International Women’s Day is just around the corner, on 8th March, and what better way to celebrate it than by implementing some cinematic female empowerment into our lives?
Women are deeply nuanced and possess an array of astonishing qualities that just make the world brighter. Their bountiful colours have been portrayed everywhere in art and the world of film is no exception.
The luxury designer swimsuit retailer Heidi Klein has compiled some of the most iconic movies that feature strong female characters and can empower both young girls and adult women to be the best versions of themselves.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006) empowering young girls – 7.8/10 IMDb rating
The off-kilter indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, follows a dysfunctional family road trip in a yellow VW Microbus headed towards the finals of the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant.
The protagonist is Olive, a 7-year-old girl who defies the traditional image of a beauty pageant child contestant. Her provocative dance, choreographed by her own granddad, serves as an endorsement of her individuality and a unifier for her broken family. The movie empowers young girls to follow their dreams and not be afraid to show their true selves.
Little Women (2019) empowering loving family relationships – 7.8/10 IMDb rating
The 2019 movie adaptation of the book that has left a loving memory in the hearts of many girls, Little Women, is here to reinforce the powerful lessons of the book. Through cinematic artistry, director Greta Gerwig, who also breathed life into yet another female empowering movie, Lady Bird (2017), portrays the lives of women from the March family with astute accuracy.
Little Women brings loving relationships to the forefront, and through the lens of a strong family bond, we follow the stories of four intelligent, beautiful, and independent sisters, each of them conveying layers of female empowerment.
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005) empowering friendship – 6.5/10 IMDb rating
Female empowerment comes in many ways, and friendship is one of them. A film that astutely illustrates a true friendship in all of its colours is the 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and its 2008 sequel The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2, directed by Sanaa Hamri
Based on the eponymous 2001 novel by Ann Brashares and directed by Ken Kwapis, the movie harnesses a touch of magic to commemorate the friendship between Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridget. The four friends find a pair of jeans in a thrift store, which miraculously fits all of them, despite their different body shapes. They take turns posting them to each other and wearing them while separated for the summer. This is a summer of growth as the four protagonists are individually faced with changes and opportunities to evolve. The jeans are what gives the group the courage to take risks while feeling loved and supported by their friends.
Legally Blonde (2001) empowering career women – 6.3/10 IMDb rating
One of the most iconic feminist movies of all time is Legally Blonde (2001). The artistic directorship of the film is much like its message: at first, it appears to be a chick-flick but as the story unfolds, its deeper meaning is conveyed. In the movie, the protagonist, Elle Woods, seems like the typical ditzy blonde girl who wears pink, exudes glamour, and is inseparable from the pet companion.
But we shortly learn that she is a girl with grand ambitions who is ready to put the work in to achieve her dreams. When Elle Woods gets into Harvard and solves the biggest legal case of her year, jaws drop. She defies gender stereotypes about looks, intelligence, and abilities with style, elegance, and fierce dedication.
Erin Brockovich (2000) empowering single mothers – 7.4/10 IMDb rating
Erin Brockovich is yet another empowering female character who manifests her strength and savviness in the legal world. Starring Julia Roberts, the movie portrays the real-life story of Erin Brockovich, an unemployed single mother who astonishes with her dedication to provide a better life for herself and her daughter.
Stereotypes speak first to illustrate a desperate mother ready to take on any job to feed her family. But as the story unfolds, we see Brockovich in a new light: she is strong, determined, and bright. The single mother finds a job as an assistant at a law firm and plays a major role in building a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric company in 1993, which is polluting water, and wins against all odds. Erin Brockovich is a role model for all the single mothers who only become stronger after facing the challenges of life.
Amélie (2001) empowering women to love themselves – 8.3 IMDb rating
Amélie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, is a true state-of-the-art French film. The director has elucidated a dreamy ambience through the prominently green colour palette, inspired by the work of Brazilian painter, Juárez Machado.
This whimsical background allows for the idiosyncratic plot to unfurl. Tangled in her vivid imagination, Amélie, played by Audrey Tautou, is devoted to sprinkling happiness into the lives of others through her job as a waitress. But she realises that she needs to put herself first in order to find the love she dreams of. The movie is an illustration of the importance of finding the bliss within us, so we can thrive in life.
We hope that these film suggestions fill your International Women’s Day with joy and inspiration, and empower you to live the life you truly deserve.