14 Movies With Feminist Heroes We Love
6:30 pm, June 14th | by
The Jane Dough
New York has finally gotten the memo that it’s summer, and you know what that means: Movie season has begun! But before you hit up your local theater to
see “Magic Mike” and a slew of other gems, check out some already released films with ballsy female characters. They’ll inspire you to live it up this summer, take risks, and tell off the undeserving guys who try to weasel their way into your life. Here’s to a few warm, well spent months!
The Help -- The 2011 drama is more than just a film about 1960s civil rights. Based on the book by the same name, "The Help" follows enlightened recent college graduate Skeeter Phelan as she struggles to relate to her childhood friends in her Mississippi hometown. When the aspiring journalist lands a column in the local newspaper, her friends focus on the fact that she still hasn't found a husband. A career girl with more on her mind than marriage, Skeeter is not your typical 1960s Jackson woman.
Morning Glory -- Rachel McAdams shines as tenacious TV producer in 2010 movie "Morning Glory." Soon after taking a job at a struggling morning show, McAdams's character axes pervy on-air talent Paul McVee (portrayed by the brilliant Ty Burrell. The firing is a small part of the movie, but important because McAdams's character shows she will not put up with creepiness or harassment.
It's Complicated -- Meryl Streep looks quite lonely in this "It's Complicated" still, but don't let the deceptive picture fool you. In the film, she plays a divorcee coming to terms with her son graduating college and youngest child moving out of the house. During a drunken night in New York, she hooks up with ex-husband Jake (Alec Baldwin), who had left her ten years earlier for a younger woman. Jake insists they continue seeing each other, but Meryl's character quickly sees that she has been fine without him for a long time. She runs a bakery, owns a gorgeous Pottery Barn-esque house, and has the heart of a nice guy in town (played by Steve Martin). She may have been burned, but she's tough as nails.
Shopgirl -- On the surface, "Shopgirl" doesn't seem like a movie misogynists would dislike, but I promise the ending proves otherwise. Penned by the versatile Steve Martin, "Shopgirl" centers on Mirabelle (Claire Danes), a Saks saleswoman with artist aspirations. She begins dating hot shot Ray Porter (Martin), who woos her with pretty things and fancy dates but isn't exactly a one-woman kind of dude. She progresses regardless and ends up pursuing her artistic goals as well as a much sweeter, more appreciative guy. This is the sort of movie that gives me hope about my own life.
5.In Her Shoes
In Her Shoes -- Toni Collette is one cool chica in "In Her Shoes." She plays Rose, a lonely workaholic lawyer with tons of money and nothing to be happy about. By contrast, her little sister Maggie (Cameron Diaz), the gorgeous and fun one, can barely hold down a job. Things get complicated when Rose's secret work boyfriend turns out to be a jerk, but she rebuilds her life by leaving the firm and taking on dog walking. It seems like an odd move for a wealthy attorney, but she loves being out of a field that simply didn't appeal to her. She becomes a new person and totally takes control of her life. And she also tells the sleezeball to buzz off, and that's priceless.
Hunger Games -- Few young ladies are as tough as "Hunger Games" heroine Katniss Everdeen, whose sole mission is to win the barbaric hunger games competition she and dozens of other randomly selected children must compete in. While some of the kids band together to take down fellow tributes, Katniss keeps to herself and uses her good instincts to stay alive. She teams up with little Rue and appears to be the object of Peeta's affection, but doesn't let any of the social aspects of the games weaken her.
7.Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast -- Though some argue "Beauty and the Beast" promotes violent relationships, it has a strong female heroine who thinks for herself and has deep love for family. Main character Belle is an avid reader and desperate to get out of her small provincial town to see more of the world. Hence, she has no desire to date local sexist Casanova, Gaston, who says women should not stick their noses in books because they'll get ideas and start to think for themselves. Belle rejects his backwards way of thinking and devours more novels. She's the poster girl for ditching jerks and throwing oneself into learning.
Miss Congeniality -- Sandra Bullock kills it in "Miss Congeniality," which opens with her as a shabby FBI agent who must go undercover as a beauty pageant contestant to stop a probable attack. She's tougher than all the male characters in the comedy combined and can kick their rear ends as well. She also looks amazing while doing it.
Waitress -- "Waitress" is an underrated drama about an unsatisfied waitress Jenna (Kerry Russell) who wants more out of life than her server job and abusive creepy creep husband. A tipsy night leads her to sleep with him and get pregnant, and while she's not thrilled to become a mom, she begins formulating plans to open up a pie shop to finally live out her big dream. Along the way, she starts seeing the hot new doctor in town even though he's married and each of their circumstances couldn't be worse. She remains in control throughout the film and evolves into a wonderful person in the end.
10.A League Of Their Own
A League Of Their Own -- This movie is my heart's song. It's the whisper of my deepest soul. It's finding clippers when you have a terrible hangnail. It's getting a venti when you only ordered a grande. It's just the best. (Side note: This is beside the point, but this is one of Jon Lovitz's most overlooked, hysterical performances.)
Legally Blonde -- Are there some over-the-top moments? Sure. Is that pen really awkwardly photoshopped into Reese Witherspoon's hand in the movie poster? Absolutely. But those are the only gripes we can come up with here. We love this movie. And we're not ashamed to admit it.
Norma Rae -- We think the Library of Congress says it best: "The film is less a polemical pro-union statement than a treatise about maturation, personal willpower, fairness and the empowerment of women." Beyond that, Sally Field is a borderline demigod.
13.Something's Gotta Give
Something's Gotta Give -- We don't want to give anything away, but at least one of The Jane Dough editors has this movie memorized line-for-line. And, as with all Nancy Meyers' movies, we want the hero's job and house. And life. Just kind of want to be Diane Keaton. Just putting it out there.
14.Thelma & Louise
Thelma & Louise -- Yes, okay, it's an obvious pick. But there's a reason it's so obvious. Also, anyone else get the feeling these two may have inspired an entire generation of hipsters? Not saying that's necessarily a good or bad thing but… well, look at them.