Wednesday, February 29, 2012

40 Best Movies to Honor Women's History Month

Women’s history is everyone’s history. Just like men, women have molded and shaped the known world for better and for worse alike. In this upcoming month dedicated to honoring women’s history, you’ll find a great opportunity for recognizing great movies for, by, and about women. Organize a movie night and get educated about some of the seriously cool ladies – both real and fictitious – populating the cinematic sphere.




  1. La vie en rose dir. Olivier Dahan: Singer Edith Piaf led a life at once beautiful and wholly tragic, reflected in this heavily acclaimed film starring the haunting Marion Cotillard.

  2. Julie & Julia dir. Nora Ephron: Even audiences who manage to burn water can still love and appreciate the absolutely charming Julia Child – played here by Meryl Streep – and enthusiasm for the culinary arts.

  3. Selena dir. Gregory Nava: Learn all about Tejano music sensation Selena Quintanilla-Perez, whose life shockingly and tragically ended when the president of her fan club committed a wholly unexpected murder.

  4. Evita dir. Alan Parker: Argentineans either adore or despise struggling actress Evita Duarte and her husband, President Juan Peron, and this cheesy-but-beloved musical illustrates their wild days and mad existence.

  5. Amelia dir. Mira Nair: Amelia Earhart may have failed in her attempt to circumnavigate the globe, but as an aviatrix still serves as an inspiration to girls and women hoping to succeed in traditionally male-dominated industries and hobbies.

  6. Persepolis dirs. Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi: This striking animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s seminal graphic memoir delves deeply into the changing face of Iran following the deposition of the shah and the personal prejudices she encountered living in Europe.

  7. Jeanne d’Arc dir. Victor Fleming: Even some nonreligious women find Jeanne d’Arc and her fearless battlefield prowess a strong role model, and she pops into vivid life here depicted by the stellar Ingrid Bergman.

  8. Erin Brockovich dir. Steven Soderbergh: Like all films adapting real people and situations, liberties regarding the nonfiction inevitably occur here. But that doesn’t diminish the core environmental justice, public health, and consumer rights messages at the center of this biopic.

  9. The Runaways dir. Floria Sigismondi: Joan Jett herself intimately participated in the production of a movie all about the early days of her influential teenage rock band The Runaways.

  10. Silkwood dir. Mike Nichols: Explore the very real, very terrifying true story of Karen Silkwood, who witnessed some awful human rights violations while working at a plant processing plutonium and died under mysterious and suspicious circumstances.


Chick Flicks/Comedies


  1. Waiting to Exhale dir. Forest Whitaker: Forest Whitaker’s second full-length feature adapted Terry McMillan’s novel, which traces the trajectories of four African-American women as they attempt to navigate changing roles and romances.

  2. Secretary dir. Steven Shainberg: This sexy, sultry viewing pleasure demonstrates that absolutely no shame exists in women assuming a submissive role in S&M scenarios — provided that’s genuinely what sexually satisfies her, of course.

  3. Sukkar banat dir. Nadine Labaki: Better known as Caramel to English speakers, Sukkar banat takes place in a Beirut beauty shop and peeks at the diverse lives and loves of the workers and customers alike.

  4. Thelma & Louise dir. Ridley Scott: Critics and audiences often tout Thelma & Louise as one of the all-time greatest buddy movies ever committed to celluloid because of its riveting central characters, who murder a rapist and find themselves on the lam.

  5. The Joy Luck Club dir. Wayne Wang: Women’s history doesn’t get much more intimate than the bonds between mother and daughter, and Amy Tan’s novel and its subsequent film adaptation highlight two generations of Chinese-American ladies to showcase this near-universal theme.

  6. The Devil Wears Prada dir. David Frankel: Power struggles between two extremely different approaches to life as an office lady form the crux of this movie’s central conflict, juxtaposing the competitive "ice queen" edifice of yesteryear with today’s pluckier ingenues.

  7. La fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet: Movies don’t get more charming and whimsical than this without Muppets, and La fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain (usually shortened to, simply, Amelie) is classic viewing for feel-good times.

  8. Calendar Girls dir. Nigel Cole: To fundraise for a Yorkshire hospital, the Women’s Institute members compile a nude calendar in this encouraging comedy that proves young ladies don’t corner the market on beauty.

  9. Dancer in the Dark dir. Lars von Trier: Despite existing as one of the most moving tearjerkers that ever jerked tears, Bjork’s killer performance of an immigrant woman whose American dreams splinter deserves watching at least once.

  10. Steel Magnolias dir. Herbert Ross: Steel Magnolias centers around a beauty parlor in Louisiana and reflects on the experiences and cultural memes that made them simultaneously as soft as flowers and as hard as metal.


Documentaries/Women’s Issues


  1. The Invisible War dir. Kirby Dick: Female soldiers who experienced rape and sexual assault while serving in the United States Armed Forces speak out about their suffering as well as the nation’s failure to properly address and acknowledge it.

  2. The Perfect Vagina dir. Heather Leach: Host Lisa Rogers launches an exhaustive inquiry into why so many women risk losing sexual sensation by paying for expensive labial, vaginal, and other genital reconstructive surgeries.

  3. Born Into Brothels dirs. Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman: Explore Calcutta’s squalid red light district through the eyes of poverty-stricken children born to prostitutes, who receive their own video cameras and training to document their daily experiences.

  4. Pray the Devil Back to Hell dir. Gini Reticker: Beginning with one lady and one church, a strong, solid, effective Liberian peace movement comprised of the nation’s women spread to other houses of worship — eventually culminating in the election of its first female head of state.

  5. The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter dir. Connie Field: No less than the United States National Film Registry wants to preserve Connie Field’s film about the women who hit the work force during World War II before societal expectations forced them back into the kitchen.

  6. Cruel and Unusual dirs. Janet Baus, Dan Hunt, and Reid Williams: Transwomen who wind up in the prison system often experience far more inhumane treatment than their traditional counterparts, with the horrid details popping into shocking light here.

  7. The Line dir. Nancy Schwartzman: This thoroughly sex-positive short documentary tries to make sense of how American society tends to marginalize female rape survivors who aren’t virgins or otherwise "perfect victims."

  8. Good Hair dir. Jeff Stilson: Comedian Chris Rock delivers a somewhat sociological analysis of African-American hairstyles — particularly those of women — and the expensive (sometimes unethical and/or hazardous) practices that spring up as a result.

  9. Miss Representation dir. Jennifer Siebel Newsom: The media’s track record for portraying the true diversity of women remains, to put it nicely, rather awful, and Miss Representation tackles the problem unapologetically.

  10. The Business of Being Born dir. Abby Epstein: Along with Ricki Lake, documentarian Abby Epstein delves into the disconcerting downsides of giving birth in America, which she surprisingly ends up experiencing firsthand when she gets pregnant during filming.


LGBTQ Interest/Social Issues


  1. Transamerica dir. Duncan Tucker: Central character Bree Osbourne receives very different news at once – she finally received approval for sexual reassignment surgery and has a previously unknown, troubled son living in New York.

  2. The Color Purple dir. Steven Spielberg: Alice Walker’s Pulitzer-winning novel springs to vivid, heart-wrenching life through this celluloid classic, which chronicles the life of a heavily marginalized, African-American woman from adolescence until mid-to-late adulthood.

  3. 4 luni, 3 saptamani si 2 zile dir. Cristian Mungiu: Romanian women in the 1980s were barred from securing abortions for unwanted pregnancies, meaning a thriving, and sometimes dangerous, underground flourished. More recognizable as 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, the boiling drama showcases what lengths the female population will take when denied body autonomy.

  4. Boys Don’t Cry dir. Kimberly Peirce: Based on a true story, the visceral Boys Don’t Cry depicts popular boy Brandon Teena whose life winds up a fatal nightmare when his small town pals discover he’s biologically a woman.

  5. Hairspray dir. John Waters: Lively and life-affirming, one of John Waters’ more mainstream-accessible works features a confident, strong, and refreshingly non-waifish heroine who wields her new-found popularity to promote integration.

  6. Real Woman Have Curves dir. Patricia Cardoso: Issues unique to the children of Mexican immigrants as well as women in the workplace — and, of course, their frequently frustrating unequal intersections — form the central themes of this film about a young woman trapped between college or career.

  7. Sib dir. Samira Makhmalbaf: Sib is better-known to English audiences as The Apple, a narrative about one family’s extreme measures to shelter the young daughters from outside influence.

  8. Sarafina! dir. Darrell Roodt: This film pulls from the schools involved in the Soweto Riots and dissects how teachers can hold hefty influence over their students during times of political oppression.

  9. Jin nian xia tian dir. Yu Li: Chinese censors attempted to suppress one of the nation’s first known LGBTQ-themed productions, which involves a simple narrative of a lesbian couple, returning lovers, and oblivious mothers.

  10. Fried Green Tomatoes dir. Jon Avnet: Adapted from the Fannie Flagg (who also penned the screenplay) novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, this movie celebrates the power of friendships across generations and follows the inspiring romance between two Depression-era women.

Taken From Accredited Online Degrees

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