In an era where male characters are always given forgiveness, love and redemption despite their fatal flaws, it has become revolutionary to give a female character the same screen time and care. But in the past year, there have been several female main characters that we have seen on-screen, who show that females don’t have to be perfect to be deserving. In honor of Women’s History Month, here are VALLEY’s five top picks from this year’s award season of films and TV shows that highlight flawed female main characters.
Released in 2020 based off of Jane Austin’s novel, this adaptation of “Emma” scored rave reviews as well as a golden globe nomination. Emma can be a mean girl. She is selfish, rude and ignorant, but she is still charismatic and her faults don’t disqualify her from finding love. She isn’t shown to be any lesser because she’s not perfect. Anya Taylor-Joy told The Oprah Magazine, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Unfortunately, she didn’t succeed. We all still love her.
Zendaya made history when she became the youngest actor to win an Emmy for lead actress for her role in “Euphoria.” Her character, Rue, carries a lot of “baggage” with her. She is a recovering teenage drug addict who is self-destructive, volatile and isolating. But, this is precisely what makes her so endearing and why Rue is amazing. She is nowhere near perfect, but she’s finding her ground and we are able to see how her flaws don’t make her any less deserving of love, happiness and a future.
Say what you want about Marla Grayson, but the woman has grit and makes a complex antiheroine. Netflix’s hit movie “I Care a lot,” starring Rosamund Pike scored a golden globe win and showed us that movies don’t need to cater to the idea that women should be nice. In fact, Marla is pretty despicable. She is still an interesting lead who is complex and given a lot of care — no pun intended.
“Promising Young Woman” has gained award nods from the Hollywood Critics Association Awards and the Australian Academy International Awards. Carey Mulligan’s character Cassie is a vengeful and cunning woman. Her anger is always simmering just below the surface, and the way she’s treated in the film shows how society doesn’t like a mad woman. But, Cassie still at one point finds love, justice, and navigates the world. By society’s terms, she’s difficult and inconvenient, but she is still worthy.
Another role that scored Anya Taylor-Joy her first golden globe win among many other accolades, Beth Harmon from “The Queens Gambit” is far from the perfect player. She is impatient, self-sabotaging and constantly battling with her own inner demons with substance abuse and spending habits — and yet, she is still worthwhile. Her bad habits don’t make her any less deserving of wins. If anything, it makes her more deserving.
Do you agree with this list? VALLEY would love to hear who your top female flawed characters are. Tag us @VALLEYmag on Instagram, or tweet us @VALLEYmag on Twitter with your favorites!