It’s likely no coincidence that the female-driven superhero film Captain Marvel is set to be released in North America on March 8, International Women’s Day. She’s been hyped up since even before her appearance was teased in the closing credits clip at the end of Avengers: Infinity War, so we knew she was coming. As we wait a few more days to see Brie Larson bring Carol Danvers to life on the silver screen (check out Cineplex Odeon for show times), let’s take this time to celebrate a few other notable lady-led films that rock our worlds.
I’d like to first take a moment to say what a challenge it was to narrow this list down to only 10 films. I could turn this theme into an entire series and not be done for months… years! So many incredible films with a strong female lead in so many genres! Ok, ok, like I said, it was hard, but if you’re looking to watch some ladies use their minds, kick some ass, make you laugh and maybe melt your heart a little, here are 10 lady-led movies (in no particular order) for your International Women’s Day viewing pleasure.
In the performance that earned Julia Roberts an Academy Award for Best Actress, this 2000 film tells the story of how an unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single handedly brings down a power company accused of polluting a small town’s water supply. I love films based on a true story and I love Julia Roberts. Win win!
This one might be obvious, but I’m certainly not going to skip over it. I loved Gal Gadot’s Diana, Princess of the Amazons. She’s smart, classy, fierce and of course, stunningly gorgeous. I’m thrilled that a sequel is in the works for this franchise.
For me, Mulan in 1998 was where Disney turned a corner from portraying women as damsels in distress needing to be rescued by the nearest Prince Charming. The character of Fa Mulan was inspired by an actual historical figure, and although she had to impersonate a man to enter the Chinese military, she showed Disney’s young female audience that a girl can be just as tough (if not tougher) than the boys. An added bonus is the incredible soundtrack!
Kill Bill: Vol 1
Not sure I need to say anything else. You know.
Sigourney Weaver was a powerhouse through the entire Aliens franchise. Ellen Ripley was not interested in looking good. She was brash, aggressive, unapologetic, usually filthy and always makeup-free. This is a woman who got things done, no matter what that meant. Want to get inspired to dig deep and take care of business? This is the film for you.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games (book and) film series was a huge mainstream hit beginning in 2012 and Katniss Everdeen was, in a word, indestructible. Want to binge on four dynamo films in a row? We’ve got you covered.
Queen of Katwe
Our leading lady doesn’t have to be a badass to get noticed around here! Starring the incomparable Lupita Nyong’o (I heart her sooo much!), and based on a true story, a young girl in Uganda becomes a chess whiz with the help of a mentor. We follow her struggle with her identity and poverty as she competes in chess tournaments. This film is currently on Netflix.
Looking for a few laughs? My teenage daughter came across this 2000 film not too long ago and I forgot how good it is. Tom-boy FBI agent Grace is assigned to go undercover as a Miss United States contestant when a terrorist threatens to blow up the pageant. Her transition from being “just one of the boys” into a refined and feminine girly-girl is so funny, and Sandra Bullock is outstanding. Great news, there’s a Miss Congeniality 2!
If you’re going through a tough break up, or someone in your life has told you that won’t succeed, look up Legally Blonde and hang out with Elle Woods for a couple of hours. Reese Witherspoon shines in pink, following her ex to Harvard and realizing by the end that she is much more than a pretty face.
The Wizard of Oz
We can’t disregard the classics! Have you introduced your kids to this film yet? When Dorothy gets swept away from her home, she must dig deep to find the courage to do what she has to do to get home. This film has so many teachable moments for our littles, and its lessons stand the test of time.
We’d love to hear your favourite films with a strong female lead, find us on social and let us know your go-to girl power movie!