This month we’ve decided to kickstart a new monthly feature within the Film section of The Indiependent. In ‘Our Favourite Film Characters’ a group of us will serve up our favourite characters to ever appear on film, explaining why/how they had such an impact on us or on cinema. This month we have four classic picks, cool, calm and undeniably awesome characters we’ve all wished we were at some point.
Mia Wallace – Pulp Fiction
Mia Wallace is featured in Pulp Fiction for around a grand total of 30 minutes, yet it’s her character that arguably leaves the most lasting impression upon viewers. Played by a then 23-year-old Uma Thurman, Mia dominated the film’s marketing (who hasn’t seen the famous picture of her lying in a bed with a gun in one hand and a cigarette in the other?) despite being a supporting role and has since even become a widely popular choice for a Halloween costume. The attention audiences have devoted to her character may initially sound a bit excessive, but when you actually see her performance onscreen, it’s not hard to understand why.
Mia is first introduced to the viewer through a conversation between Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson), hitmen working for her gangster husband, Marcellus (Ving Rhames). Vincent has been tasked with taking Mia out for the evening while Marcellus is out of town and is somewhat anxious about it; upon entering her home later that night, we can soon see why. The build up to Mia’s arrival couldn’t have been executed more perfectly, as we hear her seductive but playful voice over the intercom instructing Vincent to make himself comfortable while Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ sets the mood in the background. We see the back of her head as she snorts cocaine, we see her lips as she talks to Vincent, and (Tarantino superfans won’t be surprised to see) we see her feet as she enters the room, but it’s not until she and Vincent arrive at the diner that we truly get to meet her: from the famous haircut to her infectiously sly smile, from making wry observations about human nature to doing more cocaine in the restroom, Mia Wallace positively oozes ‘cool’.
Two of the film’s most iconic moments stem from Mia: the dance scene at the diner and her eventual overdose after mistaking Vincent’s heroin for cocaine. Both present her in strikingly different lights – the dance scene only adds to her ‘cool’ factor, as she and Vincent offer up some of the most memorable dance moves in all of cinema. The overdose scene, however, shows her slightly more vulnerable side, as, while caked in blood and sweat, she sheepishly remarks to Vincent that she would be in just as much trouble as him if Marcellus were to find out about everything. Though she may not be onscreen for a very long time, it’s Tarantino’s brilliant writing and Thurman’s even better acting that make Mia not just one of my favourite characters, but arguably one of cinema’s.
Words by Samantha King