Breaking Down Astrology’s Big Three Through Movies

See your sun, moon, and rising on the big screen.

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Having a hard time clicking with your sign? Not quite seeing yourself in the punishing stream of zodiac memes? To fully embrace the power of your birthright, look to the big screen’s great icons as contemporary avatars of the zodiac. Consult our cinematic rundown of the stars, designed to help you understand all the players of your chart, including your sun, moon, rising sign and beyond. And remember that your chart contains all twelve signs — meaning that you can tap into the drama and decadence of any of these picks to fulfill your destiny. May your slumber party viewing be plentiful, and lead to a full embodiment of your sign’s potential.

ARIES: Spirited Away (2001)


Aries are often singled out, chosen to bear the trials and claim glories which the masses couldn’t face. From the moment the young Chihiro wanders into the Spirit World, she’s marked: hunted, burdened, bound, and constantly made an example of by the witch Yubaba, her boss at the interdimensional bathhouse. The Aries axiom “stop complaining, just work harder” transforms Chihiro from shrimp to straight-shooter, as she scrubs floors, attends to guests, and sprints to save the day. Aries aren’t immune to fear or insecurity, and so must earn their glory by never backing down. Chihiro may start off helpless, but by the movie’s end, she’s awake, unflinching and ready to go another hundred rounds. Don’t come for this brave b*tch.

TAURUS: Marie Antoinette (2006)


Long before A24’s Instagram factory farm aestheticization of movies, the Taurus Sofia Coppola delivered this resplendent celebration of clothes, candy, and beautiful things to an undeserving human populace. Led by a cast of bulls including Kirsten Dunst, Judy Davis, and Jamie Dornan, Marie Antoinette toasts Taurean excess without apology. Its heroine is not some soulless autocrat, but a woman of taste who just wants to have nice things. The real Antoinette was a Scorpio, and Dunst a Taurus: Any female sex symbol caught on this axis knows what it’s like to be vaunted, scrutinized and ultimately castigated for her sexuality. Dunst’s queen won’t struggle against her fate, but that doesn’t mean she’s not going to enjoy every croquembouche and cocktail she can before her head hits the guillotine.

GEMINI: Y Tu Mamá También (2001)


Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna) may be cinema’s greatest evocation of the twins, a duo of adolescents in a dance of unity, conflict, lust, and dissolution. Gemini is the sign of immediate experience, of short journeys and correspondences which inform our worldview. At the start of their rowdy road trip with Maribel (Luisa Cortés), the intimate boyhood companions may as well be mirror images of one another. But as sex, class, and betrayal shape their individuality, their paths fork. Maribel may well be the angel in Gemini’s Tarot card, The Lovers, the uniting force of chaos which Gemini craves, helping the boys to see their likenesses, and understand their distinctions, by bringing them together once and for all.

CANCER: Set It Off (1996)


Cancer’s drive to secure the bag isn’t rooted in stale patriarchal capitalism, but in more primal emotional drives: to provide for the home, family, and community. The women bank robbers of Set It Off — Stoney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Cleo (Queen Latifah), Frankie (Vivica A. Fox), and Tisean (Kimberly Elise) — launch their crime spree to start over, escape the police brutality of the projects and provide abundance for the families they have left. In Cancerian sisterhood they find power and community. Naturally, the Cancerian inability to compromise or change course leads to their downfall, but their stand for a better life, on their terms, lends nobility — and justice — to their cause.

LEO: Flashdance (1983)


Leo’s calls us to claim our divine talents, pursue them at all costs, and find the people who will see and support us until the end. Flashdance follows a group of hopeful artists working at a striptease burlesque joint in Pittsburgh’s mean streets: some hang on to their dreams, some give up, and a precious few touch immortal glory. The dancer Alex (Jennifer Beals) burns onstage with all the star power that Leo commands, but to get out of her steel mill job and make it big, she’ll have to believe in herself, ditch her outsider identity, and accept help when it’s offered. For all their public splendor, Leos can be very private about their hopes and fears. As Alex lets herself trust her lover Nick (Michael Nouri), she finds a confidant, champion, and friend who has her back. Just because you’ve got what it takes, doesn’t mean you have to go it alone.

VIRGO: Elizabeth (1998)


Could there be any other? Cate Blanchett fumes and roars in the role of England’s great Virgo monarch, who battled to retain personal autonomy while defending her right to reign supreme. Virgo’s great pursuit is discretion: to affirm boundaries and define the terms of one’s best, unimpeachable self. Upon being thrust into the throneroom, Blanchett’s Elizabeth is a dazed girl, fighting for court respect and for scraps of affection from her f*ckboy lover (Joseph Fiennes). But by the time she rebirths herself as a whole, complete virgin queen, she’s claimed godhood — and left the men in her life in tears. “Witness me,” she beckons, a Virgo undaunted by the sacrifice, and the loneliness, which true perfection demands.

