5 Female Empowerment Movies to Watch on International Women’s Day

Here are five movies with strong feminist themes to watch on International Women's Day.

With hundreds of movies being released every year, there are obviously also hundreds of stories
being told from all kinds of perspectives. Some get forgotten quickly while others stand out for
longer and for different reasons. In particular, there are certain “female empowerment” films that
people see as inspiring and long-standing. That kind of staying power is not easy to come
across. Directors, writers, and producers often miss the mark in what they’re trying to
showcase to the audience. You need the right people behind and in front of the screen to tell
certain stories. This is why these five movies are regarded as good representation generally
because they give voice to people who often don’t get the chance to share their experiences.
Bold, groundbreaking, and at times controversial, here are the movies that can be a great time to
watch anytime but especially around early March for Women’s International Day.


Promising Young Woman (2020)

Written and directed by Emerald Fennell, this is not merely a movie, it’s an experience. Not only
does it have constant twists and turns that will leave anyone shocked by the end, but just
generally the sequence of events is so jarring and disturbing that it’s impossible to look away
from. At times a revenge flick, other times a dark comedy, then suddenly the most romantic film
you’ve ever seen. This is truly one for the ages. It explores themes of assault, misogyny,
patriarchal culture, all with a woman behind the screen and another in front. Carey Mulligan
gives such a nuanced performance with hidden depth that gets unveiled as the story progresses.
Truly, the entire movie is one huge achievement in filmmaking and it has the acclaim and
accolades to prove it.

Booksmart (2019)

Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart is one of the best movies of that year and one of the best coming-of-
age movies ever made. The chemistry between Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein as best
friends in the lead is a key element that makes this movie so special. They are both so funny on
screen and the dialogue is inherently smart. The four women writers, Sarah Haskins, Susanna
Fogel, Emily Halpern, and Katie Silberman seem to understand something that most movies
revolving around teenage years don’t. That writing a successful movie in this field is all about
knowing what it’s like to be a teenager nowadays. This movie is a realistic yet over-the-top
the portrayal of teenagers and especially girls of that age in the best sense possible.


Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

Perhaps the most underrated movie on the list, this is one that will strongly affect anyone who
watches it. Written and directed by Eliza Hittman, the story’s about two best friends going on a
long trip because one of them needs a certain medical procedure. The title itself might sound
rather peculiar to you until you find out what it actually means. This is a heartbreakingly real
movie with incredible acting and directing. There have been few movies ever that concentrate on
a young woman’s perspective and do it as well as this movie. Worth a watch but be warned
while it isn’t going to be easy, it is going to be real and necessary.

CODA (2021)

Another coming-of-age movie, written and directed by Sian Heder has delivered a classic. She’s
giving exposure to children of deaf adults (CODA) and focusing the story on a majority deaf cast
and actors is something that Hollywood has seldom done. And even the few times that it was
focused on non-hearing people, it often got it very wrong. Yet, here the movie focuses on Ruby,
played by the wonderful Emilia Jones, as a hearing person from a non-hearing family. Deeply
emotional and thoroughly entertaining and informative, this is a female-empowerment movie
without trying to be one.


Little Women (2019)

Greta Gerwig has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood by 2022. It’s with movies and
adaptations like this that she’s become a household name. She wrote the script and directed yet
another adaptation to Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel of the same name. This one is already considered the definitive movie though for a good reason. So many young big names are
involved on the acting side too. Saoirse Ronan keeps choosing one great project after another.
This one is no different and the six Oscar nominations speak to its greatness. Little Women is
one of the biggest and most classical stories that young women over many generations have read
and related to, and now there is another really well-made movie adaptation (the 1994 version is
also worth checking out).


It’s remarkable that many successful women are working on different stories and sharing
their experiences and perspectives on screen nowadays. This has obviously not been the case
ever before, but now thankfully the world and Hollywood are moving towards a better and more
inclusive place and industry.


Illustration: Nubefy/shutterstock.com


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