On a recent trip to Seattle, I found myself in the coolest movie theatre. Instead of regular seats, there were velvet couches scattered around the room. It was like sitting in the living room of an eccentric rich lady. I slouched comfortably and got ready to watch a movie I’d been anticipating for months: Atomic Blonde.
I am someone who can watch movie trailers for hours. It’s one of my many procrastination superpowers! But as soon as I saw Charlize Theron destroying multiple bad guys while maintaining her blonde bob and icy demeanour, I was counting down the days to the movie’s premiere.
As the British spy Lorraine Broughton, Theron is the epitome of coolness. She’s kicking ass, out-smarting three governments, and avoiding emotion, all while wearing graphic retro outfits and heels. There may have been some teeny plot issues, but nothing big enough to take away from my popcorn escapism. And the velvet couches made the experience even better. I want to watch all my thrillers on comfy couches from now on. Oh wait, I usually do, thanks to Netflix.
I have a definite weakness for these tough heroines. One of my favourite films is the very noir The Last Seduction. This movie stars Linda Fiorentino as a fascinating amoral heroine who outsmarts every man who gets in her way. Since I’m someone who won’t even park in the wrong zone, it’s clear that I get a vicarious thrill from watching women break all the rules.
In my own books, I love to subvert the male/female rules. For one book—The Tao of Hockey—I set out to write my very own kick-ass heroine, Josie Ray. She’s unemotional, confident, a stunt woman, and a motorcycle rider. Not just any motorcycle, but a red Ducati Panigale. I finally saw one in Bologna, Italy and it was a thing of beauty. Originally, I tried to write the book with alternating POVs, but it turns out that writing a woman of mystery is pretty tough. Once I got inside Josies’s head, she became a woman as full of insecurities and doubts as any other, which detracted from her mystery and toughness. So I kept the POV in Eric’s head. He is also attracted to kick-ass women.
What do I like about tough heroines?
- Their hard as nails exterior. Sometimes she has a marshmallow center, but often there’s a hard as nail interior too.
- How they flout the rules. They have their goals and go for them.
- They don’t need men or relationships to define themselves. They do enjoy sex though.
- They wear the best clothes!
If you’d like to see it, Atomic Blonde is still in theatres, or if you’re in Seattle, you can catch it from the comfort of a plush couch.