Hua Mulan from the
This is no Disney fairy tale with a happily every after ending. Instead, it's a real story about a flawed lead character learning to find her way as a leader. You'll note that I said flawed lead character, not female character. That's because, after the opening scenes, Mulan's sex is not the central conflict of the story. Neither is the understated romantic tension between her and her commanding officer. Instead, this film is about self-discipline and self-sacrifice, and learning to surrender one's individual desires to the needs of the whole. It's not a happy film, especially by American standards, but I loved the way Mulan came off as a real person, and her successes and failures have nothing to do with whether she's a man or a woman.