LIBRA: The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)


For all Libra’s shimmering desires for popularity and prestige, the children of Venus know that happy endings don’t come without work. Only those who recognize that love is a game, society is a hierarchy, and beauty is power can score big. Poor, cunning social climber Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) will pull any con to have — and ultimately become — the apple of his eye: the bronzed, beautiful, entitled Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law). To win a dreg of Dickie’s affection, Ripley people-pleases, shape-shifts, and ultimately humiliates himself — a sad self-annihilation that any Libra in love can recognize. Is Ripley a psychopath who will do anything for material wealth, or an earnest striver seeking love in a losing game? Libra knows that no fantasy comes without a price.

SCORPIO: Ghost (1990)


How can love change us? Can it endure past death? And can grief lead to a new embrace of life? Such questions of immortal love are commonplace for anyone who has survived a Scorpio relationship. In Ghost, Demi Moore loses her soulmate Patrick Swayze, and must accept the aid of fellow Scorpio Whoopi Goldberg to make contact with him from beyond the grave. Swayze, playing a ghost who literally won’t leave his ex alone, perfectly embodies the Scorpionic obsessive, and Goldberg scored an Oscar playing a hack psychic turned unwitting psychopomp, a Hermes Trismegistus in gold lamé, offering her commentary from the underworld. Ghost perfectly charts the trajectory of a Scorpio love story: it may devastate you, and even come close to killing you, but if you can endure the crossing, you’re promised a new beginning.

SAGITTARIUS: Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)


Start over! What are you waiting for? From the ashes of her divorce, middle-aged writer Frances Mayes (Diane Lane) takes herself to Italy, buys a villa in Tuscany, and embraces the spectacular, lonely, terrifying unknown. Sagittarius is the sign of the optimist, the madwoman who takes leaps, the voyager who fears nothing. When Frances, upon setting up her villa, continues to despair about her shattered life, she gets a wake-up call from the fabulous, outrageous town lush Katherine (Lindsay Duncan): “Regrets are a waste of time. They’re the past crippling you in the present. How are you ever going to be happy if you keep wallowing?” Inevitably, France embraces her Sagittarian lust for life, rapturing in a blooming, luscious, sensual Italian future. Stop indulging the narrative. Start living.

CAPRICORN: Dune (2021)


Long before George R.R. Martin put pen to paper, Frank Herbert drafted this cosmic masterpiece on power and politics. The Capricorn Timothée Chalamet begins the saga as a meek noble, afraid to claim the role of his father. But a series of ambushes, betrayals, and awakenings thrusts the young duke into the heart of the desert, where he begins his ascent towards supreme intergalactic regency. Born to the sign of the father, all Capricorns must reckon with power: how it has been abused, how they’ve avoided it, and, ultimately, how to employ it for a higher service. Against the ruthless Harkonnens, Paul must embrace his gifts to rule, and risk becoming a tyrant himself. Capricorn knows that to make a difference in the world, we have to abandon childish moralisms. In facing the potential and pitfalls of his messianic power, Paul doesn’t shy away from the ugly truth.

AQUARIUS: X2 (2003)


X-Men introduced the world to mutantkind, a minority born with abilities which distinguish them from the drip-drip human populace. In the franchise-high X2, “good” and so-called “evil” tribes of homo superior must form shaky coalitions to negotiate their future, and defend themselves from a violent, industrialist homo sapien backlash. Ruled by Uranus, the planet of evolution, Aquarius rules over youth cultures, queer communities, and a post-human tomorrow. The water-bearer must find a way for all factions to come together, no matter how entrenched the culture wars get. All of the superpowered players of X2 are driven towards collective liberation, even if their means vary from peaceful to militant. Who said the revolution would be painless?

PISCES: Donnie Darko (2001)


Time, space, fate, and conventional storytelling mechanics blur into this brilliant Piscean whirlpool, a hero’s journey doused in pharmaceuticals and hallucinations. The teenaged chosen one Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) may be destined to save our reality, zone out, or lose his mind. Those born under the sign of the messiah are often consigned to surrender to their destiny — or swim upstream and try, in vain, to change it. All Donnie can do is attempt to reckon with the impossible, fulfill his destiny, and walk gladly towards the ultimate sacrifice required of him. For a taste of universal consciousness, Pisces knows that there’s no way out but through.

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