5. North Country (2005)
Theron plays Josey Aimes, a strong minded woman who leaves her violent husband taking her two children with her and escapes back to her home town Minnesota in the late 1980s. Work is sparse but she hears through her friend, Glory (Frances McDormand) that the local mine is looking for employees. However, the mine is largely dominated by a male employee population (including her father), many of who do not take kindly to women being able to work at the mine.
Most of the men are highly sexist and make the women’s lives a misery by insulting them and leaving hideous things around for them to find. There are no sexual harassment laws in the workplace and Josey’s complaints fall on deaf ears, and her father is unsupportive.
Finally she has enough and leaves, but decides to take the company to Court. It is a hard slog as the other female employees are too scared to join her as they fear their abuse will get worse. But she powers through, when everything including her family seems to be falling apart. Theron puts in such a passionate performance she is utterly believable as Josey.
The film is boosted by an excellent all-star cast including Woody Harrelson, Jeremy Renner, Sean Bean and Michelle Monaghan but Theron really shines here as a determined person, unafraid, determined to raise her children by supporting them herself. North Country is such an interesting depiction of gender inequality in the workplace, and a must see.
4. Prometheus (2012)
Prometheus is a bit like marmite. After its much anticipated release half the audience loved it (as I did), and half detested it. Granted, there are a few plot holes and flaws, Guy Pearce in some bizarre elderly man prosthetics and the characters were not as well written as the earlier films.
However, Prometheus is a stunning science-fiction film which delves into the question of where human beings come from. A lot of the audience were expecting it to be more of a prequel to Alien, and whilst it is in a sense, it is most definitely a film in its own right.
Noomi Rapace plays Elizabeth Shaw, a scientist who is funded to visit a distant moon, LV-223. Along with her partner, Charlie, they have found a ‘star map’ which they believe contains an invitation from ‘engineers’ of life to visit them on LV-223. Shaw is hoping for a peaceful mission, but unfortunately things don’t go that way and their arrival is more hostile than they had ever imagined.
Theron plays Meredith Vickers, an employee of the corporation funding the expedition; she has also been sent along to monitor the expedition. She is very straight laced and to the point and very much wants to be in control at all times. She plays the role perfectly, the audience never really knowing what her agenda is. She is almost robot like, like the android character of David (also played excellently by Michael Fassbender).
3. Young Adult (2011)
Theron plays Mavis Gary, a ghost writer of a teenage series of books. However when we join her in her life she has just broken up with her husband, has stopped writing, has started drinking heavily and she is in the midst of a breakdown.
When she receives an email with the news of the birth of a new baby of her childhood sweetheart she decides to go back to small town America where she grew up. Her intention is to get him back, her telling herself that it is most definitely what he will want too. However, when she gets there things don’t go entirely to plan, and she ends up spiralling into a complete breakdown.
She is certainly not a very likeable character in Young Adult, in fact she is a complete nightmare in general, but it is so interesting to watch and see where her character is going to go. She is mean and cruel to most people she meets along the way, and is not endearing in any way. She keeps her lovely little dog holed up in a hotel room for the majority of the film. However, Theron lets Mavis’s damaged side shine through and as usual plays this part to perfection.
2. Monster (2004)
Theron took a bit of a detour from her usual roles and took on the task of playing real life serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. Theron morphs into the role of Aileen, embodying her character, appearance and expressions. In the 1980s Aileen survived as a prostitute.
One night she was brutally raped by a customer and ended up killing him in self-defence. She was unable to find other work due to her lack of qualifications and criminal past, thus ends up desperate and has to go back to prostitution. This leads to her downfall when she begins to rob and murder her clients, the murders getting increasingly more brutal.
Theron depicts this horror story, rivetingly, and the film is brilliant at depicting how such a tragic turn of events turned Aileen into a serial killer, a killer who starts by killing in need but then relishing in it. It is a tragic tale. Unsurprisingly Theron won the Oscar for her amazing and unforgettable performance. She really does seem to transform into Aileen Wuornos, and it is terrifying.
1. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road is certainly not a forgettable film. In fact, it is difficult to forget after seeing it. It really is a two hour thrill ride and is fantastic to watch, so much so that the film should come with a health warning.
This fourth Mad Max film is directed, produced and co-written by George Miller, and is set in the future after a nuclear war and civilisation has pretty much collapsed. What is left is run by an evil and weird warlord, Immortan Joe, who collects women for recreation and breast milk purposes, others for blood banks and starves the population of water. At the beginning of the film Max is caught by the army and imprisoned as a blood donor to a sick boy, Nux (Nicholas Hoult).
The film is obviously titled with Max’s name, but the real hero here is Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa. She has taken the evil Joe’s prize possessions, his five wives who are hiding in the bottom of the truck/war rig she drives as she attempts to escape his clutches. She is prepared and fierce. Max escapes during the pursuit of Furiosa, and due to a series of consequences ends up on the road with Furiosa and the other women.
Theron owns the part of Imperator Furiosa. She is fierce, smart, driven and fiercely protective of the survival of her cargo. Again, Theron simply embodies her character, her determination and thoughts shining through her eyes. She is a tough grease-smeared warrior and an awesome hero. Her performance is thrilling and extremely impressive.
Mad Max: Fury Road is exhilarating and full of action. It is edge of your seat stuff and can not be looked away from. Everything is brilliant, the direction, the screenplay, the acting, the choreography and the stunts. It is a feat of film making and simultaneously a beautiful and ugly film which must be seen more than once.
Author Bio: Tessa has been a film fanatic and list writer since she learned to walk. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Studies, and a Masters Degree in Scriptwriting from Aberystwyth University. She has a particular interest in horror films, and is currently attempting to write her debut horror script whilst living the dream in Bristol. Follow her on Twitter @Tessicat.