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Gillian Armstrong Essay

1726 words - 7 pages

The first reason I chose Gillian Armstrong for my research paper is because I admire her dedication and ambition to become a director even though it was a male-dominated job at the time. She is an extremely ambitious and independent woman that didn’t let anything get in her way of pursuing her goal to become a director. The second reason I picked Gillian Armstrong is because she is the director of Little Women, which has been an all-time favorite film of mine since I was little.
     Armstrong has explored several genres, including gangster, musical, and most frequently, period drama. The three films I am going to explore are My Brilliant Career, Mrs. Soffel and ...view middle of the document...

     Mrs. Soffel was produced by Armstrong in 1984. This film was directed in Pittsburgh, and was her first American film, (Carter, 2002). This film is about a woman named Kate Soffel who is the wife of the warden of the Allegheny County jail. Her job is to distribute Bibles and read the scriptures to the prisoners. Kate is unhappy and unsatisfied with her lifestyle. She is tired of her husband constantly controlling what she can and cannot do. Kate eventually falls in love with Ed Biddle, who is a prisoner being wrongly sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of a grocer during a robbery. Mrs. Soffel is about a woman who risks her life to find love. She eventually escapes from the prison with Ed and his brother Jack. It is on the road as fugitives that Kate and Ed build a bond that exceeds her marriage and his life of crime. The end is tragic when they are captured and can no longer share their love for one another.
     Armstrong produced Little Women in 1994. Little Women is one of Armstrong’s most loved and successful film of all times, (Carter, 2002). Little Women is based on four March sisters as they grow up in Massachusetts during the Civil War. Their mother Marmee raises the girls while the father is off at war. The central character of the film is based on Jo, who is talented at writing but stuck in a world where men are encouraged to be writers and women are supposed to assume the role of looking after the house. However, her mother helps encourage her to find the courage she needs to pursue her dream as a writer. Eventually Josephine changes her identity to Joseph and finds a newspaper willing to print her stories in New York. She finally releases her true writing talent with the help of a German professor Friedrich Bhaer. Jo eventually tells Friedrich that it’s okay for him to love her and he does exactly that.
All three films are based around women’s roles in society and them going against social norms. In all three films, women are the main characters. Sybylla is the main character in My Brilliant Career, Kate is the main character in Mrs. Soffel and Jo is the main character in Little Women. These three women are not your typical women. They strive for independence and the desire for a better life. Women following their dreams and their hearts are main themes throughout the films. Sybylla wanted to become a writer, and she eventually left everything she came from to pursue her goal. Kate wasn’t happy with her marriage and she fell in love with Ed, so left her marriage of sixteen years to escape with Ed. Lastly, Jo wanted to become a writer and therefore went to New York to fulfill her lifelong dream. Although all these women struggled, they eventually took risks and followed their hearts.
These three films also share the common theme of personal growth. In the beginning of My Brilliant Career, Sybylla is extremely unhappy living in the outback with her family. When Sybylla...

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