Perhaps one of the most iconic directors in Hollywood for his cult classics, Kill Bill and Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino is a mastermind at creating crazy plots as well as endearing, strong female characters.
Film director and screenwriter for some of Hollywood’s most beloved franchises, Tarantino is defined by his provocatively violent, yet captivating movies. However, Tarantino is also lauded for his portrayal of iconic and powerful female leads that are dynamite on screen.
One such motion picture, The Hateful Eight, features the enigmatic fugitive Daisy, “The Prisoner” Domergue, a protagonist comparable to the Netflix original series, Jessica Jones. While some critics denounced the film for the intense and “unnecessary” violence inflicted on the female lead, many viewers – including Daisy’s actress Jennifer Jason Leigh – cited Tarantino’s vision and portrayal of not only Daisy but all his movie’s female characters as organic and powerful. In an exclusive interview with Variety, Leigh revealed that she believed the film to be the antithesis of misogynistic, describing her character as a tough, survivor–type leader. “I thought it was funny, but I didn’t think it was misogynistic for a second,” Leigh told Variety. “[Tarantino] doesn’t have an ounce of misogyny in him. It’s not in his writing. It’s not in his being.” Leigh later added that Tarantino creates “the best parts for women out there,” crediting his female characters as “very brave, bold, insane, fabulous women.”
Co–chair and producer of American film studio The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein also expressed being a proponent of The Hateful Eight film as well as Tarantino’s writing in regards to the women featured in his motion pictures. “This guy is the most pro–woman ever,” admitted Weinstein to Variety, citing some of Tarantino’s most iconic female characters including Uma Thurman of the Kill Bill franchise, and Melanie Laurent and Diane Kruger of Inglorious Bastards. A far cry away from being the simple McGuffin, Tarantino’s women break away from the stereotypical female lead.
Preceding strong women characters such as Jessica Jones were fearless heroines such as O–Ren Ishii of Kill Bill: Volume 1. As the leader of Tokyo’s underworld, O–Ren Ishii is the pinnacle of the iron lady. Then there’s the sultry, seductive gangster wife, Mia Wallace of cult classic Pulp Fiction. With her venomous charms, Tarantino managed to write a protagonist with the ability to instill fear and passion in any of her subjects.
Publications such as Vulture, Vogue, Variety and Stylist credit Tarantino’s works as empowering, referencing many of Tarantino’s legendary women protagonists. In an interview with Vulture, Tarantino addresses his aptitude at writing roles for women that are “outside of the typical Hollywood demographic.” Tarantino cites his love of character–building, preferring to cast an actor capable of delivering a legacy–worthy performance as opposed to molding women into the stereotypical star studded ingénue. “I have no obligation whatsoever other than to just cast it right,” explained the film director. Regardless of Tarantino’s unorthodox movie–magic violence and plotlines, this offbeat director has broken down the cookie–cutter Hollywood starlet heroines and created new roles depicting nitty–gritty badass women willing to take life by the horns. His contributions to the big screen remain legendary.
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