6 Female Movie Characters Who Overcome the Odds

Movies have the special ability to transform real-life tales into captivating, compelling stories.

And no stories are more empowering (or complex to translate onscreen) than those of women who achieved greatness against all odds.

We've lined up six films that portray the stories of real women caught in the wrangle of life's intricacies and complexities and yet, still manage to fight their way to the top.

Check out the list below of some of our favorite films to make you feel inspired.

1. "Erin Brockovich"

Based on a true story of environmental activist, mother, and lawyer Erin Brockovich, the movie chronicles the story of Brockovich (played by Julia Roberts) who is an unemployed woman who transcends her unfortunate circumstances in pursuit of justice and the truth. Brockovich's losing streak morphs into a memorable tale as she finds herself at the helm of one of the biggest class action lawsuits in American history against a multi-billion dollar company.

2. "In A World"

Actress Lake Bell writes, directs and stars "In A World," a film that reveals the struggle for one woman to break into the male-dominated voice-over industry. Bell plays Carol who desperately wants to fulfill her dreams of becoming a voice-over star like her famed, retired father. Along the way, Carol finds herself face-to-face with the pervasive sexism of the industry and must go against the grain to pursue her calling. Actress and activist for gender equality in media Geena Davis also makes a relevant cameo. 

3. "Amélie"

The French film tells the story of a young woman named Amélie who lives within the bounds of her own colorful imagination. After witnessing her mother's death at a young age, Amélie is haunted by a childhood of isolation and solitude.  Set on spreading the miracle of life and love, Amélie makes it her mission to help those around her in sometimes complicated and messy ways. By investing in others, Amelie overcomes her past and brings long overdue joy to her own life in the process.

4. "Frances Ha"

An aspiring dancer, Frances is stuck between fully pursuing a career in professional dance in New York City and giving up everything to retreat to a more nurturing and forgiving environment similar to that of her alma mater, Vassar. She's highly ambitious and optimistic about her dreams but recognizes the pitfalls of not wanting to grow up right away. 

Eventually, Frances gracefully acknowledges her truths and reality — shortcomings and all. 

5. "Girlhood"

A French film that touches on a universal phenomenon known as coming of age. The protagonist Marieme — nicknamed "Vic" for Victory — seeks refuge with a girl-gang in the projects to escape her monotonous and unpromising life at school and home.

"Girlhood" follows 16-year-old Marieme through a series of events that shape her wild adolescence through some difficult romantic scenarios, leaving her to fend for herself and decide what will come of her life. 

6. "Tiny Furniture"

Similar to Frances Ha, Lena Dunham's breakout film "Tiny Furniture" explores the space between post-college and full-fledged adulthood with Aura (played by Dunham), who moves back home to her mother's place in an artsy district of New York City after finishing college in Ohio.

She's newly (and decidedly, unhappily) single, broke, and craving a space removed from the gaze of her family's intense scrutiny. The film chronicles the unraveling of Aura's life — full of angst and discontentment often depicted in similar stories of those on the brink of transitioning into 'the real world.'

NEXT: Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer, and Other Comedic Actresses Talk Sexism, Salary, and More »

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