Elle magazine just hosted their annual Women in Hollywood Tribute (where of course my favorite woman in Hollywood, Gwyneth Paltrow, was honored) and it got me thinking, which Hollywood actress has the largest body of work representing powerful women? And As I was thinking about how much I want to see Hilary Swank's new film Conviction--about a woman who, convinced her convicted brother is innocent, puts herself through law school with the sole goal of representing him in court and gaining his freedom--I realized that hands down Hilary Swank takes this medal. From a female boxer to a women's right's activist to a high school teacher determined to motivate and inspire juvenile delinquents to learn and succeed, Swank's roles vary all over the spectrum and are placed back in time and present, historical and factual. But the one thing almost all of these roles have in common is the representation of female strength. All I can say is props to you Ms. Swank!
Here are some of my favorite Hilary Swank girl-power roles:
Swank won me over as Erin Gruwell, the fiercely determined new 23-year-old teacher at a high school full of juvenile delinquents and under privileged students who obstinately refuse to participate in class. This movie is inspirational because of the transformation that happens in the classroom through Erin's optimistic attitude and belief in the students who hardly believe in themselves. A wonderful performance and a wonderful film.
In this powerful film Swank plays a human right's lawyer from New York returning to her childhood village in South Africa to work on the case of a tortured policeman. The film sheds light on the brutality corruption of the Apartheid and the corruption's complex nature. I saw this not long after returning from South Africa and found it incredibly educational and eye opening.
Million Dollar Baby
Who could forget Swank's performance as an aspiring pro female boxer in her thirties? Her and Clint Eastwood blew me away in this inspiring and sad film also directed by Eastwood. Talk about female strength! Once again, Swank's character possesses a fierce determination that eventually wins over Eastwood as her coach and leads her to achieving her dream.
I don't care what was said about this movie. Sure it is long and could have been cut quite a bit, but I thought Swank's portrayal of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, was powerful and moving enough to carry the film in and of itself. And what woman doesn't want to watch a film based on the incredible historical figure who broker barriers for women everywhere?
Hilary Swank films that I still want to see:
Boys Don't Cry
Iron Jawed Angels (This is on top of my list of must-see Hilary Swank films about the Women's Rights movement.)
The Affair of the Necklace
While we're talking about Hilary Swank, might I add that she's been looking fabulous on the red carpet these days. Here are a few of my favorite of her recent looks.