This Sunday is International Women’s Day. We like to celebrate women every single day, though, so we’re going to observe this holiday by watching (or re-watching) movies. Specifically, movies about strong women, being played by strong women. So fire up your Netflix account, check out one of the following eight movies, and hear her roar.
In a World…
This quick-witted comedy was written and directed by its star, the irresistible Lake Bell. If that is not a pure expression of girl power, then we quit. Add to that a story about a woman—Bell plays a voiceover actor whose dream is to lend her pipes to movie trailers—trying to break into a male-dominated industry, and well, this movie is the business.
Short Term 12
One of the most acclaimed-yet-overlooked movies of 2013, Short Term 12 features a star-making performance from Brie Larson, who plays a woman working at a temporary home for troubled teens. Larson is magnetic, and her unwavering compassion in the most difficult circumstances is life-affirming stuff. This is humanity itself, in movie form.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Two words: Katniss. Everdeen.
It’s in black and white and has subtitles, but don’t let that scare you off. This meditative, beautifully rendered Polish drama about a nun confronting the dark truth about her past in post-war Poland is all about self-discovery and the strength of your spirit. Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska gives a masterful and mature performance, and is one of the reasons Ida took home Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars last month.
Thanks to an all-time great (and Oscar-winning) performance by Frances McDormand, and a pitch-perfect script from the Coen brothers, Marge Gunderson is as memorable as characters get. And don’t let the Minnesota-nice accent and late-stage pregnancy fool you: Marge is one of the best and baddest movie cops out there, don’t cha know.
A searing and ultimately triumphant portrayal of one our most brilliant and iconoclastic female artists. Under Julie Taymor’s steady hand, Salma Hayek gives a performance that surprised a lot of people, portraying Frida Kahlo as a woman who was as provocative, soulful, and challenging as the art she created.
This criminally underseen movie came out last year, and believe it or not, marks Marion Cotillard’s first lead role in an American film. Predictably, the Oscar-winning actress nails the part of a Polish immigrant who comes to New York at the turn of the century--and rather than relying on overtures from two men with mysterious motives (Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner), is determined to make it on her own.
When Meryl Streep signed on to play former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in this steely biopic, she basically said, “I’ll take my Oscar now, please.” Streep eventually won the award thanks to a transformative performance about a transformative woman.