Emma Clarendon selects some of her favourite and inspiring female characters to be seen in film….

Professor McGonagall (Maggie Smith): books or the film, I love McGonagall as a character. Strong personality and firmness in the way in which she dealt with the students – but there was always an element of compassion there as well. She would always stand up for those who needed it the most – this is further developed in the way in which Maggie Smith really showed this through her nuanced performance (whilst always for me getting and delivering the best lines in the film) that led to so many ways in which the character shone on screen as highlighted in the video above.

Eowyn (Miranda Otto), The Lord of the Rings: while of course naturally the story is more focused on the hobbits, these films certainly also managed to highlight the key ways in which female characters were able to hold their on. This is mainly apparent through the way in which Eowyn is drawn out and used in key moments: strong, independent and determined to have a say in what was happening – it is a war that affects all the women of the world as well as the men that comes to a real head in the scene above and is one of the moments in which I consistently want to shout hoorah at the screen.

Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly): while on the surface Elizabeth might appear as bored heiress, as the film series of the Pirates of the Caribbean developed, so did her character. It is freedom and not being bound by what society expected her, finding a different way to live that makes her who she is. Her enjoyment of battles, bringing people together as well as inspiring them is what makes her a consistently compelling character to watch develop – her inner strength is incredible and to be admired no matter what life throws at her.

Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern): never afraid to express her opinion or to call out others attitudes towards women in Jurassic Park, Ellie combines intelligence, bravery and tenacity to play her part in helping others. Just like Maggie Smith in Harry Potter, it seems the strongest lines were given to Laura Dern and her delivery of them makes a powerful punch on the audience – particularly for females.

Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon): if there is a character who completely proves that you can always go out and prove people wrong and you are capable of more than they know , it is Elle Woods. She is a character who very early on in the film it is clear that she is more than the stereotype and actually has more depth, intelligence and has a lot to offer the world – if the world would just let her experience it. She has a battle on her hand, trying to prove to everyone (including herself) that she has what it takes to make it as a lawyer and that is major part of the reason why this film is such a joy to watch, you see her going on a journey to becoming a stronger individual.

Tess McGill (Melanie Griffiths): Working Girl is a film that continues to inspire me and the character Tess certainly taught me a lot about how to have the strength to push forward with your hopes and ambitions – even when it seems that people and the world are against you. She may have had to use a few sneaky techniques to help her along the way – but as she points out sometimes you have to break the rules to get noticed and sen for what you have to offer the world. She may have a few knock backs along the way but she never stopped believing.

By Emma Clarendon