Based On Actual Events Fodder: Survival Stories that aren't all dudes
September 22, 2016 8:54 PM   Subscribe

My BF and I saw an ad for the upcoming Deep Water Horizon movie, and I commented that there seem to be a lot of these "men trapped in desperate situations" movies. He wanted suggestions for "based on actual events" that aren't exclusively men. Trying to google turned up a lot of unhelpful results. Any ideas?
posted by DebetEsse to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Black Book.
posted by pintapicasso at 9:06 PM on September 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

'Open Water' comes to mind.
posted by kickingtheground at 9:10 PM on September 22, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Descent?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:25 PM on September 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Trying not to thread-sit, but I'm not so much looking for movies, but books or other "actual events" that such a movie could be based on.
posted by DebetEsse at 10:16 PM on September 22, 2016

Molly Kelly was an Australian Martu aboriginal woman who trekked 990 miles home after escaping from the Moore River Native Settlement in 1931. She and her sisters inspired the book that inspired the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence.
posted by fritillary at 10:27 PM on September 22, 2016 [17 favorites]

These four options aren't as fast-paced as Deep Water, but:

Female watch-factory workers during WWI got radiation poisoning from painting glowing radium numbers on the watch faces (dramatized in a play and some novels as Radium Girls).

Female munitions factory workers were kind of stuck together in factories during WWII (dramatized as Bomb Girls).

The upcoming Hidden Figures tells the true story of three female African American mathematicians who helped America get into the Space Race through the 1950s - 1970s.

The novel Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on an actual young San Nicoleno woman who was left alone on her Pacific island in the mid 1800s when the rest of her people left/were taken by some colonizer/pirate types.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:32 PM on September 22, 2016 [5 favorites]

Elisabeth Fritzl
posted by invisible ink at 10:36 PM on September 22, 2016

They didn't survive, but for "trapped in a desperate situation" an archetype in Western history might be the martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicity, two Christian women with several others in Roman North Africa who were executed, either for professing their own religion or for refusing to comply with requirements of the Roman state religion, I don't remember which at the moment. They were later proclaimed to be saints. I would expect that you'd find lots of stories that fit your specs in Christian stories of saints, martyrdom, and other exemplars of suffering or whatever, and maybe in other religions too?

With varying degrees of veracity, of course; but Wikipedia at least claims that scholars think the Perpetua and Felicity event is probably historical.
posted by XMLicious at 11:21 PM on September 22, 2016

Juliane Koepcke - Sole survivor of a plane crash in the Peruvian Jungle
posted by Nilehorse at 11:25 PM on September 22, 2016 [6 favorites]

Noor Inayat Khan also comes to mind. The film rights to the book have been bought.
posted by Nilehorse at 12:17 AM on September 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Lauren Elder, author of And I Alone Survived.

Here's a BBC interview from 2012 with Juliane Koepcke. Some years ago I saw a television documentary series which had an episode about her. Unfortunately I can't remember it's name nor what channel it was on, BBC or Channel 4, but it featured people who had been sole survivors and tried to analyse what had happened. Another episode was about a western family living isolated in the amazon jungle, man, wife and daughter. The wife was blind. It seems the guy murdered his daughter and killed himself, leaving the woman stranded alone and with no idea what had happened. She survived for months until rescued.

Oh, I just googled 'blind woman amazon jungle' and found her. Her name is Jan Little. The story is a bit like Mosquito Coast, in that there's a controlling patriarch who might have lost it - there was a distinct suggestion of that in the documentary but I see that might not be part of the story anymore.
posted by glasseyes at 12:19 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

tried to analyse what had happened - I mean why they in particular had survived.
posted by glasseyes at 12:39 AM on September 23, 2016

Another thing that actually happened is the story of Clipperton Island, though I don't think there are any extensive accounts of it in English. Basically a stranded small colony most of whose men had died found themselves at the mercy of a mad lighthouse keeper. The women killed him in the end.
posted by glasseyes at 3:38 AM on September 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

In 1996, Charlotte Fox and Sandy Hill were part of a climbing team in the 'Death Zone' on the SE Ridge of Mt. Everest when a storm made it impossible for them to return to the safety of Camp IV. One of the guides did the impossible twice, once by finding them and then by finding the Camp. Several participants of various climbing teams wrote books, including one by the guide who rescued 3 climbers, including Fox and Hill.
posted by Homer42 at 4:18 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Woodswoman isn't based on a dire precipitating incident, but shows a woman living alone in the wilderness.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:48 AM on September 23, 2016

Deep Survival is a collection of true survival stories, including a number of women.
posted by jpeacock at 7:00 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Lost Lady of the Amazon is a great read and tells the story of a woman who is the only survivor of a group of folks who have to trek 3,000 miles across the jungles of South America in the 18th century.
posted by orangemacky at 7:46 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rejected Princesses has a lot of stories that might suit him. Isabel Godin des Odonais is the one orangemacky references above.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:59 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ewa Wisnierska's story of survival is incredible.
posted by h00py at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Jemima Boone and the Callaway sisters. Kidnapped by Native Americans, rescued by Jemima's father Daniel.

A teenaged girl, Elizabeth Zane, made a run for gun powder that played a critical role in Ft. Henry successfully surviving a seige by British and Native Americans. Presumably, the Fort was filled with families, thus including both women and children.
posted by Michele in California at 10:18 AM on September 23, 2016

Inés Ramírez Pérez gave herself a c-section in 2004 and both she and the baby survived.
posted by mattamatic at 10:26 AM on September 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

Dr Jerrie Nielson treated her own breast cancer while stuck in Antarctica for the winter.
posted by CathyG at 11:01 AM on September 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

María Belón 's survival in the aftermath of the Christmas 2004 tsunami as told in the film "The Impossible"
posted by bluedora at 12:56 PM on September 23, 2016

Maralyn Bailey and her husband Maurice survived for 117 days adrift in the Pacific Ocean in 1973 (I found their book in a holiday cottage once, the dinner parties they planned to pass the time were delightfully British 1970's haute cuisine!)
posted by Helga-woo at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2016

Jackie French's novel 'To love a sunburned country' whilst fictional, is based on true events: women surviving in a WW2 Japanese prisoner of war camp.
posted by freethefeet at 8:55 PM on September 23, 2016

The Unsinkable Molly Brown also survived the sinking of the Titanic.
posted by Michele in California at 6:15 PM on September 24, 2016

Ada Blackjack was the only survivor of an arctic expedition.
posted by groar at 11:20 PM on September 24, 2016

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