Living In Cinderella’s Shadow: The 5 Best Live-Action Princesses

Maleficent Angelina Jolie

5) Maleficent from Maleficent – Before she was transformed into “the mistress of all evil,” Maleficent was a a girl whose dominion was over the enchanted creatures of the forest – at least according to last year’s feminist revision to the classic fairy tale.  Like John Gardner’s GrendelMaleficent fleshes out a generally flat (if insatiably memorable) villain from Disney’s rogue gallery.

In this regard, Maleficent is a resounding success.  The enchantress is strong-willed, well rounded and doesn’t need to randomly know Kung Fu in order to get her point across.  And although horrendous things happen to her in the course of the film – which can be varyingly interpreted as a rough analogy for either date rape or a double mastectomy – she uses that to fuel her revenge, for good or for ill.

That last part, I feel, is key to understanding all of the women on this list.  It doesn’t matter as much (to me at least) if those listed are good characters (ie, morally aligned with some nebulous concept of honor, compassion and selflessness) as long as they are good characters (ie, individuals with strong characterization and a narrative arc that they themselves direct toward a self-determined conclusion).  They can be as abhorrent as Maleficent keeping an innocent child alive long enough to psychologically torture her father with the certainty of her death, just as long as they are granted agency within their own story.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.