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Quentin Tarantino’s Girl Power

Despite his video-geek frat-guy bravado, Tarantino’s films are as much about female empowerment as the macho shenanigans of tough guys. Honest.

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The Movie Female Protagonist Seminal Moment Lesson
Pulp Fiction
(1994)

Mia Wallace
(Uma Thurman)
Mia witheringly sums up bad boy Vincent Vega and his cronies: "When you little scamps get together, you're worse than a sewing circle." Fast-talking, pop-culture-reference-spewing gangsters are just talking to hear themselves talk. It's the women who know where all the bodies are buried. And they aren't telling.
Jackie Brown
(1997) .

Jackie Brown
(Pam Grier)
Jackie manages to bolt to Spain with half a million bucks while the Feds gun down the man who plans to kill her. Thugs and G-men never see it coming. Face it: Women are smarter. They think things through. So act tough all you want, Mr. Big Man With a Gun. You're toast.
Kill Bill, Volumes 1 and 2
(2003, 2004)

Beatrix Kiddo,
a.k.a. the Bride
( Uma Thurman)
The Bride, despite muscle atrophy, slices the Achilles tendon of the orderly who was raping her while she was in a coma, and repeatedly smashes a door into his skull. She then goes on to kill every male in the movie. Do a woman wrong, and when the time is right, she will get her bloody revenge. Especially if she was trained by a ninja wizard.
Death Proof
(2007)

Stuntwoman Zoë Bell
and her band of fiery thrill-seekers.
Beats the bejesus out of Kurt Russell after he tries to resolve his issues with the ladies by running them over in his car. Women are not victims. In fact, they're kicking your ass right now.
Inglorious Basterds
(2009)

Shosanna Dreyfus
(Mélanie Laurent)
When the Basterds' plot to kill Nazi high-command in Dreyfus's theater hits a snag, she pulls off her own plan, rendering the Basterds almost unneccesary. Men are unreliable screw-ups, which is why women have to do everything themselves. Brad Pitt's pitiful accent only makes things worse.

Photographs: From top, Miramax/Everett Collection (3); The Weinstein Company/Everett Collection; Courtesy of the Weinstein Company


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