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Blockbuster Baby Names: The Movie Girls of Summer

From Alice to Vespyr, the best names from summer movies

By Abby Sandel

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the US, and that means movies.

Not just any movies, either. The summer schedule is packed with potential blockbusters – as much romance and action and intrigue as you can stuff into two hours and a bucket of popcorn.

Summer movies could inspire some spectacular baby names. Ewan MacGregor is playing a character called Peregrine Makepeace in Our Kind of Traitor, and that fabulously named quartet of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also return to the big screen.

But many of the more intriguing character names this summer belong to the ladies. From history lessons to fantasy, beloved characters to newcomers, there are great girl name possibilities on the silver screen from May right through Labor Day.

Let’s take a look at the girls of summer, which could make great baby names for a daughter expected later this year.

Alice Alice Kingsleigh is back in Wonderland this May. A sequel to the 2010 hit seemed inevitable. After all, Lewis Carroll himself wrote Through the Looking-Glass as a follow-up way back in 1871. This time, Alice is racing through time to save the Mad Hatter. This storybook name has climbed from Number 257 in 2009 to Number 87 today. Will another installment of Alice’s adventures take the name even higher?

Esther – 1959’s Ben-Hur was one of the most successful movies of all time, winning a record-setting eleven Academy Awards and widely considered a cinematic triumph. It was based on an 1880 novel of the same name. Now a new telling of the story is headed to theaters in August. Esther, the love interest of Judah Ben-Hur, is a traditional girls’ name that has been attracting more attention in recent years. If the movie is a success, we could meet even more baby Esthers.

Gwen Gwen climbed more than 200 spots between 2014 and 2015, to reach Number 746 in the US – and Number 383 on Nameberry. Now it’s the name of a character in The Hollars, a new movie from John Krasinski, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Gwen was a 1950s favorite, but it’s showing signs that it could be even more popular in the twenty-first century.

Louisa Jojo Moyes’ bestselling novel Me Before You is headed for the big screen, featuring the unlikely romance between LouisaLou – and Will. Traditional, literary Louisa has been slowly staging a comeback, reaching Number 908 in the US in 2015. A movie could be just the thing to take this name even higher. Berries certainly approve – the name currently ranks Number 142 on the site!

Lula Now You See Me was the story of four Robin Hood-esque magicians who performed fantastic stunts and eluded capture by the FBI. Isla Fisher played the team’s sole female member, Henley, in the 2013 movie. In the 2016 installment, Henley has been replaced by Lizzy Caplan as Lula. Vintage Lula fits right in with Lucy and Luna, but hasn’t ranked in the US Top 1000 since the 1960s. This could be her year.

Nancy Blake Lively’s given name is modern, but her newest character’s name is retro. In The Shallows, Blake plays a professional surfer cornered by a shark. Summer movies about great whites can be huge – Jaws, anyone? – but Nancy might be a tough one to rescue. The name tumbled to Number 820 in 2015, though it remains much more popular on Nameberry.

Saffron – Legendary Britcom Absolutely Fabulous is finally coming to the big screen. The adventures of Patsy and Edina are sure to attract a devoted audience, but the name to watch? That honor goes to Saffron, Edina’s surprisingly sensible daughter, played by Julia Sawalha. Saffy boosted her character’s name in the UK, but it hasn’t caught on in the US – yet.

Serena Free State of Jones is a new Civil War drama, based on a true story. Keri Russell plays Serena, the first wife of Newton Knight, who rebelled against the Confederacy in Mississippi. Serena is a name that is timeless and trend-resistant. It’s risen and fallen over the years, but has never really been out of style.

Vespyr – The biggest name-related movie of 2016 might be Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen as Ben, a dad content to raise six children off the grid in the Pacific Northwest – until tragedy strikes. The six kids’ names are every bit as unconventional as their upbringings: sons Bodevan, Rellian, and Nai, and daughters Kielyr, Vespyr, and Zaja. Vesper is also the name of a Bond girl, the heroine of a series of children’s books, and the Roman personification of the evening star. It’s two parts-Harper, one-part Aurora, and a name that could catch on.

Are there any great summer movie names I’ve missed? Are any of your favorite baby names for girls borrowed from movies?

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5 Responses to “Blockbuster Baby Names: The Movie Girls of Summer”

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cmariac Says:

May 29th, 2016 at 11:19 pm

Some of these are cute: Saffron (a color/spice name), Gwen (my association is to Gwen Stacy from the Amazing Spiderman)… I just can’t see Nancy, Esther or Vespyr making huge leaps up the charts. Only time will tell I suppose 🙂
Good article!

Haids1987 Says:

May 31st, 2016 at 9:12 am

Esther I could see, since it has a cute nickname (Essie), but Nancy I think is a long while off before it starts popping up again.

Janie_Larkin70 Says:

May 31st, 2016 at 1:58 pm

I was quite surprised when my youngest was a baby. A few months after his baptism, a baby girl was baptized, and her name was Nancy! I found it to be a fresh, daring, retro choice, perhaps honoring a family member. It’s sweet yet substantial, and one I would not mind seeing making a come back.

The little Nancy I spoke of above would be a young adult now.

teacupsandtiaras Says:

May 31st, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Love Alice, Esther, Serena and Louisa!

katinka Says:

June 2nd, 2016 at 1:25 am

Nancy is top 100 here in the UK; I don’t think a comeback across the pond is too far-fetched at all! My cousin (mid-20s) is Nancy and my daughter (8 months) has a little friend called Nancy – I think it’s a sweet, vintage little name which suits all ages.

I love Esther, Gwen, Louisa and Vesper from this list!

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