There’s no better way to commemorate International Women’s Day than by asking for a raise, giving to charities like Planned Parenthood or #TimesUp, and applauding the creative work of other women. So if you’re done eating books written by women, binging podcasts made by women, for women, and enjoying art by (you guessed it!) women, could we propose some required…watching? Our best films that put women at the center of the narrative have been compiled for your viewing pleasure. Films like Promised Young Woman and A League of Their Own are among this year’s must-sees.
Inspired women everywhere to pack up their possessions and embark on the Pacific Crest Trail, solo style, in the book-turned-movie. Witherspoon’s Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, will inspire you to transform your life. Is there anything more empowering?
2. ‘Little Women’
A lot of discussion and controversy has taken place over the years about the feminism of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women novel and its several TV and film adaptations. However, the Greta Gerwig adaptation of the book has been praised for its more modern approach to the book’s message of feminism (plus, the more ambiguous ending). Although the March sisters’ views of womanhood differ, we like watching them all find and wield their power in unique ways.
3. ‘Promising Young Woman’
Sexual assault is on the list of things that may cause you distress. In Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell tackle rape culture, toxic masculinity, and trauma. Mulligan portrays a barista vigilante seeking retribution for the rape of her best friend on the grounds of her college. Anger and catharsis are two of the film’s many benefits.
4. ‘The Color Purple’
In 1985, a film adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was released, and it has since become a classic feminist film. ‘Celie,’ played by Whoopi Goldberg, is a Black southern woman who has been abused for years and has learned to rely on her female friends and family for support.
5. ‘A League of Their Own’
It’s one of the original feminist films, A League of Their Own, based on the true story of the first professional women’s baseball league. Even if that’s not enough to entice you, Madonna makes an appearance, so there you have it!
Isn’t she a brave one? Check. Adventure? Check. Isn’t he the best? Please do so as well. Are there any Lin-Manuel soundtracks? YOU GUYS BETTER BELIEVE IT. Disney has long needed a fierce, empowered heroine like Moana. The fact that this film does not feature a meaningless love interest is an added bonus! If you don’t mind if it’s for kids, you’ll be rewatching it for years.
Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, playing Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, work together to expose Roger Ailes of sexual harassment in this ripped-from-the-headlines film. Theron, Kidman, and Margo Robbie (who plays a fictional character) offer a dynamite performance, despite the exceptional facial prosthetics.
8. ‘Miss Congeniality’
Critique is essential to the enjoyment of a work of art like this one; Miss Congeniality had its share of hiccups (like making instances of sexual harassment a punchline and the classic “ugly duckling” storyline, one too often subscribed to women in film). Though sexist preconceptions were broken, the film is nonetheless considered as a feminist classic today.
9. ‘Woman Woman 1984’
After years of waiting, Wonder Woman finally received her own superhero movie in 2017 (and is included on this list!). This time, Gal Gadot is pitted against Kristen Wiig’s Cheetah in the sequel, Woman Woman 1984, which is a resounding success.
10. ‘On The Basis of Sex’
There is no limit to the number of Ruth Bader Ginsburg films that can be made. It is Felicity Jones who plays RBG in this dramatized portrayal of the activist’s quest for equality for men and women. In addition to the 2018 documentary, RGB, consider a double-header.
This is the actual story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the “illegitimate” half-black daughter of an admiral, as she deals with the institutional prejudice of upper society. As well as being a beautiful and strange picture on marginalization (as well as being incredibly romantic), Gugu Mbatha-performance Raw’s in Belle is stunning.
12. ‘The Wizard of Oz’
Are you surprised that The Wizard of Oz (1939) made the cut? Then don’t. On top of helping three lost souls and calling out a wizard on his mansplaining, this film is about a little girl who takes control of her own fate by fleeing the hot mess that is Oz. Her puppy is also adorable.
13. ‘Kill Bill’
Throughout Kill Bill, a woman’s quest for vengeance against the guy who destroyed her life is at the center of the story. Uma Thurman gives a timeless performance as a feminist icon. This Weinstein-produced film included some of the worst treatment of her by Quentin Tarantino, who should be held accountable for his actions.
Mulan receives accolades for her depiction of a woman who refuses to be pigeonholed as a princess because she is determined to break free of gender norms. Disney in 1998 wasn’t exactly known for its political correctness, but Mulan taught a generation of children that women can be just as brave and capable as men.
15. ‘Thelma & Louise’
Thelma & Louise, a historic feminist film about two sisters on a road trip, is the best picture on sisterhood. You can have a good time watching it with your friends and then discussing your thoughts about it with them. For Brad Pitt, this film was the beginning of his entire career, so thank you.
16. ‘Bend It Like Beckham’
This movie tells the story of a promising soccer player who is denied participation in the sport because she is female. Naturally, she defies everyone’s predictions, falls in love, and proves them all wrong. This film was written, directed and produced by Gurinder Chadha, a woman of Indian descent who is also a woman of color.
17. ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
Mad Max: Fury Road is a testosterone-fueled bro adventure, and you’re not the only one who thought so going into it. Charlize Theron’s Lieutenant risked her life to liberate a group of women who had been enslaved by abusive men in authority in the movie, which ended up becoming the most feminist pop culture moment of 2015.
18. ‘Hidden Figures’
Although “inspiring” is one of the most overused terms in the English-language dictionary, the biographical film Hidden Figures, which tells the story of three black mathematicians working at NASA, is a perfect example of the term. Many people had never heard this narrative until the film’s release, which is a true testament to how often women—especially women of color—are ignored in our history books.
19. ‘Atomic Blonde’
The spy thriller Atomic Blonde is anything but conventional. Charlize Theron spends the most of the film stomping around, kicking people’s butts and calling them names, and the film avoids the pitfall of giving her a compelling past. To paraphrase Charlize Theron, “[We] need a purpose to become a warrior. And it bothers me, because we are fighters and we deserve to be treated as such. As long as we’re willing to put our lives on the line, we can become warriors. “We don’t need that right now.””
20. ‘Wonder Woman’
Is there anything new to be said about Wonder Woman? At the box office, it defied sexist stereotypes about female superheroes and delighted millions of young girls in need of on-screen representation. It flipped a male-dominated genre on its head. The timing couldn’t have been better.
21. ‘Star Wars’
Carrie Fisher built a feminist hero out of Princess Leia, despite the fact that she wasn’t always given the most powerful material to work with on Star Wars. Even though she didn’t choose the gold bikini, Fisher’s persona became what she is now as a result of her criticism of the franchise.
22. ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon isn’t just a visually stunning film, but it tells the narrative of a young woman who refuses her arranged marriage and instead pursues her own road to martial arts legenddom.. As a whole, it’s a very gorgeous and complex film.
23. ‘Real Women Have Curves’
I think it’s wonderful that Real Women Have Curves was made by women, since it’s better for it. Lady Bird’s premise isn’t the only thing that makes this a “coming-of-age” story; it’s also a look at what it means for young women to take charge of their own lives.
24. ‘Now and Then’
Christina Ricci’s character slaps a kid who dares to claim that girls can’t play softball in a sequence that is a great gem in this coming-of-age movie about four young girls on the precipice of adolescence. When you’re in town for the fashion, don’t leave without experiencing something like this:
25. ‘Legally Blonde’
Is Legally Blonde a feminist movie? If you don’t think so, you haven’t seen it! Elle Woods (bow down) gets into Harvard like it’s no big deal, and then solves the year’s most important legal case. This film takes the ditzy blonde stereotype and flips it on its head.