Halle Berry is back (and still hasn't aged) in the new thriller, Kidnap. She plays an extremely distressed mum who is trying to find her son who has been, as the film’s title suggests, kidnapped. When the police are less than helpful, she takes action into her own hands. As the person who brought Catwoman and X-Men’s Storm to life in her career, I have no doubts about Berry’s ability to save the day in her new role. But what’s even more exciting is that Berry playing this part, as a Black woman, seems to reflect a recent trend in film and television. Black women are being called upon to be the saviour in stories, and it’s about time.
I first noticed this casting decision in Big Little Lies when Zoe Kravitz’s character, Bonnie, killed Perry (Alexander Skarsgård ). He regularly abused his wife Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and was revealed to be the rapist of Jane (Shailene Woodley). In other words, lots of people needed to be saved from him. I wrote about how significant it was that a Black woman was the person who delivered the fatal shove that would send Perry down a flight of concrete steps. At the time, I didn’t realise that Kravitz would only be the first of several more Black girl heroes to come.
Late last year, it was announced that Meagan Good would be reviving the original Black shero for a reboot of the classic Blaxploitation film Foxy Brown. As the titular character — originally played by Pam Grier and known for her fighting skills, trigger-happiness, and of course, her afro — Good is likely going to save more than one life on the upcoming Hulu series. BET’s Rebel is about a Black female detective who is trying to make things right in her community and on the police force that once employed her. And most recently, Sony has already released the trailer for Proud Mary, an action-thriller that sees Taraji P. Henson as the main character and a trained assassin.
Finally, Black women are being conceived as not always in need of saving, but able to do the saving as well. When talking to Variety about Kidnap at its Los Angeles premiere, Berry agreed. “I love seeing a woman, and a woman of colour, get to save the day. Men save the day all the time in movies, and it’s nice to see a woman do what I know women can do.” Let’s hope these networks and studios don’t forget it, either.