In Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's acclaimed film, we follow Maya (Jessica Chastain) for nearly a decade as she hunts for Osama bin Laden. Chastain's Maya is a women obsessed — she is so dedicated to finding her target that she forgoes sleep, friendships, and family for more time on the job. But, while Maya is driven at times to desperation and despair (due to personal loss as well as professional dead-ends), we rarely see a moment of weakness. Maya is tough as nails and never afraid to speak her mind. She is, in short, one kickass lady.
Maya joins Claire Danes' Carrie Mathison (on Showtime's Homeland) in a new class of military women we see depicted in the movies and on TV — complex characters who prove time and time again that when the going gets tough, they'll get even tougher.
While female military characters remain the minority, Danes and Chastian are not the first to play women in the armed forces who, quite frankly, kick some serious ass. Sure, there are some blips in the history of women in the military on screen —anyone remember the monstrosity that was Jessica Simpson in Major Movie Star? No? Good — but largely, Danes and Chastain are in good company. Call me when you can do pushups like G. I. Jane, boys.
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[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures]