Girls on Film: Empowering Movies Every Girl Should See

Madison Harris-Weiner

In Lifestyle Posted

On the Basis of Sex — Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not only a mighty force in the world of law, but with her iconic glasses and lace collars, she has also become a pop culture icon.  Felicity Jones truly embodies the remarkably astute and determined Ginsburg in this biopic that chronicles her successes and struggles before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, including her time as one of only nine women at Harvard Law School and the groundbreaking tax case that launched her career.    

Hidden Figures — In 1961, America was not only shaken by the Civil Rights Movement but the country was also in the heat of the Space Race.  Hidden Figures tells the true story of three remarkable black women (played by the amazing Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe) who were pioneers for both campaigns, working their way up through the white-male-dominated ranks of NASA as mathematicians who were vital to getting the first astronaut in orbit around earth.

Queen of Katwe — Ten-year-old Phiona lives in dire poverty in a harsh Ugandan slum where there is little hope and seemingly no way out.  That all changes when a missionary turns up to teach the children of the town the game of chess. With the guidance of the missionary, Phiona’s intelligence, curiosity and heartwarming optimism, open up opportunities for herself that she never dreamed of and eventually lead her to the World Chess Olympiad.      

Erin Brockovich — Erin Brockovich is a struggling single mom of three, making such sacrifices as forgoing dinner herself so her kids can eat. Despite this, she still retains her fiery, upbeat and persevering self.  Everything changes when she discovers some strange records at the law firm where she works as an assistant. Her keen intuition senses that something is amiss, and without any formal law education, she ends up spearheading the case against a the Pacific Gas and Electric Company who hurt countless families by lying about its poisoned water.     

Mustang — In a small Turkish village where traditional values run strong and deep, an innocent beach day between five sisters turns scandalous.  As punishment for tainting the family name, the girls become prisoners in their own home where they are prepared to be married off. The story is disturbing but director Deniz Gamze Ergüven crafts a beautiful story about sisterhood. Despite their circumstances, the sisters are still able to lead short-lived rebellions and claim their small victories together.

Fighting With My Family — Paige comes from a wrestling family and all she has ever wanted is to fight for WWE.  Her chance finally comes around, so she leaves her small English village for Florida, USA for bootcamp.  Florence Pugh astounds and inspires the audience in the role of Paige as she keeps her values and style intact through months of rigorous training alongside snobbish and unwelcoming girls and goes on to become the youngest WWE Diva Champion to date.       

Joy — Joy Mangano is an imaginative child, full of hope and creativity.  Then, suddenly, she is twenty something and divorced, struggling to make ends meet and wondering where she went wrong.  The film, however, with Jennifer Lawrence in the title role, is anything but bleak as it celebrates Joy’s courage to reinvent herself through, of all things, invention, using her sharp business sense to build an empire with her numerous creations including the self-wringing mop.   

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio — The 1950s was the golden age of advertising contests, and Evelyn Ryan, with her knack for rhyme and witty way with words, was the queen of winning them, supporting her ten kids with the prize money.  Initially, it’s easy to criticize Evelyn for staying with her alcoholic husband. However, the film focuses on the amazingly brave, admirably resourceful and beautifully optimistic woman who did right by her kids despite terribly grim circumstances.  

A League of Their Own — With so many men fighting overseas, Major League Baseball was in a rut in the 1940s, short on both players and fans, so they recruited women— women from all across the country with as many diverse personalities, styles, bodies and backgrounds as you can name but all with a singular love and natural talent for the game of baseball.  The film celebrates not only the league’s talent and how they made the sport their own, but also the women’s friendships and all their accomplishments on and off the field.

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