of movies.
3'Fire Walk With Me'
Despite the fact that Twin Peaks was basically about Laura Palmer's murder and the mysteries surrounding it, the show often treated the character like an afterthought. In Fire Walk With Me, however, we're given a chilling glimpse at the character's many troubling layers and the horrifying complexity of her life.
Listen, Marge Gunderson is one of the greatest movie characters ever constructed. Frances McDormand is a genius.
5'Sister Act' 1 & 2
I mean, for Delores (Whoopi Goldberg) alone, you're getting one majorly complex comedic character. But an entire convent full of hilarious and complex female characters? Yeah, I really don't need to explain this one, do I?
If you feel the the desire to celebrate opinionated, passionate, and rebellious women, then Perspeolis is definitely for you. It's an animated masterpiece.
Ellen Ripley is, was, and will forever be an absolute boss.
Or just any Studio Ghibli movie for that matter. But San (or "Wolf Girl") from Princess Mononoke is so compelling and intriguing a character that it makes the movie by far the best from the studio.
On the surface, Clueless is full of superficial, shallow characters. But, as every fan of the movie can tell you, it's actually quite the opposite.
10'Set It Off'
A group of female friends who are struggling for money decide to band together and rob banks. And their characters, and their friendships, are painfully relatable at times.
Making some stunning statements about female sexuality and the power of agency, Jennifer's Body is a fun yet dark horror movie, with a complex female friendship at it's heart.
Comedic, but absolutely full of heart, Tangerine follows a transgender woman as she tries to hunt down her cheating boyfriend. It's absolutely spectacular.
Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke are phenomenal as future stepsisters who start a complicated and strained friendship with each other. It's a modern screwball comedy starring plenty of complex female characters.
There isn't a single leading male character in this movie. Every single one of the female characters and their friendships together are so well written and acted that they'll feel so real throughout every moment of horror.
15'Dear White People'
Lead female characters Sam and Coco are outspoken, intelligent, and multifaceted, and you will definitely cheer just about every time they're on screen.
16'The Long Kiss Goodnight'
I still maintain that The Long Kiss Goodnight deserves far more love than it ever receives. A major part of that is Geena Davis' complex portrayal of beloved, suburban goddess Samantha Caine and feared assassin Charly Baltimore: the two identities hiding inside the one woman.
I mean, it's a movie in which turning into a werewolf is used as an incredibly smart and effective allegory for the hellish terrain of puberty and menstruation. You won't find a single one dimensional female character here.
I've given you a movie marathon waiting to happen, my friends. You grab the popcorn, I'll grab the candy, and let's make this a reality, people.