In our bygone years of teenage angst, sometimes reality was hard to accept. These were times when it was much easier and much more fun to tune into a soundtrack of your own life.
We’re always wishing we were in a movie. And why not? All your problems succinctly distilled into two hours, with about 12 great outfit changes. Like when we’re reading a novel, the characters that attract us the most are usually those who we see a part of ourselves in, someone we would like to (or rather) be.
From new to old, we take you through the top 5 movie characters to channel this summer, for all those who aren’t having a Roman holiday.
Amélie from Amélie (2001), dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet
An indisputable classic. Starring the legendary Audrey Tautou, there’s more to Amélie than French chic and an iconic look. From start to finish, it is as if the whole movie is orchestrated in her head, a fanciful comedy where we see how her daring and positive actions take direct effect onto her environment (fancy that). As a result, Amélie’s world is entirely a world of her making, showing that we alone have the power to control our lives – and that we may as well make them a comedy.
Edith from Grey Gardens (1975), dir. Albert Maysles
Although an old woman, Edith (the mother figure) in Grey Gardens has become a huge cult figure, and has become one of the top camp icons behind the screen for both her outrageous outfits and even more outrageous personality. Perhaps what is so intriguing about Edith is that she actually exists – the film is a documentary, exploring the daily lives of two ageing and eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, in their crumbling Long Island estate. Whilst Edith is quite crazy, there is definitely something to be learnt about her spirit. For someone elderly she displays enormous vitality, and more than anyone else is not afraid to be herself, behind or in front of the camera.
Skateboarding vampire from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), dir. Ana Lily Amirpour
Although nameless, this heroine is anything but boring. Living the vampire skateboarding and spaghetti Western dream, the protagonist (played by Sheila Vand) has the ultimate feminist agenda – preying on men who disrespect women, in a worn-down city in Iran. Powerful and pervasive, her influence stretches beyond the screen by showing us, no matter how small we may seem, we are in fact filled with the power to both support others and enable ourselves, the ultimate lesson in girl-power.
Marie Antoinette from Marie Antoinette (2006), dir. Sofia Coppola
Yes, she dies at the end. And represents everything debauch and problematic about the upper classes. However, if there is any lesson to be learnt from luxury, it is by Kirsten Dunst’s infinitely charming portrayal of the French queen. Coppola’s historical drama sparked a revolution because it was one of the first to blend history with pop culture. As a result, the 18th century queen is brought closer to us, with her lavish ways giving us relief in comparison to our own guilty indulgences.
Polly from I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing (1987), dir. Patricia Rozema
A comedy classic in Canadian New Wave, Polly is the true new-gen kooky character down to the core. Polly represents a very relatable character – a young woman trying to break it into the exclusive art industry, who doesn’t give up despite many (hilarious) faux pas on the way. Not only does Polly learn about herself through perseverance, but she also finally begins to understand how the art world works, and only then can she break-out from the system and really come into herself as a young creative resisting the system.