James Cameron, alias “Jimbo”, is now more than known for his big-budget films, full of action and capable of breaking box office records every time. But his filmography is also noteworthy because the Canadian director is capable of bringing strong, emancipated female characters who know how to fend for themselves to the big screen.
In a distant interview, Cameron himself marveled at how the roles of strong women were absent: “I didn’t even think it was that noteworthy when I did it with The Terminator“, and added, “I think Hollywood movies get it wrong to portray women in action roles, they’re basically portrayed as men or they’re portrayed as superheroines in skintight, glittery body suits, and neither is interesting.“
So let’s go into James Cameron’s filmography and see which are the strongest female characters that the director has ever created.
1. Rose DeWitt Bukater – Titanic (1997) among the women of James Cameron’s films
Seen in passing, Rose may seem like a simple girl in trouble saved by the hot guy. But if we pay attention to some details, we realize that it’s not all thanks to Jack Dawson. In a moment of confrontation with Jack, Rose says these exact words: “It’s not for you to save me, Jack“. And it’s true. It is Jack who convinces her not to jump (although, as he himself says, no she would have ever jumped!), but Rose saves him from captivity in total chaos, going against all the patriarchal principles of the mother and her betrothed groom. And in the end it is Rose who saves herself in the middle of the ocean.
2. Sarah Connor – Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (1991) among the women of James Cameron’s films
If one thinks of the figure of an emancipated and anti-patriarchal woman in Cameron’s filmography, the first to come to mind is Sarah Connor, mainly in the sequel to terminators. Here, although Sarah (played by Linda Hamilton) is not the protagonist, she still has a central role and certainly not overshadowed. The sequel to has been chosen terminators because here Sarah develops a series of much more interesting facets than the first film that sees her as the protagonist. In the first place, ne Judgment day, Sarah is kept locked up in a psychiatric hospital, considered insane for her statements about the Terminators and doomsday. If one thinks of the totally patriarchal archetype of the female figure believed to be crazy or hysterical and kept segregated because they are not understood, this is the exact example. Sarah does not present any type of sexualizing characterization, she is always characterized by her strength, her ability to fight and to face any danger, without however leaving aside the aspect of motherhood. The character played by Linda Hamilton defines a new type of woman/warrior, i.e. an initially harmless female figure (as in the first terminators) who becomes strong and emancipated in the face of danger.
3. Ellen Ripley – Aliens – Final Clash (1986)
Another iconic character. In the first AliensRidley Scott had created one of the first female action hero. Here James Cameron carries on Scott’s legacy with an added twist. In this sequel, Ellen Ripley already knows what she has to face, and, in addition to defending herself from alien threats, she finds herself protecting a little girl, little Newt, thus becoming a woman of action but also a mother, defeating the gigantic mother in turn. alien. No longer a solitary struggle for survival, but a new connotation that probably makes Ripley’s character even less “masculine” (initially, in the first Aliensthe role of Ripley was written for a man), but characterized by a maternal aspect, which however is never pitiful or dominated, so much so that in the end it is Ripley who saves Hicks, the head of the marines.
4. Private J. Vasquez – Aliens – Final Clash (1986)
In Cameron’s films the protagonists are as liberated as the secondary female characters. Private Vasquez – played by Cameron’s fetish actress Jenette Goldstein – is a woman who bucks the typical female canon. She is a marine, a fraction of the army with a male majority (and chauvinist), is capable of holding a rifle almost twice as large as hers and is one of the characters most distant from the common female figure.
5. Neytiri – Avatars (2009)
Avatar is one of James Cameron’s top-grossing films, which last year saw the release of its sequel, Avatar – The way of water (and Academy Award winner for Best Visual Effects). Here, Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldana), is not only the one who teaches Jake all the customs and traditions of the Omaticaya, literally treating him like a child, but in the end she saves his life, defeating the colonialist antagonist Quaritch.
6. Dr. Grace Augustine – Avatars (2009) among the strongest female characters in James Cameron’s films
After Aliens, Sigourney Weaver returns to interpret a strong and emancipated female character in Cameron’s film. Dr. Augustine leads the research team responsible for carrying out the studies on the Na’vi. Unlike the marines of the RDA, the research group led by the doctor manages to create contacts with the Na’vi, creating empathy and totally going against the orders received. Without him Jake would never have been able to establish any kind of relationship with the Na’vi.
7. Margaret “Molly” Brown – Titanic (1997)
The “unsinkable Molly Brown”, is the character played by Kathy Bates. James Cameron to write the character of him was inspired by the real Molly Brown who was one of the survivors of the Titanic. In fact, together with other women, she assumed command of the sixth lifeboat. Definitely a strong character of hers. In fact, if you notice, in the film she is the only woman not accompanied by her husband, and she is the only one to question the diktats of bourgeois society, so much so that she takes a liking to Jack and helps him attend the dinner in first class. .