Daisy Ridley's 'Rey' Is the Reason to Bring Your Kids to See the New 'Star Wars'

Star WarsLast night we took our 12-year-old daughter to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and even though I didn't love the movie, I'm so glad we did. Because Daisy Ridley's character Rey is hands down one of the best role models ever to steal the heart -- and soul -- of a movie. Before you keep reading, know that there are some SPOILERS AHEAD!


"Young girls can look at [Rey] and know that they can wear trousers if they want to ... They don't have to show off their bodies," Ridley told Elle magazine in a pre-release interview.

Ridley's promise turned out to be 100 percent true. Nothing about Rey's brave, independent, smart, fierce character -- from the way the other characters interacted with her, to the clothes she wore -- had anything to do with her sex appeal.


Even better? Rey's role didn't sit at the center of a romantic story line; her sole purpose of being wasn't to serve as someone's love interest. Sure, it's easy to imagine Finn (the young stormtrooper, played by John Boyega, who abandons his post and becomes a key figure in the fight against the evil forces of darkness) falling for Rey in future episodes. But the development of that duo's friendship and mutual respect in the movie -- without any overt sexual tension -- was lovely and so freakin' refreshing to watch.

Now, did I find Rey's ability to so handily best Darth Vader's grandson Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) in a lightsaber duel to be pretty unrealistic? Uh, yeah, I did -- either he's the lamest Jedi-trained fighter ever, or he should have had much more of the upper hand when facing off against someone who only discovered her ability to use The Force about an hour ago. But, whatever -- the important thing is that it didn't seem unrealistic at all that she would TRY to take him on, or that she would be a strong opponent. And if you were generous with your suspension of disbelief, the entire scene was truly awesome.

I had some serious problems with the film overall (a topic for another day), but I wholeheartedly love Rey's character. And, as I peeked over at my daughter Isabella and watched her watching the movie, I just felt glad. Glad for Isabella to see this complex female character at the very center of a movie that my husband and I have been talking about for months. Glad for her to see a young woman being brave, resourceful, and so powerful. Glad for her to see a young woman controlling her own destiny, and being not just the hero of a movie, but, within that movie, the hero of her own story.

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I'm also so happy thinking about all the boys of the world who are being introduced to Rey. What a truly awesome female character for them to get to know. If more and more moviemakers get a clue and start featuring smart, strong, fully formed characters like Rey, and letting them have intelligent interactions with other great characters like Finn and Han Solo, well, that would really be a Force for good in the world.



Image via Star Wars/YouTube

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