MovieChat Forums > Dumbo (2019) Discussion > Positive Female Characters

Positive Female Characters

I like that the girl, Milly, played by Thandie Newton's daughter, was intelligent and compassionate, and displayed a genuine and organic interest in science, without it feeling tacked-on. It was especially gratifying since Burton has always tended to favour whimsy and fantasy (it's partly why I'm such a big fan) over the practical and the scientific, so I'm pleased he was able to give such positive attributes to a scientific-minded character in this one.

I also liked that [SPOILER] Eva Green's acrobat, Colette, turned out to possess a heart-of-gold despite initially coming across as a bit of a supercilious snob (clearly it was simply a façade and all about keeping up appearances as Vandemere's girlfriend). It was also cool to see Miss Atlantis use her physical strength to such important effect during the rescue of Dumbo's mother.

None of the female characters were so-called 'Mary Sues' but it was great to see them portrayed with such dignity and sympathy.


The daughter absolutely was. Typical modern flawless female character - knows everything, solves every problem, underestimated by the one-dimensional males...

She wants to be a smart scientist, the brother can juggle. Every knowledge share came with her correcting the brother or Colin Farrell.

Found her quite annoying because of this. Why can't there be positive characters with flaws or weaknesses like normal people? Or an equal share of exposition, instead of it all being front-loaded on one character - thus making them seem like a focus-group generated box-ticking cypher for the current Hollywood agenda.


The brother was a sweet and nice child who understood Dumbo's emotional needs. He wasn't quite as aloof as his sister, and so he had his positive attributes too.

But the girl was a budding scientist and so it made sense that most of the problem-solving stuff came from her. I like that she was a mixed-race girl too, yet her racial identity and her high intelligence were portrayed subtly without it being things that entirely defined the character or her story. It wasn't 'here's a black female scientist!', it was more 'here's a scientist who just happens to be black and female' (because, guess what? They do exist).

And Tim Burton has always had a mix of female characters in his films, some are bright, like Milly, some are not so-bright, some are sweet and likeable, some are jerks, but the variety is very welcome and should be encouraged for future films. But what I like is that it's not 'all women are great' or 'all women are awful', which is a tendency in some films and with some filmmakers.


I really liked the female characters in this too.