Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day. Not especially popular in the United States but culturally significant in many other countries, especially in Europe and Russia, this day showcases respect, appreciation and love towards women and celebration of their economic, political, and social achievements. Started as primary a political event with female suffrage and equal rights movement in mind, it is now simply a joyful occasion for men to express their love for women with flowers, chocolate and small gifts. It is as if Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day have combined together and every woman, a little girl or a grandma, is made feel special and cherished. Send love to all the women you love and those who inspire and encourage you!
I want to thank all the fabulous ladies who read my blog, you inspire me every day and make me want to write, share creativity and excitement of knowledge. You beautiful women are the best! Never change and never doubt your strength!
On this note I want to share my list of 10 great movies that feature strong female characters. I found them inspirational and hope that so will you!
(1) Elizabeth (dir. Shekhar Kapur)
A breathtakingly beautiful film about how difficult it is to be a queen where your life does not belong to you for a second and you are a constant pawn in the political games of the state. Cate Blanchett is mesmerizing in her portrayal of the strong and willful virgin queen. Intrigue, passion, betrayal and elaborate plot make this film a true treat!
(2) Malena (dir. Giuseppe Tornatore)
Monica Bellucci stars as Malena, a widowed beauty who is hated by women and lusted after by men. Envious women gossip and spread dirty rumors about Malena in the small Sicilian village while men threatened by their wives would not offer her any work. She is destitute yet proud and loyal to her diseased husband. Her beauty is pure but becomes a curse as Italy enters into WWII.
(3) Erin Brockovich (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
Based on a true story, this movie portrays one woman’s quest to save the community from a corporation determined to hide their disastrous mistakes. Julia Roberts plays a single mother who proves that one should never base one’s judgement on looks or circumstances and that the fighting spirit, ambition, determination and desire for justice are everything. I have just rewatched this film and I still can’t get over Brockovich’s character and its significance as a strong female role model.
(4) Gone with the Wind (dir. Victor Fleming)
Now this one is an old classic and a historic gem. Scarlett and her “I’ll think about that tomorrow” are forever imprinted in my mind as an image of unwavering faith in your strength and optimism about the future. If you have a spare Saturday or Sunday to sit down and watch this movie, please, I beg of you, do it. At over three hours, the film is incredibly long but powerful and inspirational. On the surface is a love story but beneath is the main character’s fight to stay strong while the world as she knows it is tumbling around her. Scarlett O’Hara is the southern belle who is raised in luxury and leisure but as the Civil War enters, her life is forever altered as she must fight to keep her loved ones safe and prevail despite the circumstances.
(5) Amelie (dir. Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
A favorite of every woman I know, Amelie is a movie so transformative it can brighten the gloomiest of days! It is full of color and kindness and sweet as a cup of hot cocoa! A Parisian waitress, starring Audrey Tautou, takes it upon herself to improve the lives of others in this playful and whimsical tale of everyday magic in a big city. It’s hard not to fall under the spell of Amelie’s imagination, innocence and charm! This film is an absolute delight!
(6) Dangerous Beauty (dir. Marshall Herskovitz)
With Dangerous Beauty comes a true story of Veronica Franco, a courtesan in sixteenth-century Venice who becomes a hero to her city, a poet and woman of strong will to write her own story. I personally did not know that in the 16th century the only women allowed into the libraries were those of the ancient “sensual” profession. Struggling underneath a historical romance is a complicated story of power, lust and the earning of women to have more voice.
(7) Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher)
We can all agree that Amy’s character in Gone Girl is that of a sociopath for no better reason than homicide and multiple cruel manipulations. However, there is a strong underlying message of feminism coming through when one listens closely to Amy’s monologue in the car and especially in Gillian Flynn’s novel. Books are always more detailed than movies and this is a prime example. The movie is successful however at introducing the idea and uncovering both the vulnerabilities and strengths of a female character, her sacrifices and personal ambitions laid to the test of marriage. It is an excellent movie about how gender stereotypes shape public mentality for the better of for the worst.
(8) La Vie en Rose (dir. Olivier Dahan)
Marion Cotillard portrays Edith Piaf, a girl raised by her grandmother in a bordello and discovered on a street to become the singing symbol of France. The movie zigzags between various events in the songstress’ life – her abandoned childhood years, lover Marcel Cerdan’s boxing matches and his ultimate death, Hollywood in the ’50s and the car accident that results in Piaf’s morphine addiction. Despite all the agony and loneliness, Edith channeled her emotional struggles into the performances that dazzled the world.
(9) Changeling (dir. Clint Eastwood)
The plot of this film unfolds in the 1920s-era Los Angeles when Christine, played by Angelina Jolie, goes to the police to report the disappearance of her son. After some time the child is returned home and all seems well, however, the mother knows that this child is not her son. The case is closed and the journalists have put their pens and cameras away. Her pleas go unanswered but she won’t stop fighting the corrupted LAPD. It’s a gripping infuriating tale that keeps you on the edge of the seat till the credits roll. The photography and music score are close to perfection as well!
(10) Black Book (dir. Paul Verhoeven)
Black Book tells the moving story of a young Jewish woman who losing her family joins the Resistance and gets entangled in a deadly game of betrayal and double-dealing espionage. It is a war film with a good measure of suspense, graphic sexuality and a twisting plot that offers a series of surprises and a sober glance on humanity. Should one sleep with the enemy to help further the cause and save your country? What if you fall in love?