Sarah Connor vs. Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is one of THE coolest, strongest, most intriguing female characters ever brought to the screen.

We’re not here to argue that.

In many ways, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor of the original flick is even stronger than in “Terminator 2:  Judgment Day.”  Sequel Sarah Connor may kick total ass in “Terminator 2,” and she could take down almost anyone in the world, man, woman, or cyborg.  But the unparalleled magic of “The Terminator” (the first) lies in the transformation of Original Sarah Connor from lovely, terrified waitress-slash-potential-murder-victim – in other words, a typical movie female – to powerful, fighting heroine who saves herself, her male protector, and ultimately the world.  This Sarah Connor embodies the best of everything, the sweetness and vulnerability generally attributed to girls as well as the strength, emotional fortitude, and command of presence typically reserved for the boys.  Kudos to both James Cameron and Linda Hamilton for recognizing that you don’t have to be just one or the other.

BUT.  (And SPOILER ALERT to anyone who — gasp! – has not yet seen one of the best movies of all time.)  The love story, while burning precious little screen time, is absolutely integral to the plot.  In fact, without the love story, there would literally be no movie.  Period.  That’s the very definition of integral.  Therefore, Original Sarah Connor is booted from the list of Strong Female Leads.

Now, if you haven’t flipped away to fire off some hate mail, as for Sequel Sarah Connor a la T2:  all the same qualifications as Original Sarah Connor, and no romantic storylines whatsoever.  Not even a token male.  In fact, she’s one of the few leading women in cinematic history to boast such a complete lack of love interest.  So, yes, T2’s Sarah Connor does earn the title of Strong Female Lead.

So we beg of you, Mr. Cameron, Ms. Hamilton, and all you diehard (wait, wrong action movie) Sarah Connor fans out there, take no offense by this ruling.  These are mere categories, and categories are by necessity both limited and limiting.  “Strong Female Lead” does not automatically make one character “better” than another.  Sarah Connor is not just one of the best female characters ever drawn; she’s one of the best characters, above and beyond any gender or other classification.  And “The Terminator” will never be toppled from the DickFlicks list of the best movies of all time.

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