Independent Women: Laura Croft, Elle Woods & Charlie’s Angels


Hollywood might have a testosterone overload, but circa 2003, women kicked some serious booty.  In honor of Women’s Month, I salute 5 inspiring heroines.

Dylan (Drew Barrymore), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Charlie’s Angels (2000)  

Charlie's Angels Speedboat

I have a soft spot for Charlie’s Angels.  They filmed a lot of it in my hometown.  I share a name with one of the Angels.  I recently discovered the script is actually designed for children, as the Angels explain every very obvious plot point.

(Natalie drives after bad guy)

Dylan: She’s going after him.

This probably explains why I loved Charlie’s Angels so much as a child.

Charlie’s Angels stars three smoking hot, butt- kicking women:  brainiac Alex, fun- loving Natalie, and rebellious Dylan.  None of them need a man, but they know men are nice to have around sometimes.  They use teamwork and intelligence to protect each other.  And yes, they use feminine wiles to blindside males.  Why not?  These girls have everything: careers, smarts, sex appeal, killer roundhouse kicks.  And although they work for a disembodied voice named Charlie (“Charlie’s definitely a woman, right?” muses Matt LeBlanc), you somehow know they’ve got the upper hand.

Charlie's Angels 2000 alley kick

 Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), Legally Blonde (2001)

Elle Woods Legally Blonde

Reese Witherspoon created an unforgettable character with Elle Woods.  Low- budget Legally Blonde spawned a sequel and a musical.  If you managed to squeeze through the early 2000’s without seeing this gem,  watch it now.  It’s the greatest movie ever. California sorority girl Elle Woods chases her boyfriend to Harvard Law School after he dumps her for being “a Marilyn” (as opposed to a Jackie).  Against all odds, Elle graduates at the top of her class and rejects Warner Huntington III.   On the way, Elle becomes a role model to her manicurist, her murder suspect client, and even her ex- boyfriend’s fiancee. She even inspires a few male characters, like David, a shy dude, and grad student Emmett (Luke Wilson).

Things Elle Woods Taught Me:

  • The bend and snap

  • That you should submit a video application of yourself in a bikini to law school
  • That whoever thought orange is the new pink was seriously disturbed
  • The word “heinous”
  • That you can do anything you set your mind to

legally-blonde you got into harvard law

  • That you can wear whatever you want wherever you want as long as you rock it

  • It’s OK to chase a boy, as long as you’re really doing it for yourself

God Bless Elle Woods.

Laura Croft (Angelina Jolie), Laura Croft:  Tomb Raider  (2001) and Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (2003)*

Lara Croft Tomb Raider

I did not know Angelina Jolie was snogging her brother and wearing Billy Bob Thorton’s blood in 2001.  All I knew was that she played Laura Croft, the buxom, badass, female version of Indiana Jones.  Not only did Laura Croft feel responsible for fate of the free world, she was always rescuing her males from distress.  Laura Croft totally holds her own in the arena of globetrotting action flicks (see also:  James Bond, Mission: Impossible, Indiana Jones).  Laura Croft  inspired me to learn about the world go trekking through thickets in a crop top.  So excited for the reboot with Alicia Vikander.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider





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